Packaging unwrapped

Love it or hate it, packaging will probably always be a hot topic of discussion for those of us in the waste management sector. Annie Reece finds out what the next steps are in terms of packaging innovation

This article was taken from Issue 72

Packaging – the ubiquitous poster child of litter and rubbish. Love it or hate it, there is no doubt that packaging serves a purpose – it protects our goods from damage and germs, and can of course be used as a marketing tool. In the UK, we produce around 10 million tonnes of the stuff a year, but as it’s a secondary product and often unwanted after it has served its primary purpose (few of us go out to specifically buy packaging), it is perhaps the most conspicuous form of waste out there. Indeed, several countries, including United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Yemen, are so fed up with plastic packaging polluting their environments, that they have pledged to ban non-biodegradable plastics from entering the country. The UK has yet to go that far, but it is working on waste reduction. The third phase of WRAP’s voluntary commitment to reduce packaging waste, the Courtauld Commitment, was launched earlier this year with the target of reducing ‘traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste’ in the grocery supply chain by three per cent by 2015 (from a 2012 baseline). But despite these efforts to reduce packaging waste, WRAP does acknowledge that it is needed in some cases. Two months before Courtauld 3 was launched, WRAP produced the report ‘Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging’ in partnership with the Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN), The Packaging Federation, Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Kent Waste Partnership and British Retail Consortium (BRC) looking at the role packaging plays in reducing food waste.