Adoption of Sustainable Packaging Solutions for the Fish Industry : A case study on a corrugated cardboard packaging solution for fresh fish

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Sammanfattning: The rapid development of plastic production the last couple of decades has led to extensive use of plastic products and vast problems with littering, waste management and exploitation of natural resources. Due to the cheap and easy production of plastics, the world’s population has extended the limit of acceptable usage. The world’s oceans are filled with plastic debris and waste is landfilled, which have had large impacts on the ecosystem, animal and human life (World Environment Day Outlook, 2018). One of the industries that have been revolutionised by the development of plastic advancement is the packaging industry, where products can be protected and quality can be kept, helping globalisation and developing the modern economy (UNEP, 2018). However, due to the lack of waste management systems and recycling facilities for plastics, the world’s population is demanding change. The United Nations have developed the Sustainability Goals and issued The New Plastics Economy, where governments, citizens and regulatory institutions are to work towards a circular economy (The New Plastics Economy, 2019). The demands are addressed towards whole value chains, from production to end-use, and include waste minimising, material optimisation, increase of recyclability, and the development of sustainable alternatives. The fish industry has historically been limited to a few packaging options and expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been the least inferior one when packaging fresh fish for transportation and keeping the quality of the fish. EPS has great material properties for this purpose, however, with the sustainability transition and increasing demands from consumers, the material is regarded as unsustainable with limited availability and profitability to recycle (Hansen et al., 2012). This master thesis aims to investigate if there are sustainable packaging solutions for fresh fish and how these could be adopted by the fish industry. This was done by conducting a qualitative case study on an alternative packaging solution made from corrugated cardboard. Stakeholders from the whole fish value chain were interviewed in order to understand the value perception of existing and alternative packaging solutions for fresh fish. The findings have been analysed using innovation adoption theory together with a sustainability framework. This in order to understand the adoption behaviour of innovative sustainable packaging solutions, and the sustainability impact of these with regards to environmental, social and economic aspects. The study has identified two packaging solutions, develop recycling systems for EPS and fish boxes made from corrugated cardboard, that the fish industry should consider adopting. The two identified packaging solutions have different diffusion possibilities, where the corrugated cardboard fish box is considered as the most sustainable solution.

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