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Sustainability in the plastics chain

Wrap-up - 16/01/2021

Happy New Year and here's our first wrap-up of 2021 ... Sustainability with flexible packaging and throughout the customer chain. Flexible packaging and food waste. The BPF's Recycling Roadmap, past and future consumer trends, and our new C-Range of compostable packaging. Plus much more.


Links in the chain

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has published "Sustainability in the Plastics Supply Chain". The first of a series of sustainability publications, it examines areas where the BPF and its members are best positioned to influence sustainability outcomes throughout the customer chain.

Some highlights within the near 50-page review are:

  • The contribution of the plastics sector, including the vital role plastic packaging plays in the reduction of food waste, as previously addressed in our Lifting the Lid on Plastic series.
  • The sustainable use of bio-based plastics, like our new C-Range of compostable packaging.
  • Various case studies, including how tray supplier Faerch pioneers PET innovation while maximising the use of recycled content.

Flexible potential

The sustainability potential of flexible packaging, as well as the complexities and challenges, are discussed in this video interview with Flexible Packaging Europe's executive director Guido Aufdemkamp. Elizabeth Skoda, from Packaging Europe, poses the questions.

Flexible benefits

The benefits of flexible packaging, in particular when it comes to reducing food waste, were examined in an interview with Alexej Shevel, co-founder of the Change & Challenge Initiative.

Within it, he says: "Flexible packaging offers optimal protection from pressure, squeeze, damage, waste or loss during processing, storage, stacking, transportation, and display."

Surprising benefits

The video "Surprising Environmental Benefits of Plastics" has been republished by Bob Schiavone, of R&D/Leverage, sparking interest and debate that includes the comments: "People are only against plastics because they are unaware of the truth. Plastics are usually the greenest option, so replacing them causes harm (more CO2, far more waste and so on.)"


Plastic waste around the UK

The BPF has also released its Recycling Roadmap, to provide a vision for drastically reducing plastic waste by 2030. Highlights include:

  • The current status including the annual household collection of 560,000 tonnes of plastic, 4% (22,000 tonnes) of which was film.
  • An estimate that there is a current capacity in the UK to recycle between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes of film per annum.
  • The aim that film and flexible packaging need to be part of the core set of material under consistent collections by 2023 so all councils collect them by 2028.
  • Non-mechanical recycling technologies, such as chemical recycling, need to be developed and implemented to "fill the gap" where mechanical recycling is not possible.

In the land down under

The Aussies and Kiwis have formed a new partnership to ensure more soft plastics are collected and recycled, keeping them out of landfill.

And across the pond

The US division of confectionery group Ferrero has partnered with the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) in a bid to enhance its plastics recycling.


Did you know we’re helping to satisfy the global appetite for ready meals? Discover our menu of lidding films that are suitable for a variety of tray types and heating methods, and are designed to deliver excellent protection, presentation, and preservation of your food.


Global tray supplier Faerch was featured on TV this week when the BBC visited Yeo Valley Farms as part of its Inside the Factory series and revealed we spend £1.4 billion a year on yoghurt pots. The show highlighted their trail-blazing tubs, made with 100% recycled content and food safe. 


Our new C-Range of compostable bio-plastic packaging was featured in the Dairy Reporter Podcast (31 mins in) and within the pages of Fresh Plaza. There has been particular interest in C-NET, an industrially compostable net suitable for a wide range of applications within the fresh produce and confectionery sectors, with superior tear and heat resistance.


Consumers spent an extra £2.5bn on lager, wine, spirits and meat last year, according to figures from research organisation Nielsen. However, there was a decline in sales of chilled ready meals, which suffered a reported £74.2m slump.

Looking ahead, the lockdown-induced increase in home cooking is expected to continue, as is the growth in the plant-based food market.


A record 500,000 people have signed up to the Veganuary challenge, which encourages meat-eaters to adopt a plant-based lifestyle throughout January. To help them, The Independent has revealed the top plant-based food launches for 2021, from Marks & Spencer to Starbucks.

Have you thought about whether your packaging meets vegan principles? We covered the topic in this focus article.


The KM team are (mostly) all working from home (again). But, as before, it's business as usual.

From the KM team ... Stay Safe, Keep Up The Good Work, and Have a Successful 2021.

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