Sustainable PackagingMission Statement
The IAPRI Sustainable Packaging Working strives to:
- Create a forum and network for exchanging views around packaging and sustainability
- Share ongoing activities
- Foster an understanding of packaging contribution to sustainability
- Highlight the increasing role of sustainability in supply chain
- Develop science-based opinions on pressing issues relating to packaging sustainability
Dr. Carlos Diaz, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY, USA
Actions and Progress
- Continue Working Group meetings at the IAPRI events and post meeting notes
- Lead active discussion on contemporary issues around sustainable packaging
- Seek continuous feedback from members to help improve the working of this group
- Encourage active participation in the LinkedIn Discussion Group (restricted to IAPRI members); as of May 15 2015, there were 80 members
To understand sustainable packaging, we defer to the widely accepted definition from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (from http://www.sustainablepackaging.org/content/?type=5&id=definition-of-sustainable-packaging
- Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle
- Meets market criteria for both performance and cost
- Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy
- Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials
- Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices
- Is made from materials healthy in all probable end of life scenarios
- Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy
- Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles
- Together, these criteria characterize SPC’s vision of sustainable packaging and no ranking is implied in the order of definition criteria.
The IAPRI Work Group, “Sustainable Packaging” was founded by Kees Sonneveld. At the Greenville IAPRI meeting, Kennert Johansson took of leadership of this Group. After the Melbourne meeting (June 2014), leadership was assumed by Tamal Ghosh and Carlos Diaz.
The working group has an important mission to put together the environmental, social and economic elements and to form a vision of packaging and sustainability for the next decade. Building on the basic performance elements of packaging which have been at hand for tens of years but put it in a modern perspective.
At the Valencia Symposium, a discussion was hosted around the topic, “Under What Conditions is Biodegradability a Favorable End-of-Life Option for Packaging Materials?
The notes from the June 2015 meeting are given here:
27th IAPRI SYMPOSIUM ON PACKAGING June 2015 in Valencia , Spain
WORKING GROUP: Sustainable Packaging
- Welcome and Introductions – moderated by Tamal Ghosh
- “The Center for Sustainable Packaging” at RIT – by Carlos Diaz
- “Sustainable Packaging through Sector-level Sustainability Plans” Presentation by Renee Wever / Bjorn Dekoeijer of Delft University of Technology
- “Under What Conditions is Biodegradability a Favorable End-of-Life Option for Packaging Materials?” - Open Discussion moderated by Tamal Ghosh
- Open and Future Plans
2. “The Center for Sustainable Packaging” at RIT – by Carlos Diaz
Carlos Diaz showcased the new Center for Sustainable Packaging at RIT (established on 2012) and the opportunities that arise from having a flexible packaging converter (American Packaging Corporation) and a retailer (Wegmas) as part of the center. Projects presented dealt with implementing solutions across the whole supply chain.
3. “Sustainable Packaging through Sector-level Sustainability Plans” Presentation by Renee Wever / Bjorn Dekoeijer of Delft University of Technology
Rene Wever presented a Netherlands sustainability initiative incorporating European legislation. The project aims to deliver scientific input to KIDV (Knowledge Institute Sustainable Packaging) regarding the environmental burden caused by product-packaging chains, identify the most relevant mechanisms that contribute to this environmental burden and address the knowledge gaps scientifically.
4. “Under What Conditions is Biodegradability a Favorable End-of-Life Option for Packaging Materials?”
- Open Discussion moderated by Tamal Ghosh
Notes, questions, and comments:
The discussion revolved around the question “Under What Conditions is Biodegradability a Favorable End-of-Life Option for Packaging Materials?”.
Litter prevention: is biodegradability a solution to problem?
Cost benefit assessment is the key when evaluating biodegradable plastics.
Positive benefits: What are they substituting? Is it cost benefit positive? Does it Influence other waste systems? (Contamination of recyclable waste streams) Does it bring any benefit? Do it do any harm?
Toxicity: Harm depends on the time frame. Effect on existing systems should be taken into account. Is the system sustainable in the long run?
What happened if there is a disruptive technology/material?
Biodegradability: Biodegradability destroys the value put into the package. Biodegradability is not an option for rigid containers. Biodegradability does not bring an environmental benefit. Biodegradability is not a solution to littering. Biodegradable does not mean compostable. It is not a solution for littering. (comment: Biodegradability is not a solution for packaging)
Compostability: Infrastructure for composting should be in place and ensure readiness to take on specific compostable packaging. It may create new problems. It is not only one element, several components to go together. It is a matter of management and infrastructure. Compostability could take place in 90 days. Scenarios for compostability and biodegradability may be different.
Littering: Litter problem has a local and global dimension. Biodegradability may be a solution for marine litter. Biodegradability is not a solution for local littering. Recent article suggest that the majority of marine litter come from Asia based on plastic with Asian labels. PHAs is the only plastic that is biodegradable in the marine environment. Garbage and litter is a lack of education (comment: I don't think we are ready). Littering is a local issue with global consequences, the solution should be local.
Is the littering issue a material source, waste management, cultural, or regulatory problem? Is regulation a solution? E.g., Banning of plastic bags in New Delhi. Are refill and pack-on-site potential solutions?
Biodegradability may not be an option on established recycled systems (e.g., Norway: separation case 7 materials). Catastrophic areas conditions (i.g., Siria) may be an opportunity for biodegradability. Marines in war zones incinerating waste preventing littering and reducing fuel consumption.
The discussion will continue in the LinkedIn group
“IAPRI Sustainable Packaging Working Group”