ACP – Advisory Committee for Packaging comprised of a cross section of the packaging industry advising DEFRA on packaging.

APPG’s – All Party Parliamentary Groups, Parliamentary interest groups, the FPA takes part in the APPG for Packaging Manufacturing.

Biodegradable – Materials capable of being decomposed by the action of microbes such as bacteria, fungi or algae into biomass, carbon dioxide and water. This differs from degradation, a process whereby very large molecules are broken into smaller molecules or fragments. Degradable versus biodegradable: heat, moisture and/or UV exposure most often causes the degradation of a degradable product, whereas microorganisms degrade a biodegradable product. Degradable products tend to take much longer to break down into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.

Biomass – A source of fuel made from living and recently-dead plant materials such as wood, leaves and the biodegradable part of industrial and municipal waste.

BIS – Department of Business, Industries and Skills.

BPA (Bisphenol A) – A carbon based, synthetic compound used to make some plastics (such as water bottles) and epoxy resins (used to line water pipes, food and drinks cans and till rolls). BPA has been banned by the French government. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA states BPA is safe in the quantities to which the public is typically exposed.

Bring bank – A place where you can bring materials for recycling, for example glass, newspapers, heavy cardboard and textiles. See also recycling centre and civic amenity site.

Carbon footprint – A measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, especially climate change, often reported as the units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide each of us produces over a given period of time.

Compliance Agency – an organisation that will enable obligated businesses to meet their obligation under the Packaging Waste Directive, registering the organisation with the National Packaging Waste Database and purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes on their behalf.

Compostable – to meet the European standard for compostability, EN13432, and carry the compostable logo the degradation must meet certain specified criteria including:

Biodegradation : chemical breakdown of materials into CO2, water and minerals. Pursuant to the standard at least 90% of the materials have to be broken down by biological action within 6 months.

Disintegration : the physical decomposition of a product into tiny pieces. After 12 weeks at least 90% of the product should be able to pass through a 2 x 2 mm mesh.

Quality of the final compost and ecotoxicity: the quality of the compost should not decline as a result of the added packaging material.

However, EN13432 reflects the conditions found in commercial composting rather than home composting.

DCLG – Department of Communities and Local Government.

DECC – Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Deposit Return Scheme (DSR) – A scheme whereby consumers pay a deposit on beverage containers which is rebated when the consumer returns the container. Can add a significant amount to the cost of beverages as an allowance needs to be made to administer the scheme. Where implemented a centralised collection scheme is established to collect returned containers, collect deposits and rebate deposits to retailers. In the UK would mean local authorities and other collectors losing revenues by having highly recyclable materials moved from their collection and processing.

DEFRA – Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

EA – Environment Agency: responsible responsible for supervising the register of obligated businesses required to register under the Packaging Waste Regulations.

ECN – European Competition Network – enforces the Community competition rules.

EFSA – European Food Standards Authority.

EFSA – The European Food Safety Authority: provide independent scientific opinions on food safety issues, collect and analyse data on any potential or emerging risks and maintain an on going dialogue with the public. Currently reviewing whether BPA is a hazard to public health.

EfW – Energy from Waste – a technology whereby residual waste is burned at high temperatures under carefully controlled conditions to become a fuel. The electricity that energy recovery facilities produce is used to power the facility itself and the remainder is fed to the National Grid accounting for 1.5% of total UK electricity. The heat can also be utilised locally presenting opportunities for additional commercial development and improving resource efficiency. By 2020 Energy from waste could account for 6% of total UK electricity.

Emissions Trading System (ETS) – a system to cap emissions of carbon dioxide by allowing firms that exceed their emissions limits to buy extra allowances from firms whose emissions are under target levels.

ENVI – Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Commission.

Environment Agency – maintain the National Packaging Waste Database of businesses obligated under the Packaging Waste Directive. They maintain a public register of registered producers. They ‘police’ the producer responsibility regime for packaging.

EPR – Extended Producer Responsibility, whereby businesses are responsible for the total cost of waste.

European Competition Policy – is intended to ensure free and fair competition in the European Union. The Community rules on competition (Articles 101 to 109 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU) are based on five main principles:

  • Prohibition of concerted practices and agreements and abuse of a dominant position liable to affect competition within the common market (antitrust rules);
  • Preventive supervision of mergers with a European dimension, to determine whether they restrict competition;
  • Supervision of aid granted by the Member States which threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods;
  • Liberalisation of sectors previously controlled by public monopolies, such as telecommunications, transport or energy;
  • Cooperation with competition authorities outside the Union.

