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21.06.2022
Latest News Wrap-Up / 20/06/2022

EPR to be 'key driver in packaging development'

In our latest Wrap-Up … EPR to be 'key driver in packaging development'. Global polymers – an insightful update. Exploring innovations in packaging. Call for a nationally-unified recycling system. PRN system ‘needs urgent reform’. Bio-based packaging materials caution. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

EPR TO BE 'KEY DRIVER IN PACKAGING DEVELOPMENT'

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will be a key, if not the principle, driver in packaging development over the next two to three years, according to Alan Lockhart, Business Unit Director at KM.

In the latest Grocery Trader packaging showcase feature (see Page 76), Alan also said: “If you are looking at making a significant investment in plant or equipment, look forward to what will be needed, or at least aim to make your equipment flexible in format.”

EPR – preparation guidance

The Government has published guidance on how UK organisations can prepare for the extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. For example, it advises the data submission must include the weight of:

  • Individual materials in the packaging you handle and supply.
  • Materials used in your “primary”, “secondary”, and “transit” packaging.
  • Packaging likely to become household or non-household waste.
  • Packaging likely to end up in street bins.

Organisations affected by the EPR for packaging must take steps to collect the correct packaging data from January 1, 2023.

EPR – practical checklist

CEFLEX has launched a “practical checklist” for extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes and stakeholders to work through on their journey to making packaging waste materials circular.

The “Criteria for Circularity” have been created as a starting point for discussion and development based on four pillars: operational, financial, communication, and governance.

GLOBAL POLYMERS – AN INSIGHTFUL UPDATE

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) has published an insightful webinar entitled "Global Polymers Update - Trends, Fundamentals and a Look Ahead to 2022". Key points include:

  • Prices are high mainly because of increased energy and shipping costs.
  • The Ukraine conflict has had no significant impact as yet.
  • Pricing is expected to remain elevated for the rest of 2022.
  • Logistics continue to be a major issue.
  • US producers may have to reduce production because of the container shortage and logistics.

In addition, the shared data shows that container prices in Asia and the USA are at record highs (and above Platts container index). And US exporters and importers have been affected by a lack of chassis and workforce shortages because of COVID, strikes, and union negotiations.

FLEXIBLE NEWS

Pet project launched

Pet food supplier Purina is launching its first full pouch ranges “designed to be recyclable”. The packaging is made of Polypropylene (PP), which is also resistant to high temperatures and offers robust protection for the contents.

Cheesy packaging

  • Cathedral City is the UK’s first cheese brand to introduce side opening, resealable packs.
  • Mondi and Hazeleger Kaas have launched recyclable cheese packaging for the Dutch market. Most sliced cheese in the Netherlands is packaged in mixed material film, which is difficult to recycle. This new packaging has a PP thermoforming top and bottom web and a PP label instead of a paper label.

Straightening the bags for ‘wonky’ bread

The ‘wonky’ bread subscription service Earth & Wheat has started switching to compostable packaging from our C-Range of products. The home-compostable bags, which are designed for packing short shelf-life food such as bakery items, have been developed by us in partnership with Treetop Biopak.

Exploring innovations in packaging

Mars makes wide usage of flexible film for the packaging of its food products. However, since it is not yet widely recyclable, the organisation has been exploring packaging innovations such as reusable packaging and advanced recycling to contribute to the circular economy.

Allison Lin, Global Vice President of Packaging Sustainability at Mars, has spoken to Packaging World about how Mars is working towards greater sustainability in its packaging materials, resolving to make 100% of it reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

POLICY MATTERS

Call for a nationally-unified recycling system

The Government must establish a nationally-unified recycling system and invest in chemical recycling so businesses can comply with the new UK Plastic Packaging Tax, according to an industry expert.

Speaking at Packaging Innovations 2022, Schur Star Systems sales manager Ian Weston also called for a more balanced debate around the role of plastic food packaging in modern society.

