Recognition That Packaging Prevents Waste – At Last!

JB-2014.jpgIn the first of our exclusive birthday week content, INCPEN director Jane Bickerstaffe discusses her highlight of the past year – namely the recognition that some packaging actually helps prevent waste… CIWM Journal Online Exclusive

In November 2013 a member of the House of Lords EU sub-committee in an inquiry on food waste asked an INCPEN delegation why retailers do not do more to tell their customers in-store and on-pack that packaging protects food and prevents it going to waste.

Success! After years of being pilloried for packaging’s “wastefulness”, and unfairly blamed for most of the world’s environmental ills (it sometimes seems), it was wonderful to hear an acknowledgment of packaging’s invaluable role – even though it was juxtaposed with a criticism that retailers should be doing more!

And during the last year it wasn’t just the House of Lords committee which made positive statements:  a number of politicians have also said that packaging is ‘a good thing’ and helps avoid waste.

And WRAP confirmed packaging’s benefits in extending the shelf life of food and helping consumers to avoid throwing it away in a Love Food Hate Waste project called Fresher for Longer. Food waste is a major issue across the world and anything that reduces that waste is globally beneficial.

INCPEN’s The Good, the Bad and the Spudly online campaign  was widely seen  by the general public and the messages it contains are popping up everywhere.

We’ve always known that packaging reduces the waste of all kinds of products – televisions, medicines, as well as food toiletries – not least because of empirical evidence when packaging fails and the contents are damaged or spoiled.

It’s good news that finally the message seems to be reaching others: packaging doesn’t create waste – it prevents it.

Now we need to make sure that the regulators in Brussels who are currently reviewing waste policy, including packaging policy, also appreciate that packaging has a net positive environmental impact and realise that manufacturers and retailers need flexibility to be able to continuously improve it.


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Darrel Moore

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