Iain Ferguson, Coop Food at EMERGE AGM 2011


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Presentation given at public meeting on "The Future of Plastic Packaging"

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Iain Ferguson, Coop Food at EMERGE AGM 2011

  1. 1. The Future of Plastic PackagingIain Ferguson24th November 2011
  2. 2. The Benefits of Packaging Packaging performs a number of functions of varying importance: • Protects product from damage. • Extends shelf life. • Provides surface to impart legally required information. • Provides surface to impart useful consumer information. • Provides surface for marketing communication. • May perform an integral function within the product – trigger spray, pump. • Presents and merchandises the product. Advisory Committee on Packaging – 3% of food is wasted before reaching customers. In the developing world the level is 50%
  3. 3. Food Waste – a major problem• UK households throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food every year.• More than 80% of this is avoidable – it could have been eaten.• 2.2 million tonnes was cooking, preparing or serving too much.• 2.9 million tonnes was thrown away because it wasn’t eaten in time.• The value is £12 billion, £480 per household, £680 per household with children.• CO2 is equivalent to one in four cars on the road.• Food wasted in Europe and the US could feed the world three times over.
  4. 4. Public Perception of Packaging
  5. 5. Public Perception of Packaging Customer perceptions • glass is good • plastic is bad • recyclable is good • biodegradable is good
  6. 6. Packaging Reality • glass is energy and resource hungry, but is very recyclable and pretty inert. • plastic is very resource efficient, but plastic film is a challenge to recycle • recyclable is good – mostly true, but lighter weight may be better • biodegradable is good – but where is it being biodegraded – not in industrial composters. Landfill diversion targets. Does it encourage littering?
  7. 7. Current Themes and Activities1. Lighter weight glass bottles.2. Lighter weight board.3. Replacement of clip-on lids with heat seal.4. Increasing recycled content of plastics.5. Downgauging of plastic films.6. Recycling of selected polythene films at store.7. Investigation of change of polymer films to enable recycling.8. Smaller seals on pre-pack bags.9. Investigation of home-compostable films to replace difficult to recycle composite materials.
  8. 8. The Future1. Increased recycling of plastics – already improving.2. Narrower range of conventional polymers?3. New technologies to capture and recycle problem materials – molecular recycling.4. Increased use of bio-based conventional plastics – Coca Cola and Pepsico bioPET.5. Increased use of compostable biopolymers for composite applications – may reverse if 3 is effective.
  9. 9. The Future of Plastic PackagingIain Ferguson24th November 2011