We can see an ever-increasing pressure from retail chains on suppliers, and from suppliers on advertising agencies and manufacturers for greener solutions in the production of POS materials. 

Declarative survey results reveal that consumers prefer to buy goods from companies committed to reducing the use of plastics. Even though according to last year’s Accenture Strategy survey this was declared by as much as 60% of customers, no one wants to overpay while shopping…

Therefore, at the Euro Shop exhibition held in Düsseldorf, we looked for raw material and technological solutions that would reduce the use of plastic in POSM. We did find a few – after all, the world is developing all the time. However, none of them was cheaper or at least similarly priced to the solutions used so far!

And, before you ask: there are still no cardboard displays that Biedronka could throw into waste paper containers without any extra ado. We still have to wait for that.

At the Harrison stand, we could see the premiere of fasteners for automatic displays made entirely of biodegradable materials. Given that 8 of them were used for one low display, that will total an astronomical amount on the scale of the country and chains in which such displays are used. A standard plastic fastener is about PLN 0.50, and a new biodegradable one is 5x more expensive! Unfortunately…

The thing is similar with screws – in this case, you need even more of them to put a display together. We came across biodegradable screws at the Fuchs Display stand. They are not yet available in the standard offer. Apparently, when they appear they will be priced comparably to the standard ones. We will see…

Another element is the price strip. Even when the whole display is made of cardboard, that strip still makes it “unrecyclable”. You can also observe significant progress here. HL Display showed strips made not from PET but corn-based (fully biodegradable) material. Everything would be great, if not for the double-sided tape, with which such a strip is glued to the edge of the shelf! Here we are a mile behind it. 

Finally, I need to emphasise one more important thing that is easy to forget when you are caught up in the euphoria of the moment of buying biodegradable POS components. Just because these things are biodegradable, it doesn’t mean they can simply be thrown into the BIO waste garbage container. They generally require special industrial composting facilities. Thus, someone has to collect these components, transport them and pay for their composting. The manufacturers’ price lists never mention a word about it. I’ve heard about great biodegradable disposable beer cups… which can be composted in only two places in Europe! So, how much is this cup for real?

For me, the silver lining may be the declaration made by Kompania Piwowarska which I heard at an industry conference. Two years ago, it gave up ordering cardboard displays and replaced them with metal constructions (with replaceable graphics only). The lifespan of such display solutions is incomparably longer (5 years, not two months!). Perhaps this will be the right trend for now.

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