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Sustainable sourcing key to packaging industry future

Packaging plays a “vital” role in UK industry and the green economy but key to its future is “sustainable sourcing” according to Foodservice Packaging Association Chairman Neil Whittal.

The comments follow a packaging debate in the House of Commons this week tabled by Conservative MP for Rugby Mark Pawsey. During the debate Pawsey said packaging was an “easy target for those wishing to present their green credentials”. He also argued that “good food packaging reduces food waste” and added that only 3% of landfilled waste is packaging waste.

Another issue raised during the debate was the need to develop more waste recycling plants, particularly in the case of plastics, so that more waste could be recycled in the UK. This would support “home-grown” business that the Government said it was committed to.

Whittal thought the debate showed how views on packaging are changing. He said: “The ‘packaging industry’ has been viewed by some as irresponsible, but it is clear that there is now a growing recognition of its importance in the UK economy, not only in manufacturing, but through playing a significant role in the growing food and drink sector.”

Whittal added that the foodservice packaging industry was “aware of its responsibilities” and had “invested heavily” in the development of lighter packaging and new materials using recycled and recyclable materials such as rPET and compostable materials such as PLA. He added that all of these were working towards a new range of ‘end of life’ solutions.

He said all FPA members have sustainability policies and a commitment to guidelines on corporate responsibility. Commenting on litter, he described it as a “behaviour” issue that needed to be tackled through education.

Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, spoke on behalf of a business in her constituency, Nampak Plastics. She said if the Government was concerned with supporting “home-grown” business it needed to make sure more raw materials were home grown. And to do this more needed to be done to develop suitable waste recycling plants so that waste products can be recycled.

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