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25.08.2023
Latest News Wrap-Up / 25.08.2023

Controversial EPR recycling reforms delayed

In our latest Wrap-Up … Controversial EPR recycling reforms delayed. New guide for sustainable plastic packaging. Food safety and shelf life sway customers. WRAP remains focused on films. Plastic usage to ‘double’ by 2040. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

CONTROVERSIAL EPR RECYCLING REFORMS DELAYED

The UK government’s controversial “Extended Producer Responsibility” (EPR) recycling reforms have been delayed by a year, amid warnings that the scheme would drive up food prices.

Now manufacturers will not need to cover the cost of recycling their packaging – as required by the scheme – until 2025.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has said: “Government will use the additional year to continue to discuss the scheme’s design with industry and reduce the costs of implementation wherever possible.”

Meanwhile, the man who developed the concept of EPR, Thomas Lindquist, has warned that getting the policy right will not be easy, and he cautioned: “The UK government is ‘pushing over problems’ to local councils and putting pressure on them.”

MEANWHILE …

New guide for sustainable plastic packaging

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has launched its latest online course: “A Guide to Incorporating Recycled Plastic into Packaging”.

The course enables early-stage designers, processors, brands, and those in the plastics supply chain to create more sustainable plastic packaging solutions.

Supermarkets take the lead in recycling recovery

The founder of collapsed soft plastics recycler REDcycle in Australia says she always thought stockpiled soft plastic stores would be spared from landfill.

She was speaking as major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths have taken responsibility for the plastic stockpiles, which they said amounted to about 11,000 tonnes located in 44 warehouses across multiple states and territories.

The supermarkets are exploring options for the stockpiled plastic, including the possibility of shipping some to be processed offshore. They are also exploring the future potential of kerbside collection of soft plastics by local councils.

The federal government has recently committed a further $60 million to recycling modernisation — which in part targets better processes for plastics that are hard to recycle.

Food safety and shelf life sway customers

Food safety and shelf life are the most important aspects of product packaging in consumers’ purchasing decisions, according to a new sustainability survey by McKinsey & Company.

There are different views on what is regarded as the most sustainable packaging type but compostable and plant-based packaging – like our C-range of compostable bio-plastic packaging – ranked highly.

There was also global approval for plastic films made from renewable or compostable material.

Packaging specialist in the black

Food packaging specialist Faerch Durham has significantly boosted operating profits despite facing cost increases. The North East operation of the Danish packaging group saw a near 150% increase in operating profit to £9.8m in 2022 on the back of a 38% increase in turnover to £160.26m.

BRAND WATCH …

  • Virgin reduction: The Kraft Heinz Co. has set a goal to reduce the use of approximately 100 million lbs (or 20%) of virgin plastic in its global packaging portfolio by 2030.

    The steps include topping its Tomato Ketchup squeezy bottles with a “100% recyclable” cap to make the whole pack compatible with the standard kerbside collection.
     
  • Paper pilot: Mars bars in paper packaging are being tested in the UK as part of a pilot to explore different packaging options.

IN THE AISLES …

  • Pillow talk: Tesco has launched mince “pillow packs”, which use 70% less plastic than in current packaging. Unlike vacuum packs, the pillow packs are slightly inflated and protect the mince without being compressed.
     
  • Steering clear: Asda has announced it will replace coloured caps with clear caps on all its own label fresh milk. The change will mean that 268 tonnes of High-Density Polythene (rHDPE) can be recycled to make new milk bottles.
     
  • Leading the field: A Sainsbury’s executive has said New Zealand livestock farmers are well ahead of those in other countries in terms of what is needed to meet consumers' environmental and social needs.

ON LABELS …

  • Vegan mistakes: Research has found that almost two dozen foods labelled “vegan” contained animal products. Inspectors also found that nine in 10 products – including dairy and meat alternatives – marked as vegan contained inaccuracies in labelling and nutritional information.
     
