More than 100 companies in the Food-Packaging sectors discuss the circular economy and the legislative framework of food packaging

Submitted by Serena Rebollo… on 21 May 2021

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  • The Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster organized a virtual conference on the occasion of World Recycling Day on May 17, with more than 100 attendees
  • During the session, the different current strategies for the incorporation of the circular economy and the regulations that exist for this purpose were presented.
  • The organizations demand legal norms that adjust to reality, as well as a harmonization of the measures taken at the state and European level.

With more than 100 professionals connected, last Monday, May 17, we followed live the debate generated by the Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster regarding the circular economy and the regulatory framework that governs food packaging, with a box of doctors and experts versed in sustainability and responsible business management.

Concerns such as the environmental impact, the recyclability of packaging, the life cycle of products, food safety or greenwashing came to light during the more than two hours of virtual session, on World Recycling Day.

Carles MartínezGeneral Director of Inèdit Projects and Doctor in Environmental Sciences, was in charge of making the first presentation, dedicated to reeling off the most relevant points of the new European Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUPD), which will come into force this July. According to Martínez Gasol, with the new legislation "we will see changes in materials, new solutions that affect product design, there will be a boost to r-PET, servitization, reuse, improvement of selective collection ...".

Rosa GarcíaGeneral Director of Rezero and Doctor in Sustainability, spoke about the future of legislation on food packaging in a Zero Waste Europe, focusing on the new Law on waste and its contaminants in the Balearic Islands, which stands out for prohibiting the use of single-dose and single-use items in hotels and restaurants and the requirement that single-dose coffee, infusion or broth capsules be compostable.

For her part, Montse Castillofounding partner of RepaQ Packaging Consulting and PhD in Environmental Chemistry, detailed the measures of the new European Circular Economy Action Plan, placing special emphasis on aspects related to plastic and packaging. In this way, the Plan includes the need for reduction at source and to require that all packaging be recyclable or reusable.

The last presentation was by Victoria FerrerDirector of the Gremi de Recuperació de Catalunya and Expert in Waste Management, who warned about the demonization of plastic and the danger of its being replaced by other materials that do not guarantee circularity either: “for example , when we replace it with paper or cardboard, if the plastic sheet cannot be separated it also degrades with the fiber and we see that recycled paper comes out with traces of polymer and it is even worse”.

In addition to the presentations, two round tables were held, which included Marta ConillKey Account Manager of Duni GroupAmaya PratDirector of R+D+I and Sustainability of the Ametller Origen Group; and Teresa SanchoDirector of Quality and Environment of Saica Group. In them, the trends under the new legislation were discussed and the success stories developed in their respective companies were shared, fostering a conversation with the attendees about packaging solutions that take into account eco-design, product protection and economic viability with a holistic vision of the current recycling system.

Thanks to the interaction between cluster agents such as the Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster, it is possible to detect and solve specific needs and demands of the industry in the current and future context, to work together on innovation and market strategy.

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