New industry alliance set to boost fibre packaging

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), has formed a new industry alliance to drive the use of fibre-based packaging.

An image of paper rolls

Entitled 4evergreen, the new alliance will aim to increase awareness about the benefits of fibre-based packaging materials, advocate for EU legislation supporting product design for recyclability and call for the development of optimised collection systems and appropriate recycling infrastructures.

A number of packaging and retail companies have already signed up to the new alliance, including Nestlé, Danone, Stora Enso, Smurfit Kappa, Sappi and Metsä Board.

Eija Hietavuo, Chairwoman of 4evergreen and Senior Vice President for Sustainability at Stora Enso’s Consumer Board, said: “Fibre-based packaging can be a game-changer for material substitution. Our common goal is to deliver a holistic approach to optimise the sustainability and circularity of fibre-based packaging’s life cycle.”

Jori Ringman, Director General at CEPI, added: “The time to act is now! Our industry already has a strong track record in environmental performance and recycling, but our ambition is higher. We are driving a system-wide shift to transition to the next level of circularity and climate resilience. 4evergreen will be the place for the whole industry value chain to co-create and collaborate for a change.”

Alternatives to plastic packaging

Amid rising concern over the impact of single-use plastic, companies are increasingly turning to alternative packaging materials to give their consumers more environmentally-friendly choices. The public is strongly in favour of reducing their plastic usage, with a recent survey by packaging company DS Smith revealing that 62 per cent of European consumers would be willing to pay more for food products that contain less plastic packaging.

Government regulations are also driving the move away from plastic, with a tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30 per cent recycled content on the horizon. EU legislation is similarly pushing for reduced plastic use – the Single Use Plastics Directive prevents the sale and use of disposable plastic products, as part of the EU’s Plastic Strategy which aims to make all packaging on the EU market recyclable or reusable by 2030.

Paper and cardboard is widely recyclable in most kerbside collections across the country, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to amend legislation to ensure greater consistency in recycling collections by 2023.

With a high recycling rate of 79 per cent, well above its EU recycling target of 60 per cent, fibre-based packaging looks to be the main beneficiary of the growing clampdown on single-use plastics.

You can find out more about CEPI on the association’s website

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