Innovation and sustainability arguably are two of the biggest trends in business today. As prevalent as they are, what they mean can vary greatly. For Silgan Dispensing, innovation and sustainability are used to inform all aspects of our company – from our products, to our people and operations.
We recently spoke with John Ferro, vice president of global marketing and innovation for Silgan Dispensing, about what these two ideals mean for our company and how we serve our customers.
What does innovation mean at Silgan Dispensing?
At Silgan Dispensing, innovation is about helping our customers achieve their growth goals, which we do in several ways.
First, we provide insights around both the technology landscape for dispensing – what’s possible from a design and manufacturing standpoint, as well as the consumer use of packaging dispensing – what trends and expectations are driving purchasing decisions. Delivering best-in-class technology that aligns with current trends helps deliver a great consumer experience.
Next, we work to develop innovative solutions that can be reapplied to more than a single geography or market. This gives us an opportunity to share our insights and solutions with customers who may not be as familiar with a specific technology or trend, which can be particularly true with sustainability.
In many ways, innovation is synonymous with sustainability – we aspire to develop solutions that meet a need in the market and reduce our impact on the planet.
How does sustainability inform Silgan Dispensing’s approach to product design and manufacturing?
In our industry, sustainability is thinking about the entire spectrum of a product’s life. From the beginning, what materials are we using in our products and are they recycled and/or recyclable? Are they the best materials in terms of impact on the planet, but also performance for the products?
Then as a packaging manufacturer, we need to make sure that our operations are as efficient as possible. How do we minimize use of water and energy, and more broadly, our waste that’s going out?
The answers to these questions always will be unique to each customer and the solution we’re developing for them. There is no single model for sustainability. It’s a balance of performance, sustainability, and other factors that ultimately contribute to the consumer experience. Our approach ensures each of these aspects are carefully considered throughout the design and manufacturing process.
What are some notable examples of sustainability at Silgan Dispensing?
We’ve really made a lot of progress in sustainability since 2018 – both in our operations and products. For example, we’ve increased how much of our total energy use comes from renewable resources from a little over 4% to over 20%. We’ve also reduced the waste going to landfills from our plants by 15%.
From a product point of view, we’ve changed a lot of our designs and offered more solutions for our customers to give them more sustainable options. For example, we’ve launched over 30 of our core products with a post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic option. Most recently, we’ve also launched a new product, Pearl 2. It’s an airless system that has much improved recyclability credentials versus previous generations.
What are some sustainability goals that Silgan Dispensing hopes to reach in the years coming?
We have a variety of goals across our operations and portfolio. From an operations point of view, we expect to make annual improvements in our waste and water usage and source an additional 20% of our energy from renewable resources in the coming years. On the portfolio side, we plan to expand our PCR offerings across our portfolio and make a greater percentage of our portfolio recyclable.
How are you helping customers approach sustainability and reach their own sustainability goals?
As one of our customers’ primary packaging suppliers, we have a tremendous opportunity to help them reach their sustainability goals, especially through the product solutions we provide them. Are we offering them the broadest range of PCR options? Are we constantly looking for new materials that we can bring that are more recyclable, or that reduce waste? Are we offering solutions across the portfolio that are recyclable? As mentioned before, there’s a big element that is linked to innovation, but is also about how we deliver the best combination of product performance with sustainability credentials.
To learn more about Silgan Dispensing’s approach to innovation, click here.