Restrictive agreements may nonetheless be permitted if they generate more positive than negative effects (agreements improving production, product distribution, contributing to technical progress, etc.). The Community antitrust rules also forbid abuse of a dominant position within a market (Article 102 of the TFEU).

EUTR (EU Timber Regulations) – The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force on 3rd March 2013, making it illegal and a crime to place illegally harvested timber and pulp, and paper products derived from illegal timber, on the EU market. The legislation affects all those that first place timber on the EU market as well as traders further down the supply chain all of whom must adopt practices to assure that the timber or timber products they trade and supply are legal, as a minimum.
Traders are obligated to be able to identify who the timber or timber products have been bought from; and where applicable, who the timber or timber products have been sold to. This information shall be kept for at least five years and be provided for checks if requested. As a Trader, your primary responsibility is one of commercial traceability. Certification does not mean that a Due Diligence System (DDS) is not required. Rather, certification provides an efficient way to fulfil parts of the due diligence requirements of the EUTR.

Food Crime Unit  The Food Crime Unit was established at the end of 2014 following the recommendations of Professor Chris Elliott who conducted a review of food safety policy in the light of the ‘horse gate’ scandal. During its first phase the Unit is focusing on building intelligence and evidence of the risks and the nature of food fraud and food crime in the UK. The unit exchanges intelligence and priorities at local, regional and national levels with a range of enforcement partners.

Food Safety – The European Union has made food safety one of the main priorities of its policy agenda. It is a horizontal objective to be taken into account in several areas of Community competence: Common Agricultural Policy, the environment, public health, consumer protection and the internal market. Adopted in February 2002, the Regulation forming the basis of the new food safety legislation defines six fundamental general principles:

  • An affirmation of the integrated nature of the food chain;
  • Risk analysis as the cornerstone of food safety policy;
  • A clear dividing-line between the analysis and management of risks;
  • The responsibility of operators in the sector;
  • The traceability of products at every stage of the food chain;
  • The citizen’s right to clear and accurate information.

FSA – Food Standards Agency, objectives to ensure and food safety and safe eating and protect the public. We encourage the FSA to include packaging in their thinking. Safe food requires safe packaging. The FSA is headed by Catherine Brown.

FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) – An international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC runs a global forest certification system with two key components: Forest Management and Chain of Custody certification. This system allows consumers to identify, purchase and use timber and forest products produced from well-managed forests. FSC’s ‘tick tree’ logo is used on product labels to indicate whether products are certified under the FSC system.

Illegal Packaging – Packaging entering the EU that doesn’t meet EU legislation or carries the full paperwork required for any packaging sold into the EU.

Kyoto Protocol, Kyoto agreement – An international agreement signed in Japan in 1997, attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change countries promised to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions to at least 5 percent below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012.

National Measurement Office (NMO) – Government Agency tasked with policing the EU Timber Regulations.

Obligated Businesses – All businesses with a turnover greater than £2 million placing more than 50 tonnes of packaging on the market are obligated to register with the National Packaging Waste Database. They are then required to purchase the required number of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN’s) from accredited recycling companies to meet their obligation under the Packaging Waste Directive. Many businesses employ a compliance agency to register and purchase PRN’s on their behalf but can also purchase direct from reprocessors.

PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) – PEFC has recognised certification systems in 36 countries. Together these account for over 264 million hectares of certified forests, making PEFC the world’s largest forest and wood product certification system.

PERN (Packaging Export Recovery Note) – Some packaging is exported for recycling overseas and exporters of such material can become accredited to issue evidence in the form of PERN’s. These have exactly the same value and purpose as the PRN’s.

PPWD (Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive) – To harmonise national measures concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste and to prevent or reduce its impact on the environment Directive 94/62/EC was adopted by the EU.  The Directive aims at providing a high level of environmental protection and ensuring the functioning of the internal market by avoiding obstacles to trade and distortion and restriction of competition. Subsequently the Directive has been amended to increase the targets for recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

PR (Producer Responsibility) – Whereby businesses account for the packaging they place on the market.

PRN (Packaging Recovery Note) – Documented proof that packaging material has been recovered or recycled by an accredited recycling company. The Regulations state that obligated companies must recover and recycle a proportion of the packaging handled in a full year and show evidence of having done so. This evidence takes the form of a PRN certificate.

REACH (regulatory framework for chemicals) – The ‘REACH’ system establishes a single regulatory framework for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals. The aim is to ensure greater safety in the manufacture and use of chemical substances.

