A typology and assessment of innovations for circular plastic packaging

Fatima Hafsa, Kevin J. Dooley, George Basile, Rajesh Buch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Plastic packaging is a valuable part of the consumer economy, but it creates negative environmental externalities throughout its lifecycle. To reduce these effects, more circular flow is needed, which requires significant innovation. This paper asks w hat are the types of innovations that make plastic packaging more circular, and what is their level of adoption? Over 300 circular innovations are identified and categorized according to Reason's failure mode model, which suggests how failure can be prevented in a system. This results in six types of innovation that are critical to preventing failure (plastic leakage) or enabling circularity throughout the plastic packaging value chain. Circular innovations must address all these failure modes: packaging design choice, consumer behavior, material recovery, material treatment, and material reuse. The study also finds that adoption of circular plastic packaging innovations is low but media and scholarly attention are increasing. This study contributes to the literature by showing how circular innovations address possible failure points within value chain material flows. It proves that circularity is a systemic attribute and requires system-wide effort. The paper also advances understanding of circular economy implementation from a general approach to product-specific approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133313
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Circular economy
  • Circular innovations
  • Circular value chain
  • Innovation adoption
  • Plastic packaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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