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© Kaleidoscopers (2019)

EREK Quarterly #3 - Sustainable packaging

Posted on: 17.04.2019
by The EREK Team

Packaging is a central object of our everyday life, but there is a growing realisation of its environmental impact. For years now, reducing packaging waste has been the focus of European policies, including at national and local level. However, as packaging plays a key role in preserving products and ensuring consumer information, efforts must be done to further develop sustainable packaging: not only reducing in volume, but also making more recyclable, longer lasting, less environmentally damaging packaging.

SMEs are encouraged to change their practices, from the way they receive materials from their suppliers, to the way they present their final product to consumers. However, it raises many challenges: while a complex packaging might reduce product loss, it is often harder to recycle; return schemes only work if customers do bring back the container; how to find suppliers that will accept to take back pallets, crates or barrel; and what about the cost of changing, and what if it outweighs benefits? SMEs would usually need support to perform the needed life-cycle analysis of their packaging, and find the right materials and process.

Packaging manufacturers are also on the frontline of packaging ecodesign. Extended producer responsibility schemes (EPRS) are expanding, currently present in 25 EU countries for different products, ranging from textiles to plastics. Some of them oblige packaging manufacturers to pay for the collection, recycling and cleaning of products, which adds pressure on the sector to innovate and provide sustainable alternatives.

In this third edition of EREK quarterly, you can read our interview with Arkadiusz Primus of Investeko (page 2-3), practical examples from companies (page 4), information on public-funded support programmes (page 5), and a host of other relevant tips and information (page 6).

Read the EREK Quarterly #3!