  • Fighting waste: Meal kit supplier HelloFresh is advocating the use of more dynamic food labelling to fight food waste. It believes that innovative alternative solutions such as TTI (time-temperature indicators) are key to reducing waste.
     
  • They’rrre great tussle: Kellogg’s has sued the Mexican government over a policy that any food with a warning label is banned from including a mascot – such as Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam – on its packaging. Kellogg’s is now ramping up its marketing to keep the characters alive.

IN TRAY SEALING …

  • Debut Down Under: The G Mondini Cigno Automatic Compact Tray Sealer is debuting in Australia through the company's partnership with Select Equip. The company says small-to-medium producers needing a fully automatic tray sealing system can now access it at a cost comparable to a semi-automatic setup.
     
  • Cheese selection: Packaging Automation has been highlighting its range of tray sealers and pot fillers that cover the diverse landscape of cheese packaging. It says: “With options ranging from semi-automatic machines for hands-on precision to full inline solutions for seamless efficiency, we ensure that cheese packaging adapts to the producer's needs.”
     
  • Packing a punch: Proseal has announced the launch of the CP4 case packing machine, the latest in its CP range. The CP4 promises to offer producers across the global food market the ability to pack trays at an even higher production rate while integrating seamlessly with existing Proseal tray sealing machines.

SUSTAINABLE TOPICS …

  • Focus on films: WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has published its annual report and said it focused on the recycling of films during 2022/23. It added films continue to pose a challenge due to the lack of investment in the necessary infrastructure in the country.

    The new report said the organisation would continue focusing on plastic film recycling and eliminating plastic packaging for loose vegetables/fruits.
     
  • Plastic usage ‘to double’: Incoming EU rules will double plastic packaging by 2040, cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa has warned. The concern is that suggested mandatory reuse targets would cause the market to be flooded by plastic packaging and hit the paper packaging industry, which is focused on recycling.
     
  • Packaging targeted: Food packaging is among the targets of new sustainable plastics research projects. £6 million in funding is being delivered to universities for the projects to support a more sustainable plastics system and help the UK move towards a circular plastics economy.
     
  • Plastic bags are binned: Plastic bag use has fallen by more than 98% since the single-use charge was introduced in 2015, according to new figures announced by Environment Minister Rebecca Pow. The average person now buys just two single-use carrier bags a year, compared with around 140 before the charge was introduced.

RECYCLING INTEREST …

  • Wishful thinking: More than 72% of UK consumers admit to “wish-cycling” – putting rubbish in recycling bins without being sure it can be recycled – according to new research by recipe box company Gousto. The survey also found that most consumers are confused by packaging labels and recycling guidance.
     
  • Under pressure: Plastic recyclers in Europe have reported they are coming under “severe pressure” as prices continue to fall because of low demand, cheaper virgin material costs, and broader economic uncertainty.
     
  • Chemical reaction: HMRC has launched a consultation on how chemical recycling can contribute to the content of recycled material under the plastics packaging tax, which is payable on products with less than 30% recycled content. Under a “mass balance” scheme, the amount of chemically recycled material would be part of the overall percentage.
     
  • Mexican waves: A new recycling facility in Mexico is the result of a collaboration between Nestlé, Britain’s Greenback Recycling Technologies, and pyrolysis technology developed by Enval in the UK. The microwave-induced chemical recycling technology will turn plastics into pyrolytic oil.
     
  • Foil Friday: The aluminium recycling organisation, Alupro, has launched its first nationwide consumer engagement campaign aimed at boosting foil recycling and reducing contamination. The #FoilFriday programme, running until December, will see householders targeted with a series of digital media assets.

ALTERNATIVELY …

  • Carrying the canola: A research team in Canada has found a way to turn canola into a biodegradable packaging material as an alternative to plastic. The material comes from a part of the canola oil extraction process that is essentially waste.

AND FINALLY …

  • Plant substitutes going to pot: Plant-based meat substitutes are under pressure as consumers are dropping out, producers are scaling down production, and supermarkets are reducing supply, according to new research from Rabobank.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY …

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