Mark Pawsey MP (Rugby, Con), Chairman of the All Party Committee on Packaging has called for the foodservice and foodservice packaging sectors to collaborate to devise a Code of Practice to improve packaging recycling and recovery rates to avoid possible future regulation.

His remarks were made at the annual Foodservice Packaging Association Environment Seminar (15 January Nottingham University) – an event attended by more than 170 representatives of the foodservice packaging supply chain from manufacturers to distributors, operators, local authorities and waste recovery and re-processors.

Summing up, FPA Executive Director Martin Kersh said there was a common will for the sector to take collaborative action to deliver “joined up thinking”.  This will include:

  • devising a simple clear way of communicating consistently with consumers about what do with used packaging away from home
  • working with Local Authorities and operators to ensure facilities exist for recovery away from home
  • consistency of messaging for businesses across the supply chain
  • clear, consistent on-pack messaging/labelling about recycling
  • wider education about the value of used packaging as a viable resource.

Packaging Neutral

All this needs to be done in the context of avoiding promoting one packaging material over another in the market because ‘whole life’ analysis is difficult and inconsistent.  Eliminating the word ‘waste’ and replacing it with ‘resource’ would highlight the value to both business and consumer of the market for used foodservice packaging.

It was agreed that there is a need for education and simple guidelines to encourage resource recovery away from home – consumers are well used to recycling at home but once out of home tend to consider it ‘someone else’s’ responsibility.  Major operators present at the seminar included Pret a Manger, Costa, Caffe Nero, McDonalds, KFC, Baxter-Storey and Sodexo.  All agreed that joined up thinking is needed but the challenge is for the FPA to facilitate what happens next.  The FPA’s Martin Kersh said that the next action will be a workshop or round table discussion to produce a draft Code of Practice or Policy for further discussion with the objective of getting key parties to adopt it.  In the context of the morning session on EU regulation and the status of the EU Waste Framework Directive, this needs to be done in the first half of 2015 in order to influence the potential revision of this Directive.

Operators and waste recovery and re-processors confirmed that the market for foodservice packaging is expanding as consumer habits change to eating out more frequently but less formally, driving growth in snacking and eating on the go.  This is creating a growth opportunity in post-consumer foodservice packaging with a real value and the technology now exists viably to reprocess most types of packaging, provided there is a consistent infrastructure for collection and recovery which goes beyond the responsibility of Local Authorities.

Speaker Comments

Richard Swannell, Director, WRAP, said that the Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement provided a framework that was making good progress against its targets but that more needed to be done across the supply chain and this needed collaborative action.  This was re-iterated by John Isherwood, Head of Sustainability at Pret A Manger who highlighted the steps the Pret is taking but underlined that its effectiveness will be limited in a wider context unless operators are willing to act together.  Oliver Rosevear, Energy and Environment Manager at Costa agreed and added that consumers need very clear, simple labelling on packaging that was common across all operating brands.

Peter Goodwin from the Simply Cups Recycling Scheme, which is a collaborative scheme between Closed Loop Recycling and Simply Waste Solutions, highlighted this new paper cup collection scheme is as an example of what can be achieved commercially where businesses work together.  He said that increasing the volume of high quality recyclate and reducing contamination of the waste stream by educating consumers will raise the value of the recovered resource.

Head of Sustainability at BaxterStorey, Mike Hanson, challenged the industry to engage more with operators by talking to them about their needs, especially as they operate in client premises.  He said manufacturers needed to talk more to contract caterers and engage with them over product design in order to raise recovery rates.

The value of this 360o approach was underlined by Andrew Bird, Chairman of the Local Authorities Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) who said that the economic benefits of doing more across the industry would attract more Local Authorities to get involved.  He urged different segments of the supply chain to” stop blaming each other” and work together to achieve real progress.

Keynote speaker Herman Van der Meij, Managing Director of Viridor, also highlighted partnerships and trust amongst the supply chain as the key to the way forward, particularly in joint investment in new, economically viable facilities such as the new plastics recovery facility in Rochester, Kent.

EU Regulation Update

In the morning session on EU Regulation updates, Jane Bickerstaffe, Director INCPEN, Norman Lett, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Ball Packaging and Sarah Steeds Team Leader at the DEFRA Waste Programme all underlined the need to influence the outcome of the review of the 2014 EU Waste Framework Directive and urged FPA members to get involved.

A full report of the 2015 FPA Environment Seminar will be available shortly.

For more information contact Executive Director Martin Kersh on 07711 142789 or email


19 January 2015

Issued on behalf of the FPA by Leapfrog PR. Editorial contact is Felicity Read on 01242 282 or email Felicity @leapfrog