Flexible Packaging industry takes active lead towards development of a circular economy
In line with its commitment to actively lead the way towards a more resource efficient society, Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has issued a strong endorsement of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).
The Global Commitment has a clear vision to create a future where plastic packaging is designed, used and the materials then made available again in the circular economy by 2025. This means they should not leak into the natural environment and, therefore, would continue to play an essential role in helping society live and consume sustainably.
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Flexible Packaging industry takes active lead towards development of a circular economy
Flexible packaging consumption in Europe grew by 2% to around €14bn in 2017, with about the same growth rates in both Western and Eastern Europe, according to research by PCI Wood Mackenzie. Total annual production exceeded €15bn, of which 75% was accounted for from Western Europe and the remaining 25% from Eastern Europe. This region remains the most significant exporter with approximately 10% of its production consumed outside Europe. Forecasts expect growth to continue, with sales achieving nearly €16bn in Europe and global consumption reaching US$107bn by 2022.
Healthy growth for most of the end user markets, such as coffee, pet food and fresh foods has driven production higher, according to Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE). Smaller households need more single serve options and there is continuing demand for more product varieties from consumers. This supports the general trend from rigid to flexible packaging, which offer greater convenience and fits better into today’s lifestyle needs.
This trend is confirmed by further data measured in units from Euromonitor International. However, this research indicates a stagnation of consumption in confectionery while growth continues in the categories of savoury snacks, cheese, coffee, dry products and pet food.
FPE Chairman, Gérard Blatrix, commenting on the market research said, “These figures reveal a strength in depth for European flexible packaging demand and a resilience in core markets. The trend for more convenience and greater variety of formats is clearly being met by innovative flexible packaging styles. FPE and its members are committed to ensuring flexible packaging continues to be at the forefront of modern packaging solutions with a strong environmental message. The main rationale for flexible packaging is to minimize raw material use, generally making it the most resource efficient packaging solution available.”
FPE is very active in sustainability projects within the framework of the EU’s Circular Economy strategy. The flexible packaging industry supports the separate collection of all packaging to ensure that these materials are efficiently treated for recovery. FPE is a founding and leading member of the CEFLEX initiative which is committed to all types of flexible packaging in a circular economy. This supports the development of improved sorting and recycling solutions across Europe.
Düsseldorf, Germany - The Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) co-signs, with five other leading packaging and material associations, a high-level letter to urge the European Commission and Council of the European Union to support the European Parliament’s call to amend the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) with a requirement for all packaging material to be separately collected. One objective is to drive investment and innovation in collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure, so that all packaging would contribute to a more circular economy.
The signatories and supporters of this letter include:
- The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE)
- European Aluminium
- European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA)
- The European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO)
- Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE)
The second Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum, held during interpack 2017 in Dusseldorf, attracted significantly increased numbers compared with the first event. More than 130 delegates attended, from over 55 converting companies, spanning 5 continents. The meeting has quickly become a major fixture in the calendar during the interpack exhibition, following the remarkable success of the first event, held at interpack 2014.
The Executive Forum is staged as a business breakfast event for flexible packaging manufacturers during the show. It offers the opportunity to exchange ideas and encourage discussions on emerging trends, key themes, opportunities, and the challenges facing the industry while, at the same time, offering an important opportunity to networking with industry peers.
Organiser Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) expressed great satisfaction at the large and increased number of executives and the companies in attendance. FPE Chairman Gérard Blatrix spoke of his delight at the success of the forum. “Our organisation has a leading global position in this dynamic and growing sector. We have important issues such as sustainability and resource efficiency which must be addressed on a global scale. So, this Forum is a huge opportunity to exchange views and ideas which will help our industry to grow and prosper.”
“interpack is an ideal venue for the meeting as it attracts the world’s top decision makers and industry leaders. The large number of top executives who attended the Forum clearly demonstrates the importance they all place on coordinating messages about the benefits and role of flexible packaging in the sustainable environment we now live in across the globe,” he added.
The Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum was hosted by Messe Dusseldorf and interpack alliance. Henkel and Siegwerk co-sponsored the event.
Several Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) member companies, representing about 80% of the total European turnover, have expressed concerns that the critical raw material situation of early 2015 for standard polymers used for flexible packaging is currently being repeated for another type of plastics: polyamide.
The scarcity of caprolactam (a pre-product for polyamide) in China led to significant exports out of Europe. A recent force majeure announcement for two caprolactam lines will very likely result into force majeure declarations for polyamide itself reducing the limited capacity further.
The increased demand for polyamide in the main applications like automotive will further increase the pressure on the availability for packaging applications in the coming months. In particular, small and medium sized manufacturers of flexible packaging are suffering from this situation. But even the multinational companies are facing difficulties.
The effect on converters means they may have difficulties in supplying finished products to meet their customers order requirements, particularly in the food and beverage sectors.
Guido Aufdemkamp, Executive Director of FPE commented on the recent developments: “The current situation of so many announcements to increase margins combined with force majeure declarations is either the test or use of market power. Alternatively, it demonstrates the strong need for maintenance and continuous investment in the European production facilities.”
Following the completion of the FIACE project, which highlighted the significant contribution flexible packaging makes to a circular economy and identified opportunities to optimize end of life solutions, it has been announced that the project will continue with a wider scope under the new name of CEFLEX (a Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging).