Reverse vending – A device that accepts used beverage containers and returns money or shopper loyalty points to the user.

Reverse Vending Machine – Used by retailers in markets with deposit schemes to process beverage containers returned from consumers. Identifies and counts items and signals to a centralised collection scheme when its ready to be emptied. Typical cost is £30,000.

Soft Drinks Roadmap – Formed by DEFRA to produce a roadmap to lower the carbon impact of soft drinks from farm to the sale and usage of the product by the consumer. The FPA is a member of this group.

Sustainable development – A process, which aims to reconcile economic development with the protection of social and environmental balance. Best defined by the Brundtland definition of development that meets the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The Lisbon Treaty states that from now on sustainable development shall be included in the European Union’s objectives (article 3 & 3 of the Treaty on the European Union).

TSO (Trading Standard Officer) – Charged with policing carrier bag charges.


Bioplastics – can be sourced from non-fossil fuels and can be based on sustainable crops, the functionality and performance of bioplastics is constantly changing.

Blown Film – Involves extrusion of a plastic through a circular die, followed by “bubble-like” expansion. Typical materials: Polyethylenes (HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE) but a wide variety of other materials can be used as blends with these resins or as single layers in a multi-layer film structure. Products produced: shrink film, stretch film, bag film, food wrap film, packaging bags, and laminating film.

BOPP – Biaxially-Oriented Polypropylene, is a film that is made of polypropylene that has been stretched in two different directions. The film is usually a multilayer film that relates to three-layer structures: One thick layer of polypropylene sandwiched between two thin layers of polypropylene. BOPP films combine properties of better shrinkage, seals well, twist retention and barrier, transparency, and stiffness. Used to make crisp bags.

Calendering  Is a speciality process for high-volume, high quality plastic film and sheet, mainly used for PVC as well as for certain other modified thermoplastics. The melted polymer is subject to heat and pressure in an extruder and formed into sheet or film by calendering rolls. The temperature and speed of the rolls influences the properties of the film.

Coating – Often built in to the production cycle, two or more materials are bonded together or coated with a special finish. The reasons for doing this include applying a printed or decorated film on to the surface of one substrate so that it is sandwiched between the layers. This can also create barriers to gas or moisture by combining the best properties of different materials to produce one effective material. Heat, pressure or adhesive layers – or a combination of these – are used in the coating and laminating processes to ensure an effective bonding of materials.

Compostable plastic There is an accepted European Standard (EN 13432) which is a general requirement relating to most industrial compost units. For other degradable plastics there is a wide range of options according to the nature of the product and the degree of degradability required.

EP, Epoxies Rigid, clear, very tough, chemical resistant, good adhesion properties, low curing, low shrinkage.

EPS Moulding Expanded Polystyrene – Made from expandable polystyrene, which is a rigid cellular plastic containing an expansion agent. EPS is only 5% plastic, the other 95% is air. The expanded version of polystyrene is about forty times the volume of the original polystyrene granule. EPS is inert in nature and therefore does not result in any chemical reaction so is very safe to use. EPS is completely recyclable as it will become polystyrene plastic when recycled. is lightweight and can be warm to the touch with good insulation properties. It is used for cups, trays, egg boxes, lids and sandwich wedges in crystal/transparent form and can be thermoformed into pots for dairy products as well cups and beakers for example for drink vending machines. Many companies are successfully collecting and recycling EPS. Symbol 6.

Film Extrusion – Accounts for around a quarter of all thermoplastics consumed and the film extruded is almost entirely for consumption in packaging – particularly food packaging. In its simplest form, the process involves pushing molten polymer through a circular or slot die. This continuous process enables the production of a consistent high quality product to extremely accurate gauge. For most thin gauge films, the film extrusion process takes the form of blown or cast extrusion.

Injection Blow Moulding – Used for the Production of hollow objects in large quantities. The main applications are bottles, jars and other containers.

Injection Moulding of thermosets – Basically this is the same process as used for thermoplastics, modified to avoid hardening of the plastic in the machine. The materials used are widely known as Dough or Bulk Moulding Compounds (DMC or BMC). In sheet form they are known as Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) Applications include tableware.

Laminating – Is a bonding process for two or more layers which can confer vital properties to plastic multi-layer films including special barriers, coatings, tear resistance and protection for other layers in the film structure. The development of laminated films has made significant improvements to film performance particularly in food packaging where food preservation can be greatly enhanced as can the shelf appeal of products.

