a pack2go europe initiative for the circular economy

On-the-go food & drink packaging = convenience + hygiene + safety

The products we make help European consumers enjoy healthy food and drinks on-the-go out of safe, practical packaging. Single-use service and convenience packaging is designed for the job. It is clean, protective and made in controlled environments to demanding EU product standards, which prioritise consumer health and safety.

Consumers expect a wide range of nutritious, healthy food options for easy consumption when it suits them best – at work, on-the-move or when they get home. Our packaging is ideally adapted for use in a wide range of food service operations, but not enough of our packaging is recycled and too much of it is littered.

Since 2012, we have worked under the umbrella organisation Pack2Go Europe with litter prevention organisations to address the second challenge. Indeed, our support was key in order to bring together the litter prevention organisations that today form the Clean Europe Network.

We are now launching “reaching 4 recycling, calling 4 collection”, an initiative to increase the collection and recycling of our products.

More collection & recycling to reach our circular economy

A circular economy is one where resources are never wasted, but instead are re-used, recycled or recovered whenever possible.

We now need to make a special effort to create a circular economy for food and beverage service and convenience packaging.

Re-use is not appropriate in the context of our products for hygiene and safety reasons, but most of our products are recyclable.

Actual recycling is low for now. The main obstacles to recycling of our products are:

  • lack of or inadequate out-of-home collection
  • systems and infrastructure are lacking
  • consumer awareness and engagement is low
  • contamination
  • lack of economic incentives
  • and perhaps most of all, lack of common vision

Food hygiene, consumer convenience and the circular economy can co-exist.

Through this initiative, we aim to develop a shared approach to building a circular economy for single-use food and beverage service and convenience packaging.

We want your help to close our recycling loop

We are looking for recyclers, food service operators that use our packaging, towns and municipalities, and anyone else interested in launching recycling pilots and help invest in the necessary infrastructure for our circular economy to be possible.

Through this initiative, we aim to take advantage of our European-wide network to test new solutions locally that could then be scaled to increase separate collection and recycling throughout Europe.

If you are interested in supporting our initiative, please contact us here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is food and beverage service and convenience packaging?

It is a form of packaging that is typically filled at the point of sale – or shortly before being placed on shelves – for food and drinks that are intended to be consumed immediately or very soon after purchase – in the park, on the bus, at the desk. Good examples are paper or plastic drink cups, food trays or hamburger boxes.

Food and beverage convenience packaging is also used for on-the-go consumption but is typically pre-filled at the food manufacturer’s facility. They are typically adapted to provide a portion for a single person. Good examples are metal cans, plastic bottles, beverage cartons or ready-meal trays.

Why is food and beverage service packaging necessary?

With more and more people consuming on-the-go, there is need for safe, hygienic and convenient packaging for food and drinks. This packaging must first and foremost ensure food hygiene and public health. This is why it is generally single use packaging. That, however, is no reason for it not to be recycled.

What is recycling?

By “recycling” we mean taking the material of a used product and processing it back into a raw material to produce a new one. Recycling materials such as paper, plastics or different kinds of metals can be cheaper or more environmentally sustainable than using virgin raw materials, especially when the amount of recycling has reached the right scale.

Why is recycling important for our sector?

In order to guarantee the highest food hygiene and safety standards, most of our products are made with virgin materials. Recycled materials are not appropriate for use in contact with food because they may contain contaminants. That being said, our products provide a potential high-quality input as a recycled material to produce other products for which hygiene and safety are not as critical.

What is collection?

When consumer products reach the end of their use, it is important that consumers have access to an appropriate system for collection so that the used product can be recycled. In Europe, today, we have established separate collection for used packaging in most countries. However, such separate collection rarely covers food and beverage service packaging. We would like to see specific infrastructure and rules put in place in order to guarantee the collection of food and beverage service packaging so that it can be recycled and the materials re-used.

What is the purpose of Pack2Go Europe’s “Reaching for Recycling, Calling for Collection” initiative?

With this initiative, we aim to promote practical solutions to increase the recycling of the products we offer. In general we see that there is a will to recycle and promote sustainability, but, in practice, consumers generally do not have access to recycling because the infrastructure and systems for collection are not widespread. That is why we are calling on all stakeholders to work together to establish effective separate collection for our products.

Are reusable and single-use forms of packaging interchangeable?

Cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, bags, trays and other kinds of food containers can be made using different materials and production techniques. Single use service packaging and their durable alternatives have entirely different purposes. There is a clear role for both. Click here to read our dedicated blog post on the subject.

What is Pack2Go Europe and who are its members?

Pack2Go Europe is a not-for-profit association of companies that manufacture packaging for the food and beverages consumed on-the-go every day by millions of Europeans. Our companies have a common vision about doing things better and a clear mission. We want Europeans who eat and drink on-the-go to know that health, safety and environmental considerations have been thought through and factored into production plans. We want them to know that the packs we manufacture are environmentally sound, safe in every way, ethically produced and that end-of-life systems and processes for collection, recovery and recycling have been properly provided for once they have been used. All we ask the consumer to do is to dispose of the used packaging responsibly.

What is Pack2Go Europe’s mission?

Our mission is to manufacture safe, hygienic and sustainable packs for the occasions when consumers eat or drink on-the-go. It is also our mission to work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that, once our products have been used, they are collected and recycled. With this in mind, it is clearly a mission to communicate with all stakeholders about the quality and benefits of our packaging and how it can be integrated into the circular economy in Europe.

Our circular economy #Blog