Flexible packaging supports efficient use of resources and waste minimization throughout the lifecycle of the packed product. Not only does flexible packaging help to prevent food waste by offering optimised fit-for-purpose solutions, but it makes a much more efficient use of packaging material than alternative packaging formats with higher recycling rates. This is one of the key findings of the FIACE project, a European initiative, whose aim was to assess the value added by flexible packaging in a circular economy and identify both the opportunities and challenges to increase this value by further closing the loop. Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has been an active partner in the project together with the TU Delft university and 17 companies covering the entire flexible packaging value chain from raw material to post-consumer recycling and all steps in between.
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The second Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum will take place at interpack on 5 May 2017. Following the success of the first Forum, which attracted more than 90 executives from 60 companies, the organiser Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) has announced the business breakfast event for flexible packaging manufacturers, would again be hosted by Messe Düsseldorf, during the world’s biggest packaging exhibition.
The Forum provides an opportunity for executives from flexible packaging companies worldwide to exchange ideas and discuss innovation, new technologies, trends and the challenges facing the industry while networking with other leading decision makers in the sector.
Co-sponsored by Henkel and Siegwerk, the Global Flexible Packaging Executive Forum is an invitation-only event. Those flexible packaging manufacturers interested in participating should contact the FPE Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Gérard Blatrix, Amcor, has been elected as Chairman of Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), the organisation which represents the interests of the sector at a European level and on the international stage. He previously served as Vice Chairman and is replaced in that role by Paddy Mullaney of Clondalkin. Both appointments were made during the FPE summer conference, held recently in Hamburg.
Speaking shortly after his election Mr Blatrix commented, “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed to such an important role in this prestigious organisation. FPE works continuously to promote the interests of the flexible packaging sector in Europe, particularly to the European Commission. It is taking a leading role in communicating the benefits of flexible packs and explaining their importance in creating a more resource efficient and sustainable environment.”
“The focus on the Circular Economy and a more holistic approach to the entire sustainability question means flexible packaging will become an increasingly important factor in reaching these goals, particularly through greater resource efficiency. FPE is highly proactive in the debate and l will work to ensure our well researched and positive approach is maintained and we are represented at the highest levels in Europe.”
Paddy Mullaney added, “l look forward to working with Gérard and the other members of the board to ensure FPE continues to play a responsible and positive role at the centre of the debate on the issues of sustainability and resource efficiency.”
New study reinforces effective portioning can reduce food waste and lower the overall environmental impact
A recent study by Quantis Canada on the environmental impact of single serve coffee portions, relative to bulk coffee preparation at home, reinforces findings from the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) on two coffee packaging systems commissioned by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE).
The externally reviewed study for PAC (Packaging Association of Canada) concludes that “Overall, the single-serve best case scenario posts a better environmental performance than the drip brew system from the perspective of the systems’ full life cycles”.
Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) member companies have expressed concerns about the current raw material supply situation, during their recent annual conference. More than 30 ‘force majeure’ declarations by the leading polymer manufacturers in Europe, coming in a short time frame, has led to significant shortages in the supply which resulted in only about 80% capacity being available, depending on the polymer.
The effect on converters means they may have difficulties in supplying finished products to meet their customers order requirements, particularly in the food and beverage sectors. FPE member companies have had to deal with increased complexity in their production schedules due the insufficient raw material supply. They have reported sudden cancellations of agreed deliveries followed by offers with the same volumes but with significant price increases.
In particular small and medium sized manufacturers of flexible packaging are suffering from this situation. But even the multinational companies are facing difficulties. Some members also reported rumours of suppliers holding on to stocks of materials.
It has never been more convenient or safe to enjoy a whole range of summer products - thanks to flexible packaging.
Summer is a time to enjoy the moment, warm lazy days, balmy nights and the chance to eat and drink ‘al fresco’. Special moments can be the simplest, for example the first refreshing burst of a chilled juice or beverage. Or a cool wipe to calm overheated skin. And what can be easier than enjoying these from a pouch, sachet or beverage carton which is so convenient and safe to use on every occasion?
Today the summer season is full of events, concerts and festivals, or just a barbeque with friends or a picnic on the beach. Thanks to flexible packaging you can fill the hamper or cool-box with lightweight and easy to open (and close) drinks and snacks which you can be sure are in perfect condition.
A new report, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has benchmarked a number of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) undertaken by Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE), in a wide ranging, in depth, report to understand best practice in using LCA as an assessment tool for packaging.
The report, produced under the Life Cycle Initiative - a joint organisation of UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) - summarizes the results of a project designed to consolidate outcomes of existing research on the environmental performance of packaging, namely LCA studies, in order to demonstrate the value of applying LCAs to evaluate environmental impacts for food and beverage packaging.
FlexiblePackaging - Fashion, Function and Protection for Food Innovations
When the world’s largest food innovation marketplace SIAL takes place inParis flexible packaging dresses many of the displayed food innovations.Different to the Haut Couture usually shown in Paris flexible packaging is notonly stylish but also functional and protective.
Flexible Packaging Reduces Energy Consumption First
Most sustainabilityenergy mantras say “Reduce first and then optimise”, with renewables wherepossible.
Becauseflexible packaging can be assembled at the filling plant from rolls ofmaterial, there is no need to transport the empty, but already formed packaging,from the packaging converter to the filling/packaging facility, hereby saving asignificant number of truck journeys on our congested European road network.
FPE has takenup full membership of the SAVE FOOD initiative instituted by the Food and AgricultureOrganisation (FAO) of the United Nations and Messe Düsseldorf which waslaunched officially in 2011 during the world’s largest packaging fair,interpack.