OPP – Oriented polypropylene. These films have a variety of uses in both packaging and non-food packaging applications. These films are complex, usually multi-layered structures. Clear and glossy good printability, and resistance to water. It is often transparent, but can also come in colors and be coated. OPP is used for laminates

PA Nylons (Polyamides) – The majority of nylons tend to be semi-crystalline and are generally very tough materials with good thermal and chemical resistance. The different types give a wide range of properties with specific gravity, melting point and moisture content tending to reduce as the nylon number increases. Nylon film is used for food packaging, offering toughness and low gas permeability, and coupled with its temperature resistance, for boil-in-the-bag food packaging.

PET (Polyethylene Teraphthalate)  Is widely used because it has excellent barrier properties against oxygen and carbon dioxide and good chemical and UV resistance. It is therefore extremely popular for bottles for mineral water and other beverages. It is also used for oven trays and roasting bags due to its ability to remain stable up to 220˚C. It exists as amorphous (APET – transparent) or as crystallised (CPET – opaque and white) or as a recycled polymer (R-PET). PET is also an important layer in many multi-layer films and laminated films as a result of its excellent barrier properties. Other popular uses include blister packs, capsules and lids as a result of its shiny, transparent qualities in the amorphous (APET) form. In most households PET will be found in the form of audio and video tapes. PET is also used for fibres for textiles and industrial uses. Used PET bottles are now being recycled into textiles for clothing.

Polybutene-1 (PB-1) PB-1 – Is obtained by polymerisation of butene-1, with a stereo-specific Ziegler-Natta catalyst to create a linear, high molecular, isotactic, semi-crystalline polymer. A major application area for polybutene resins is seal-peel or easy-open packaging. Typical examples include carton liners (e.g. cereal packaging) and packs for pre-packed delicatessen products like cold meats, cheeses and smoked salmon.

Polycarbonate PC – Polycarbonates are strong, stiff, hard, tough, transparent engineering thermoplastics that can maintain rigidity up to 140oC and toughness down to -20°C or special grades even lower.

Polyesters (Thermoplastic) PETP, PBT, PET, PBT, PET and PBT Blends are engineering plastics with excellent processing characteristics and high strength and rigidity for a broad range of applications.

Polyethylene (Polythene) – Versatile polymer suited to a wide range of applications to light, flexible bags and films. Two major types of PE are in use in the films and flexible packaging sector – LDPE (Low Density) used generally for trays and heavier duty film such as long-life bags and sacks, poly tunnels, protective sheeting, food bags etc. and HDPE (High Density) which is used for most thin gauge carrier bags, fresh produce bags and some bottles and caps. Offer excellent vapour or moisture barrier qualities and are chemically inert. By altering the formulation and gauge of polyethylene, the producer/converter can adjust impact and tear resistance; transparency and tactility; flexibility, formability and coating/laminating/printing capability. PE can be recycled and many bin bags, agricultural films and long-life products such as park benches, bollards and waste bins use recycled polyethylene. Due to its high calorific value, PE offers excellent energy recovery through clean incineration.

Polyethylene (High Density) HDPE Flexible, translucent / waxy, weather-proof, good low temperature toughness (to -60’C), easy to process by most methods, low cost, good chemical resistance. Used for carrier bags and food wrapping material.

Polyethylene (Low Density) LDPE – LLDPE Semi-rigid, translucent, very tough, weather proof, good chemical resistance, low water absorption, easily processed by most methods, low cost Used for carrier bags, heavy duty sacks.

Polymethylpentene PMP – Rigid, tough, lightweight (density 0.83 gm/cm), chemical resistant, additives are required for outdoor use, highly permeable to gases, transparent crystalline material used for microwave food packaging.

Polypropylene PP – Rigid, opaque, good dimensional stability at high temperature and humidity conditions, difficult to process (blended to ease injection moulding), tough.

Polypropylene  Is an excellent packaging polymer. It is used for transparent films and sheet as well as for trays, pots and tubs and clip or screw tops. It remains chemically inert and is a good barrier to moisture. It also provides a very high gloss finish and is resistant to folding and stress cracking. Well-suited as a packaging material for products designed for use from freezer to microwave as it remains stable in the temperature range -40°C to 120°C.

Polystyrene (High Impact) HIPS Hard, rigid, translucent, impact strength up to 7 x GPPS, other properties similar used for vending cups and yoghurt pots.

PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride Basic building blocks are chlorine, carbon and hydrogen – the chlorine being derived from salt, a resource in great abundance. Compatibility with many different kinds of additives so can be clear or coloured, rigid or flexible. In packaging applications also its excellent ‘stretchability’ in flexible form means it is most commonly seen as cling film for food wrappings in the home as well as in thermoformed trays where it offers outstanding product visibility.

