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New Low for Black Packaging

Wrap-up - 17/04/2020

This week in the news ... a new low for black packaging, single-use sees viral resurgence, chemical recycling and a circular economy, and working on the home front... meet KM's Katie Puckle. Read on for our wrap-up of what's been happening in the world of flexible packaging.

Industry support sought in the fight against coronavirus

The key role of the UK plastics industry in the fight against coronavirus has again been highlighted, with companies helping to meet the demand for everything from medical packaging to ventilator components.

BP&R also reported that the British Plastics Federation has been fielding daily enquiries from governments seeking materials, bottles, lids, visors, and other components.

Read the full story >>

New low for black packaging

The usage of black packaging has dropped from around 36,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes this year, according to RECOUP.

As we reported in Lifting the Lid on Plastic: Any colour as long as it's not black, the carbon black pigments in packaging cannot be easily "seen" by most current recycling sorting systems. The plastic, therefore, often ends up as waste in landfill or incineration.

However, despite the figures in its latest report, RECOUP is confident the trend can be reversed, and all black plastic packaging should be recyclable by 2025.

Read more >>

Single-use sees viral resurgence

The reusable container bandwagon appears to have hit the buffers, due to the coronavirus crisis.  And single-use is apparently back on the tracks.

Despite a lack of supporting evidence, there is growing concern that the reuse of containers may be unhygienic. So, as people go to great lengths to avoid anything that might spread coronavirus, the word is being spread that single-use is the safest route.

Footprint explores the conundrum >>

Calls for postponement of single-use plastics directive 

Given the current Covid-19 crisis, European Plastics Converters (EuPC) has called for a postponement of the single-use plastics (SUP) directive.

Measures in the directive include outright bans to reduce consumption of key single-use plastic items.

The EuPC wants the directive postponed for at least a year to give time "to focus on more urgent measures in the fight against Covid-19".

Read more >>

Ban on plastic straws delayed

The ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds has been delayed by Defra due to the "huge challenges posed to businesses and local authorities by COVID-19″.  

However, once the ban does coming into place in October, catering establishments in England will not be able to display plastic straws, automatically hand them out, or offer them to customers.

Read more information >>

Cutting through the plastics confusion 

In an increasing number of people are turning to the web resource Clear on Plastics, as confusion grows around such topics as the colour of plastic packaging, and whether reusable or single-use is the best option.

The website from WRAP answers questions like "Why can't we just ban all plastic packaging?" and "Why can't we replace plastic with other materials such as glass or paper?"

Visit the website >>

Chemical recycling and a circular economy

New light is being shone on chemical recycling technology that can convert multi-layer, flexible plastics into valuable chemicals and oils.

The technology means plastic can be recycled an unlimited number of times within a circular economy. 

Richard Daley, managing director of ReNew ELP, has told Packaging Scotland about his company's Cat-HTR chemical recycling technology.

The truth about plastic and chemical recycling >>

Scientists develop antibacterial paper for food packaging

Scientists have developed a new type of wrapping paper that can make stored food stay fresh longer.

The paper has bactericidal qualities and is imbued with a set of harmless reagents. These are said to hold on to the paper so strongly that virtually nothing is transferred to the food.

More information is here >>

BPF responds to plastic pollution questions

The British Plastics Federation has responded to the Environment Agency’s consultation on “River basin planning: Challenges and Choices”. This included concerns about “plastic contamination of beaches, rivers and soils, and in the ingestion and entanglement of wildlife”.

The BPF has said it runs the industry-led, international initiative Operation Clean Sweep in the UK and has enjoyed broad success in tackling plastic pellet pollution. 

And the federation’s response includes that the recycling infrastructure in the UK needs to be further developed so that it can sustain as much reprocessing and recycling in the UK.

In response to the question of “What actions should the Environment Agency take to reduce plastic pollution?”, the BPF has answered:

  • Identification of hotspots and sources of plastic entering waterways.
  • Work in collaboration with other bodies to ensure coherence in policy regarding anti-littering behaviour and actions, educational campaigns and community action.
  • Further support/endorsement of Operation Clean Sweep, where possible, to raise its visibility amongst wider supply chains (e.g. ports and logistics providers).

Working on the home front – Meet Katie

We are continuing to support our customers while working mostly from home. One of our colleagues is Katie Puckle, part of our customer service team. She manages orders for customers in the UK, Australia, Canada, and USA.

Katie is pictured above with her cat, Hazel, during one of our company Zoom video meetings.

When she's not supporting customers and looking after her moggy, Katie is a keen baker and avid follower of the Great British Bake Off.

And she's looking forward to swapping flour for wedding flowers when her wedding – that recently had to be postponed – eventually takes place, hopefully in September.

We're clapping for our colleagues in the packaging supply chain during these times and all retail and food manufacturing employees.

From the KM team … Stay Safe, Keep up the Good Work, Help Others.

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