In reality, almost all packaging is “single use” today. That said, there is scope to be smarter about re-use of packaging and more sensible about single use in certain circumstances. When deciding on a packaging system, it is essential to consider the full picture in each situation – such as technical performance requirements; usage; consumer needs and behaviour; and, overall environmental impact. We must aim to collect all packaging after use and keep it in the circular economy – either by reuse or, in most cases, by recycling.
The recently revised EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive will boost efforts to optimise reuse and recycling of packaging. It clarifies that “systems to reuse packaging” must operate in “an environmentally sound manner” and “without compromising food hygiene or the safety of consumers”. This approach is spot on. It answers those who promote simplistic approaches to re-use which do not take a life cycle approach to identifying the most appropriate packaging for a given context or the need to guarantee food hygiene, public health and consumer safety.
Food & beverage service packaging is designed primarily to guarantee food hygiene, protect public health and ensure consumer safety. There will always be a range of contexts where it will be simply indispensable. We must ensure these packs are collected and recycled across the EU because they are all fully recyclable. Pack2Go Europe is building a circular economy model in tune with the way the majority of people actually live. It is based on securing more and better collection and recycling of packaging used out-of-home.