PRN system ‘needs urgent reform’

The UK’s Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system, which provides evidence that businesses’ waste has been recycled into new materials, needs urgent and fundamental reform, according to producer compliance scheme Ecosurety.

For example, Robbie Staniforth, Ecosurety’s innovation and policy director, said: “A small minority of reprocessors or exporters have held producers to ransom on price due, which destabilised the whole system.”

COMPOSTABLE CORNER

Single-use but valuable

We need compostable packaging, but it’s still single-use,” cautions Laura Collacott, Freelance Editor, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

However, she adds that compostables could be an appropriate substitute for up to 20% of plastic flexibles. At the same time, the Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) estimates that compostable materials could substitute around 5-8% of current plastic packaging.

Caution about bio-diversity

New innovations for bio-based packaging materials require assessment regarding their categorisation, compliance, and safety. That’s the view of Niko Markkinen, a food contact material testing expert at Measurlabs, in Packaging Europe.

He says this is especially true when the materials are used for packaging foods and beverages. For example, Niko highlights that bio-based food contact materials (FCMs) carry risks for several contaminants which require special attention.

Challenge to collection decision

DEFRA is avoiding "meaningful scientific discussion" on compostable packaging, according to the BBIA. The association has written to DEFRA challenging the position that compostable bags have been deemed unsuitable for food waste collections in England.

It says the department has: "Opted to move forward with a system for packaging and food waste which goes against the actual evidence, net-zero ambitions and desire of the market."

Zipper bags ideal for pasta parcels

Nonna Tonda required a flexible pack that would retain the freshness of their pasta and fit into their mailing boxes. Discover how compostable zipper bags from our C-Range proved to be the ideal solution.

SHOP TALK

  • Fair play: Aldi has been voted the top supermarket for treating suppliers fairly.
  • Market fresh: Motatos, a new supermarket from Scandinavia, has launched in the UK to rival Aldi and Lidl regarding affordability and sustainability.
  • Virtual test: Four of the UK’s biggest retailers will trial new environmental labels in a virtual reality setting. Selected customers will be invited to shop in a virtual store to evaluate their awareness and understanding of the environmental labels.
  • Missing targets: Iceland says it is set to miss its target of removing all plastic from its own-brand products this year due to the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
  • Good to go: Co-op has overhauled its food-to-go range by introducing new products and reducing packaging. It has also removed all single-use plastic cutlery in favour of wooden sporks.

RECYCLING FOCUS

Separating the layers in flexible packaging

The ITENE research centre is developing new delamination processes that separate different layers in post-consumer flexible packaging with a multi-layer structure (See Page 86 of Infopack).

The project focuses on the end-of-life management of packaging, from developing new recycling processes and improving the properties of recycled materials to manufacturing new packaging for the food industry.

Progress for chemical plant plans

Plans have been progressed for a plastics chemical recycling plant in Sunderland. The city council has agreed to give Quantafuel – part of a specialist recycling company based in Norway – the first option to develop land at Port of Sunderland.

Concern over low waste availability

Recyclers have reported the current low availability of sorted plastic waste may present a barrier to meeting the EU’s recycling targets.

Pot shot at soft plastic trial

As part of a trial, Heinz has launched Beanz Snap Pots made from 39% recycled soft plastic, which Tesco gathered at in-store collection points. Once used, the pots can be recycled in kerbside collections.

SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS FINALISTS

The finalists of this year’s Sustainability Awards have been announced. The competition has introduced new categories dedicated to showcasing the most important areas of emerging innovation.

YOUR HANDY FILM CALCULATOR

We've just released a handy Film Calculator. The simple online tool lets you quickly calculate roll length, diameter, and material thickness.

OUR PLATINUM LADY AMANDA

Amanda Taylor has spoken to us about her 20 years with KM. From helping to gain quality certification to coping with surging energy prices, Amanda shares some insights into the joys and challenges of her career.

PACKAGING INNOVATIONS ROUND-UP

Nearly 6000 visitors attended this year’s Packaging Innovations and Empack.  In case you missed it, here’s a round-up of the industry’s flagship event.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

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

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