The FPA welcomes this well-balanced report from the Green Alliance into the impact of alternatives to plastic packaging used by the grocery sector.  The FPA has campaigned for a number of years for all claims being made for packaging to be backed up by certification and third-party evidence to prove they do what they are claimed to do. Not using the term ‘biodegradable’ in connection with packaging being an important example, with much packaging claiming to be biodegradable without details of how, where and how long to biodegrade.

As the report states, it’s no wonder the public is confused.

That said, the FPA believes that there is a role for compostable packaging, provided facilities are available, are clearly recognised and retailers and brands provide information on how to dispose of them.  Closed environments are clearly appropriate for compostables, such as stadia, music and events venues, universities, hospitals, institutions or any catered location where the packaging does not leave the premises.  Simply using compostable packaging and believing you have done your bit as a retailer or caterer is not acceptable and too many compostables are given to customers without telling them what to do with them once used.

The Defra report on the consultation into waste management consistency missed a huge opportunity to recognise the need to establish infrastructure for compostables, despite the FPA highlighting the potential created by this consultation and also the one into extended producer responsibility in our responses.  Producers of compostable packaging pay into the current Producer Responsibility system (Packaging Recovery Note system) and within a few years will be paying along with other packaging producers for 100% of packaging waste management costs under EPR yet receive virtually nothing in facilities for their contribution.  This must be addressed, and the government must step up and produce a plan for a UK-wide consistent compostable waste management infrastructure, as they must do for all the packaging used on the go.

The report highlights the complexities of reusable packaging, a subject that will be addressed by an expert panel including Waitrose and the Food Standards Agency at the FPA Environment seminar on 22 January in London to which we have now invited Green Alliance. Knee jerk reactions have, as the Green Alliance report suggests, not been wholly successful so this is a much needed debate which reflects the need for continued collaboration and dialogue to ensure solutions do not result in more harm than good with regard to the environment.

The FPA Annual Environment Seminar is at Stationers’ Hall, St. Paul’s, London on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

Ends                                                                                                                                      9 January 2020

Issued on behalf of the Foodservice Packaging Association by Leapfrog PR. Editorial contact is felicity@leapfrogpr.com or call 01242 282000.