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01.09.2022
Latest News Wrap-Up / 01.09.2022

EPR guide offers clarity as industry reacts to scrap call

In our latest Wrap-Up … EPR guide offers clarity as industry reacts to scrap call. Recyclable paper packaging for frozen food. Heat-sealing masterclass. Warning about switching from plastics. The UK set to break recycling record. Supermarkets end refillable trials. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

EPR GUIDE OFFERS CLARITY AS INDUSTRY REACTS TO SCRAP CALL

A call has been made to scrap or delay the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which requires businesses placing material on the market to pay the entire net costs of collecting, sorting, recycling, and disposing of waste.

Ecoveritas has warned that it would “reckless and irresponsible” to row back on EPR. ADEPT has said it cannot be delayed.

We have now published a quick and clear guide to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to clarify the topic, including who it affects, an at-a-glance timeline, and an action list for producers.

WORLD’S FIRST FOR FROZEN FOOD

One of the world’s first paper recyclable packaging solutions for frozen food has been created for Iceland.

The packaging has been designed for the retailer’s Northcoast range of frozen seafood, which was previously packaged in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bags.

The new solution is made from heat-sealable paper designed to withstand frost and moisture in a freezer environment for prolonged periods.

The retailer aims to remove all plastic packaging from its own-label range by 2023.

PACKAGING NOTES

Tyrrellbly trimmed: Plastic packaging is being trimmed by 25 per cent across KP Snacks’ Tyrrells range. The new packaging will save 113 tonnes of plastic per year.

Packing heat: Heat-sealed punnets for strawberries have been launched by Piñata Farms’ Sunshine Coast farm in Australia. “Heat-sealing reduces packaging by 30 per cent and keeps berries fresher and firmer for longer,” said sales and marketing manager Rebecca Scurr.

Breaks in the chain: Plastic packaging is not the enemy – the problem is apathy and inactivity, according to Andrew Capper, Creative Director of Echo. He argues we already have the technology and understanding to recycle all plastic cleanly, if only there weren’t breaks in the chain.

IN TRAYS

Working classes:  A special training course for customers has been developed by tray sealing specialist Proseal. The Heat Sealing Masterclass shows the steps required to meet an ideal sealing standard for particular applications and delivers expert advice.

Double quick: A fast-growing food manufacturer has been able to double production thanks to purchasing a new heat-sealing machine, supported by Packaging Automation.

SWITCHING OFF WASTE SOLUTIONS

Plastics charity RECOUP has warned that switching from plastics to other materials will not solve the waste crisis. It also says that consumers are being misled when, in some cases, switching is done without consideration for the effect on overall recyclability. 

To highlight the key issues, RECOUP has produced a set of case studies demonstrating the issues and how improvements can be made. This includes how:

  • Sainsbury’s switched from a PET tray which can be recycled at home to a bag that needs depositing at a collection point.
  • M&S swapped from a card tray with film flow wrap into multi-material card packaging, making the recycling process more complex.

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

Stepping on the gas

A new multi-million-pound plant is to be constructed in Hull by Mitsubishi Chemical UK to more than double the capacity for the production of SoarnoL, a gas barrier used in high-performance packaging.

SoarnoL, which mainly comprises carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, is colourless and odourless and used as a barrier layer in food packaging. It preserves flavour and freshness in items such as the protective film on ready meals.

Demonstrating waste avoidance

A £10 million demonstration facility has been announced focusing on the capture, recovery, and recycling of plastic packaging currently lost to landfill or incineration.

Led by waste management company Fiberight, the Uncaptured Unrecycled Plastics (UP) Project will target packaging from all sectors of the UK, including non-food contact packaging,

RECORD-BREAKING RECYCLING

The UK is on track to record its highest-ever plastic packaging waste recycling volume. National Packaging Waste Database figures for 2022 suggest that over 600,000 tonnes of plastic could be reprocessed if current volumes are maintained. The total for 2021 was 593,000 tonnes.

TOP OF THE GREEN LEAGUE

The countries with the greenest economies have been revealed. And the Top 5 in the Green Future Index 2022 report are Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Norway. The UK is particularly deemed as a global leader in renewables generation.

RESUSING LESS PACKAGING

Refillable packaging trials have been ended by Aldi and Tesco. Tesco – who terminated their partnership with TerraCycle’s Loop platform – said the results of the trial had been “very encouraging”, but they will now need to rethink the approach to refillable packaging,

RESUSING MORE PACKAGING

An expanding market for refillable and reusable products has been identified in a recent study by Smithers. The study suggests that the industry will grow by five per cent year-on-year to reach a value of more than £45 billion in 2027 as new digital solutions and supply chain efficiencies emerge.

FUNDING TO MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE

Difficult-to-recycle plastics, scaling reusable packaging, and launching new business models in Chile, India, South Africa, and Kenya are to be tackled in a £1.2 million initiative launched by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and WRAP.

As part of the International Circular Plastics Flagship Competition, companies receiving funding include Notpla Ltd – which will develop and expand applications for its seaweed-based heat sealable film – and Interface Polymers Ltd, which will demonstrate the validity of its recycling additive technology.

CEFLEX previously received UKRI funding to research how flexible packaging can be designed for optimal sorting.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Secret of ingredients: The environmental impact of 57,000 multi-ingredient processed foods has been revealed in research led by a University of Oxford team. The researchers found that products made of fruits, vegetables, sugar, and flour have low impact scores, and those made of meat, fish and cheese are at the high end of the scale.

Wonky choices: Lidl and Waitrose have said they will sell more "wonky" produce after the BBC reported that farmers wanted supermarkets to be flexible with growers, as the summer's hot and dry weather affects the look and size of crops.

On a related topic, we have just published a case study on how we straightened out compostable packaging for some “wonky” bread.

NEW WEB SIGHT

The new website from i2r Packaging Solutions is now live. Described as an interactive and immersive experience, highlights include a “customise your tray” feature enabling 3D modelling of selected products.

KM’S APPOINTMENTS

PS. RECYCLING 101

Want to know how plastic is recycled? The BPF has published a step-by-step guide.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

From the KM team … stay safe, keep up the good work, and value plastic.

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