NEWS & INSIGHT FROM THE FPA
SANDWICH DISCUSSION ENCOURAGES STAKEHOLDERS TO WORK TOGETHER
Last Thurday’s sandwich pack discussion attracted our largest audience so far to listen to speakers Simon Ellin, from The Recycling Association and Kevin Vyse from RAP, talk about the challenges and opportunities for sandwich pack innovation and recycling. Our sincere thanks to both speakers for taking the time to talk to FPA members.
Simon reiterated the Association’s pragmatic stance to materials – highlighting the Lays Stax tube made from HDPE as a far better solution than the multi-material Pringles tube. He said that everyone in the supply chain has got to work hard to improve packaging design, innovation and recyclability and producers must take responsibility, but by working together we can make fantastic things happen.
Kevin described the recent BBC ‘War on Plastics’ programme as a poorly researched showboat with glaring omissions, most notably that work on much of what was called for had already started. Kevin said that dialogue needs improving between producers and the waste industries and such dialogue needs to happen at the briefing stage to ensure materials can be efficiently returned to the system.
The session stimulated a number of questions from participants which was good to see, including when kerbside collection of film and flexibles might commence. Simon said this is under discussion and it looks like this will start in 2023, while Kevin reminded participants that the Epic project, collecting film in a number of retail supermarkets, starts in two weeks time.
If you missed the session, you can watch it here.
SCOTTISH SINGLE USE PLASTICS CONSULTATION
The Scottish government has launched a public consultation ‘Introducing Market Restrictions on Problematic Single Use Plastic Items in Scotland’, read here. For ‘market restriction’ read ‘bans’ of:
- Single use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks)
- Single use plastic plates (plates, trays/platters, bowls)
- Single use plastic straws (already banned in England with some exemptions)
- Single use plastic beverage stirrers
- Single use food containers made of expanded polystyrene
- Single use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene, including their covers and lids
- All oxo-degradable products
This is in line with Article 5 of the EU Single Use Plastics Directive (EU) 2019/904. The consultation runs until 4 January 2021 and we will publish our response ahead of this date for you to adapt in order to submit your response.
The current Welsh government consultation includes the above, and also names laminated paper plates, requires responses by 22 October. The FPA’s response will be emailed on Monday 19 October. You may feel the bans are inevitable and that the responses from business will make no difference. However, we strongly believe there are still opportunities for exemptions and negotiation. An example of this being the six months provided by Defra to use up stocks of plastic straws following the ban in England. Please don’t be deterred, it really is worth submitting a response.
More here from Resource magazine.
PETITION TO CREATE MINISTER FOR HOSPITALITY
As reported in The Caterer (here) a petition to Parliament has been launched by members of the hospitality sector, including leading chefs, calling for a dedicated hospitality Minister. The petition states: “Responsible for around three million jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation. Yet, unlike the arts or sports, we in the hospitality industry do not have a dedicated minister.” The pandemic has shown the importance of hospitality and its supply chain to the UK economy and to the morale of the nation. At the time of writing 21,000 signatures had been received. The petition can be signed here.
QUESTION TO THE MINISTER ON OXO-DEGRADABLES
FPA Chairman, Mark Pawsey MP, submitted a question to Defra Minister, Rebecca Pow, on when the UK Government will be banning oxo-degradables as is proposed in the EU, Scotland and Wales. To quote from European Bioplastics supported by FPA member Novamont: “oxo-degradable plastics fragment over time into smaller plastic particles, and finally microplastics. Furthermore, there is no evidence that these plastic fragments will undergo full biodegradation within a reasonable timeframe and negatively affect the quality of recyclate and recycled plastic products”. Mark mentioned the harmful effects to animals of the fragmented plastics. The Minister referred to the consultation on biodegradable standards, to which the FPA responded many months ago, and she informed Mark it will be published ‘soon’. Admittedly this was a complex consultation but it is very much time the report was published. It is hoped this will result in a ban of oxo-degradables.
ARE PACKAGING STANDARDS UNDER THREAT, LIKE FOOD?
Earlier this week MPs voted to reject the House of Lords’ amendment to the Agriculture Bill requiring food products imported to the UK as part of future trade bills be required to at least meet current UK standards.
While we have been advised the Food Standards Agency expect all food material contact regulations to remain intact following EU exit, we are very concerned our excellent packaging standards could be cast aside to facilitate trade deals. While Defra advises environmental regulations remain in place post EU exit, we believe a statement is needed to confirm that under no circumstances will packaging standards be diluted.
SUPPORT IF YOUR BUSINESS TRADES WITH THE EU
The government has published a paper ‘Help and support if your business trades with the EU: Learn more about trading with the EU from 1 January 2021’.
The paper is here.
BPF ‘REUSABLE PACKAGING & THE FUTURE FOR PLASTICS’ SEMINAR
The British Plastics Federation is hosting a webinar looking at ‘Reusable Packaging and the Future for Plastics’ on 3rd November.
It takes place 13.30 to 15.30 and includes presentations on ‘Examples of Pioneering Packaging and Opportunities for the Plastics Industry in the Loop System’, ‘Models for Reuse for the FMCG Industry and Their Impact on the Plastics Industry’ and ‘Coca-Cola’s Current Thinking on Reuse’.
The BPA is offering FPA members a discounted rate of £69 + VAT to book onto this event. All you need to do is enter the code ‘FPA’ when making your booking.
You can find full details about the event on the BPF website here.
Circular Online (and others) report that Linda Crichton has been awarded an MBE for services to the waste and recycling sector. Many of you will know Linda from her time at WRAP. Linda is now a key part of Defra’s waste and resources team and plays a big part in ensuring Defra engages constructively with business in developing the proposed packaging waste reforms. A hugely deserved award. Read here.
BBC Newsbeat asks ‘Is a Pasty Enough to Keep a Pub Open’? Read here.
Newswire reports that mechanically recycled polystyrene is suitable for food contact. Read here.
Business Green reports that according to research commissioned by the Carbon Trust, 70% of companies expect environmental management and sustainability initiatives to become more important as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Read here.
Greenpeace reports that more than 300 tonnes a day of plastic scrap has been sent to non-OECD countries so far in 2020. Read here.
New Scientist reports that chemists have used microwaves to convert plastic bags, milk bottles and other supermarket packaging into a clean source of hydrogen. Read here.
Let’s Recycle reports that WRAP’s special adviser for collections and recycling has said that ‘big improvements’ are needed in how local authorities record waste collection data. Read here.