PwC report investigates sustainability in packaging

The UK packaging industry is calling for the phrase ‘sustainable packaging’ to be scrapped and is urging instead for government to get to grips with the real issues affecting the industry, according to a recently released report.

By ·

The UK packaging industry is calling for the phrase ‘sustainable packaging’ to be scrapped and is urging instead for government to get to grips with the real issues affecting the industry, according to a recently released report. A national shortage of packaging technicians, fears over scarcity of raw material supplies and a lack of political will to tackle the core issues were all voiced in the PwC report “Sustainable Packaging: Myth or Reality.” 

Leading retailers, manufacturers and consumer groups including the Packaging Federation, INCPEN, Diageo, Boots, P&G, Nestle and Rexam also unanimously agreed that the much used sustainable packaging phrase should be phased out and the focus should be on ensuring packaging delivers maximum sustainability throughout the entire supply chain and is recoverable after use.

PwC’s global sustainability leader, Malcolm Preston, said: “The conclusions in the report show how fast-paced the industry is in developing new technologies and the use of exciting materials but we need to stop using the phrase sustainable packaging. The industry is working towards efficient products, efficient packaging, efficient transport and efficient end of life solutions.

“Plant derived plastics from non petro-chemical sources will be part of the mix, along with intelligent packaging and the drive will be to make the entire supply chain more efficient. It is time now for Government and industry to engage in a cycle of collaboration to tackle the issues raised in our report.”

Jane Bickerstaffe, Chief Executive of INCPEN, an international packaging research organisation said a shortage of skilled packaging technicians in the UK is becoming a problem. She commented: “The industry is streets ahead of the Government in the work it is doing but politicians are only interested in packaging once its lifecycle has ended. Government needs to understand it isn’t all about recycling. Packaging only makes up around 5% of landfill waste and 2% of greenhouse gas emissions and issues such as food waste should be much bigger concerns.”

Her views were echoed by Dick Searle, who heads up the Packaging Federation. He said: “We welcome this report and it is quite a brave step for the industry to admit that sustainable packaging doesn’t actually exist.  It is no more than a red herring. The next step is for us to work to ensure we have a resource efficient economy and tackle the rise in consumption and appalling levels of food waste.”


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Packaging · PwC · Sustainability · · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Peek Inside Trinchero’s New Automated Warehouse
When Trinchero Family Estates, one of the world's top wineries, consolidated its bottling and distribution with production, they knew they needed to ramp up speed and throughput. Partnering with Swisslog helped them achieve that goal—and more.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Modern Materials Handling Online Issue
If the early attendee forecast is any indication, you may have already landed in Chicago for ProMat 2017 (April 3-6), the materials handling industry’s leading trade show and educational conference, sponsored by MHI.
Lawson Products: Automation that fits
Lawson’s multi-purpose distribution center
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Productivity Achievement Awards
Modern’s annual Productivity Achievement Awards honor companies that have made exceptional...
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...

Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...
System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...