Symbols: 1 PET, 2 HDPE, 3 PVC, 4 LDPE, 5 Polypropylene PP, 6 Polystyrene, 7 Other (all other resins and multi materials)

Thermoforming – Is one of the oldest and most common methods of processing plastic materials and has close similarities with Vacuum Forming except that greater use is made of air pressure and plug assisted forming of the softened sheet. The process is invariably automated and faster cycle times are achieved than in the Vacuum Forming process. Only thermoplastics sheet can be processed by this method.

Vacuum Forming – The process involves heating a plastic sheet until soft and then draping it over a mould. A vacuum is applied sucking the sheet into the mould. The sheet is then ejected from the mould. In its advanced form, the vacuum forming process utilises sophisticated pneumatic, hydraulic and heat controls thus enabling higher production speeds and more detailed vacuum formed applications.



A-Flute is the highest flute size and when combined with an inner and outer facing, it is the thickest. Sometimes known as coarse flute.

The second flute size and has lower arch heights that A, and more flutes per metre. B-flute is used for high speed, automatic packing lines and for pads, dividers, partitions and other forms of inner packing.

A substance that will decompose as the result of action by bacteria and other living organisms.

Papers of 220 gsm and over are generally called boards. They are most often of more than one ply.

C-Flute is thinner than A-Flute and thicker than B-Flute. It offers good cushioning, staking and printing properties. C-Flute is the most widely used.

A machine intended to smooth or otherwise finish the paper and consisting essentially of a certain number of superimposed rolls of which only one is power driven.

The thickness of a sheet of paper measured under standard test conditions.

A material of defined thickness and weight made from one or more layers of fibrous cellulose material to form a rigid or semi-rigid construction.

Paper to which a coating has been applied on one or both sides, using a mix of clay or carbonates and latex to create a high quality printing surface.

Consists of one or more sheets of fluted paper stuck between fiat sheets of paper or board.

The machine that actually makes the corrugated board from fluting and liner papers.

Paper used to form the fluted part of the corrugated board.

Die Cut Container.

Board comprising liner, fluting, liner, fluting, liner.

Has a very high number of flutes per metre, which gives flat surface for high quality printing. It is one fourth the thickness of C-Flute. Sometimes known as extra fine flute.

Fluting of height 0.75mm. Also known as N flute or micro flute.

Form of linerboard used as the flat constituents of a corrugated fibreboard sheet.

A container made of either corrugated or solid fibreboard.

One of the wave or arch shapes. These letters define the type of corrugated material in terms of the number of corrugations per unit length and height. Paper that has been formed into the flutes that make up the ridged part of the corrugated board between the liners.

Paper free of mechanical pulp, highly resistant to grease. Mainly used for the wrapping of greasy products.

First reel of paper produced after the papermaking process, before it is either slit into smaller reels or transferred for further processing.

Solid pulp board produced by the sulphate process with or without bleaching.

Made from different pulps, having the appearance of pure kraft and used for wrapping and packaging purposes.

Papers with a ribbed appearance produced by a mould or dandy roll, which has wires parallel to each other, and not woven.

The combination of two or more materials using a bonding agent.

A method of printing from type in relief, which is inked and applied to the paper.

Unlined chipboard that is modified by use of a thin layer of different pulp to provide a liner.

A non-cellulose material found in vegetable plants that may be considered as a binding agent or cement between the fibres of the plant.

Fine white pigment in the form of powder or slurry used to improve smoothness, opacity, brightness and dimensional stability of paper and board.

Paper or board, which is pigment coated at the end of the paper or board-making machine.

Any type of paper made from pulp that was not treated in any bleaching process.

Paper made from pure bleached chemical pulp, which goes through a treatment of sulphuric acid giving it a lasting resistance to grease penetration. This paper is used for wrapping of moist or greasy foodstuffs.

Pulp manufactured and used for the first time. ET STRENGTH
Papers to which this term applies retain an appreciable percentage of their mechanical strength after soaking in water, and are made by the addition of a resin to the stock during paper manufacture. This resin cements the fibres together and the bond tends to improve with age. The advantages of printing maps on, or making certain wrappings from, wet strength paper are obvious.

A multi ply construction made predominantly from selected waste paper.

Papers and boards containing no fibres other than those derived from chemical wood pulping processes i.e. contains no lignin.

Wood reduced to a pulp for subsequent papermaking processes; can be either mechanical, chemical or combination; TMP and CTMP.