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Packaging Waste - The True Story

Wrap-up - 15/05/2020

In this week's wrap up ... it’s time to break the knee-jerk habits around plastics, our industry continues its strong support for the healthcare sector, COVID-19 is forcing a rethink of the plastic problem, let’s try a little kindness …

Plastic – time to break the knee-jerk habits

Headlines like “BREAK THE PLASTIC HABIT! JOIN THE DAILY MAIL'S CAMPAIGN” shout at consumers to stop using the demonised material. They cloud judgement and quash reasoned opinion and undeniable facts about the value delivered by plastics in our daily lives.

This week, Packaging Europe has put the spotlight on the challenge of fairly reporting on packaging waste and the response to a Green Alliance study on the grocery sector’s handling of the waste problem.

The key points include:

  • The role media has to play and how simplistic headlines and narratives fail to convey the complexity of the issues.
  • Misinterpretation of the Green Alliance report. Libby Peake, head of resource policy at the independent think tank, says of one misconception: “We can’t just replace plastics in this inefficient recycling system we have. After all, if it’s an inefficient system for plastics, it will be inefficient for other materials, too.”
  • All materials have their place. “No one material should be scapegoated if we are to find an approach to packaging that works across the board and develop a more efficient recycling infrastructure.”
  • There should be a lot more emphasis on reduction, with straws being a prime example of unnecessary items.
  • Simplification of plastic production – particularly designed for recycling.
  • Unhelpful and misleading claims – not least “too much greenwashing” as highlighted by Libby Peake.

Read the article in full >>

From the Green Alliance:

Plastics industry’s strong support for healthcare sector

The plastics industry is continuing to strongly support the healthcare sector’s need for protective devices and material during the coronavirus crisis. Examples include:

  • 8 million protective face shields to be produced per week by Huhtamaki, the Finnish manufacturer of sustainable food packaging solutions.
  • 1 million bottles of hand sanitiser to be made each month by chemical company INEOS and provided free of charge to hospitals.


Rethinking the plastic problem

COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink our plastic problem, suggests an article from the World Economic Forum. It highlights:

  • The need for PPE has caused an increase in demand for single-use plastics.
  • We may find our reliance on plastic has grown as lockdowns are lifted.
  • The transition to a circular economy is now even more urgent and tricky.

Find out more >>

What does Coronavirus mean for the future of food? 

This week’s edition of the FoodNavigator Podcast addresses the question “what does COVID-19 mean for food businesses and the consumers they serve?” 

Listen now >> 

Cheap oil harmful to plastics recycling

In times of cheap oil, recycled plastic is more expensive compared to new plastic, according to experts at Ghent University. Prof. Steven De Meester and Prof. Kim Ragaert conclude that, while cheap oil might be beneficial for consumers, it is detrimental for plastic recycling activities.

Discover more >>

Prof’s plastics perspective 

Are plastics really the root of all ecological evil? In this TED video, Prof. Kim Ragaert takes a step back from the public outrage and try to find some perspective.

Watch the video >>

Facts about chemical recycling

Want to learn more about chemical recycling? Check out the BPF’s “Chemical Recycling 101” plastipedia page, courtesy of Recycling Technologies.

See here >>

Tray news ...

Bio-based Material of the Year

Huhtamaki Fresh has won the award of the Bio-based Material of the Year. The material is fibre-based, recyclable and certified for home composting. It is also compatible with our K-Peel lidding film, with solutions already on the market.


£5m funding for sugar cane and bamboo packaging

A company making sustainable packaging from the pulp of sugar cane and bamboo has raised more than £5 million in funding.

Ecoinno, based in Hong Kong, will use the funding to scale up production of the material. It is expected to first be used by an airline for biodegradable food and drink containers.

Find out more >>

An Open Letter to “Plastiphobes”

“Plastics are easily opposed by those who reject/fear the logical, magic-denying impersonality of science, as chemistry is its basis, one of the hardest of the hard sciences.”

Allan Griff speaks out in “An Open Letter to ‘Plastiphobes’ about the Material You Love to Hate” as published in Plastics Today.


PS: Try A Little Kindness

Next week is Mental Health Week, and the theme is kindness. The Mental Health Foundation has said “Protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Mental Health Week >> 

From the KM team … Stay Safe, Keep up the Good Work, Help Others … and let’s be kind.

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Striking oil with plastic

In the Wrap-Up this week ... Striking oil with plastic. UK-wide recycling survey. Trays in the spotlight. Covid-resistant food trays. Talking about plastics in a wasteful society. And more …

Plastic is flying off the shelves

In the Wrap-Up this week ... Plastic is flying off the shelves. Why compostable packaging is crucial for food waste recycling. Clearing the coast of plastic waste. UK-wide interactive recycling map. Meet John Shipley, our international "champion". And more …

Compostable packaging boost for food waste recycling aims

Compostable packaging is crucial if food waste recycling is to be increased, according to a new report based on responses from experts across Europe.

The report, published by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy, is being circulated to encourage the Government to support compostable packaging to help meet its food waste recycling objectives and reduce plastic contamination in organic waste streams.

Sealing sugarcane trays Down Under

Tomato was the first ready-to-eat soup to be packaged in a can by Campbell’s back in 1895. The label said: “This soup is made from the celebrated ‘Beefsteak Tomato’.”

So, it is perhaps appropriate that tomatoes – this time the Sweet Berry Truss variety – are the first produce to be packaged in a new sugarcane tray protected by our K PEEL printed lidding film.

Discover our innovative new range of compostable products

We have launched an innovative new range of compostable products. The C-Range of bio-plastic packaging materials includes shrink wrap, stretch wrap, adhesive tape, net and bags. It enhances our portfolio of sustainable flexible packaging solutions and offers customers a wider range of choice.

The Science of Food Labelling

In this week's wrap up ... the science of labelling to reduce food waste, clearer recycling labelling required to stop confusion, M&S boss says shopping may never be the same again, and has sustainability been forgotten in the crisis?

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