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Wrap: Packaging plays important part in resource efficiency loop

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Wrap: Packaging plays important part in resource efficiency loop

Wrap: Packaging plays important part in resource efficiency loop
November 06
12:09 2012

Packaging is playing an important role in the resource efficiency loop, according to Wrap chief executive Liz Goodwin.

 

Speaking to Packaging News after Wrap’s annual conference, in London (6 November), on the circular economy, Goodwin said packaging is playing an important part in the process.

Closed loop

Goodwin said: “For example, packaging pays an important role in helping to make sure that food gets to the householder in a state that means there is no food waste.

“The packaging industry has an important role to play in making sure that food and other products are working around the loop and ensuring they do not get lost somewhere along the way.

“It is playing a protection role as well has having its own loop.”

When asked what a typical pack would look like in ten years time, Goodwin said: “It would be optimised. It will be doing the right job. I think all packaging will be recyclable and be reused and recycled – going around the loop lots and lots of times.”

Economic growth

Speaking at the Wrap conference, Goodwin told leaders from business, local authorities and policy makers that resource efficiency and security were critical to the UK’s future economic competitiveness and resilience.

Opening a debate on the economic benefits of what is becoming known as the ‘circular economy’ she said : “Realising the full value of materials through resource management could drive sustainable growth, with a recent McKinsey report showing 30% of global demand for resources in 2030 could be met through improved management.  Resulting global economic benefits could be as high as $3.7 trillion a year.

“In a recent survey 80% of CEOs of manufacturing companies said raw material shortage was a risk to their business. A 147% surge in real commodity prices since 2000, and the uncertainty being caused by historically high levels of price volatility are hampering investment and economic growth,” she added.

Goodwin also said that decarbonising the economy and growing the economy can work hand in hand. She told PN: “This is about getting loops working that uses less stuff and uses less carbon. It does not mean you stopping activity or growth, producing things or stopping producing services. It does mean you are making better use of the stuff that you have put into the loop in the first place.”

‘Overpackaged food halls’

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer head of sustainable business Mike Barry told the audience that all businesses have to change and focus on the ‘circular economy’ rather than the linear one. He outlined three main challenges including a growing middle class in developing countries, competition from social media and groups which are dissatisfied with big business.

Speaking about M&S environmental plan Plan A, Barry added: “Our food halls were overpackaged five to six years ago. Over the last five years we have taken out 26% of that packaging and just used less stuff and grown our food business at the same time.

“We have simplified. We have made sure that we are not using complicated laminates and we are using materials that can be easily recycled.  We have started to create a closed loop around our packaging. We have reduced carrier bag usage in our food halls by 78% by charging 5p for them.”

Newcomer

The conference also featured a keynote speech from Defra Resource Management Minister Lord de Mauley. He said: “I am delighted to be at the Wrap Annual Conference which is focusing on supporting growth, the economy and regeneration.

“Growth is this government’s number one priority and the waste and recycling industry can play a major role in achieving that. By all working together, businesses, local authorities, civil society organisations, Government, and Wrap can help grow the economy and improve the environment at the same time.”

He also said that he visited Wrap’s offices in Banbury last month to learn first-hand about the organisation and “its valuable work”. He said that he now knew about the problems that “black plastic trays” caused for recyclates and he wanted to continue the good work of his predecessor Lord Taylor but he was aware that he had “much more to learn”.

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