Europe’s Convenience Food Packaging Association

Pack2Go Europe Targets Circular Economy Plan for Service Packaging

Leading manufacturers of food & beverage service & convenience packaging to launch pilot programmes, convene key stakeholders for talks next year

Brussels, 7 December 2016, in the light of a decisive general meeting of members in Brussels, European industry body Pack2Go Europe is launching a circular economy initiative for food and beverage service and convenience packaging. The latter is indispensable today, helping guarantee food hygiene, consumer safety and, by extension, public health. It has become an integral part of contemporary lifestyles and is here to stay. However, while most of this packaging is recyclable, not enough is recycled in practice, owing to inadequate collection after use. Pack2Go Europe, the food & beverage service & convenience packaging association, aims to change that.

“More and better out-of-home collection is the key to recycling our products once the consumer has finished her drink, snack or meal – whether that is in a restaurant setting or on-the-go – but we can’t make that happen alone,” says Mike Turner of International Paper Foodservice Europe, current president of the European industry association. “So Pack2Go Europe is announcing today its commitment to bring together key stakeholders in Europe next year. We’ll be calling on them to join us in a sustained initiative to tackle this challenge head on and take these packs into the circular model.”

There are two main areas to address in the out-of-home segment: firstly, in restaurants, canteens and premises where vending machines operate; and, secondly, in public spaces in towns and countryside. Pack2Go Europe is convinced that the time is now right to review with key partners how food and beverage service and convenience packaging can be more effectively collected, recovered and recycled.

Europe’s political leaders and policy-makers are currently focused on creating a circular economy that will bring used resources back into the loop to serve again, to cut resource use and reduce dependence on third countries. “Waste” is to become a thing of the past, “recovered resources” the touchstone for the future.

“Pack2Go Europe supports development of a circular economy in Europe. Even if it is going to be a big challenge, we will be part of it. We want more used service packs collected and recycled, we have always wanted that, we are ready to adapt to a circular future,” says Luca Nobili of the Seda Group who is leading Pack2Go Europe’s task force on the circular economy. “The UK Paper Cup Recovery & Recycling Group was launched in 2013. Now we are initiating a similar programme at EU level, focused on producing practical action. There will be no one-size-fits-all solution. In the end it will be national, even local, but based on a shared approach.”

While much packaging is already part of the circular model (thanks to the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive), food and beverage service and convenience packaging is less advanced because it is used out of home and harder to capture for recycling than household packs. The need for action to capture the valuable resources locked into used service packs is clear.

“Pack2Go Europe is calling on the European Parliament and EU member states – to amend EU waste legislation so that out-of-home collection of packaging will become a reality in the future,” says Eamonn Bates, Pack2Go Europe Secretary General. “Ensuring everyone works together to separately collect and recycle is the circular approach; measures that will disrupt Europe’s single market are not the solution.”

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