Dedicated to improving manufacturing efficiency

Is it time to rethink replace plastic in packaging?

A cross-party parliamentary group warning that firms are replacing plastic with potentially more harmful alternatives for the environment is a wakeup call for companies to redouble their sustainability efforts, says an industry expert.

ULMA Packaging UK is working with a number of material suppliers to develop recyclable mono base materials

Dave Berriman, technical sales support manager at ULMA Packaging UK, commented: “Recent cross-party parliamentary warnings surrounding replacing plastic packaging in the wake of the Green Alliance’s recent report on the topic indicates that alternative materials aren’t always better for the environment. The problem stems from replacing plastic with new packaging materials that have not always been properly assessed in terms of recyclability and carbon footprint.” 

Research from the report reveals that several supermarkets, for instance, are selling more drinks in coated cartons under the assumption that they can be recycled. Other perceived greener alternatives to plastic such as glass actually contributes more carbon due to being much heavier and therefore more polluting to transport.

Berriman added: “For processors and retailers striving to respond to consumers who are increasingly looking for environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, it is crucial to find a solution that works. Clearly, cutting out plastic completely isn’t currently meeting this objective.”

To achieve a more circular approach to plastic packaging, ULMA Packaging UK is working with a number of material suppliers to develop recyclable mono base materials. Ongoing development of its packaging machinery to reduce the amount of plastic required and make it easier for consumers to recycle in the first place is central to ULMA’s approach.

Berriman, concluded: “It is crucial to redouble sustainable innovation efforts given that packaging accounts for 40 per cent of the plastic processed each year. As part of the #ULMAweCare project we have pledged to reduce the amount of packaging material required by introducing more innovations like our LeafSkin solution, that reduces plastics usage by up to 80 per cent and is based on a 100 per cent recyclable flat cardboard tray.

“Overall, we believe that reducing overall environmental impact, without compromising process efficiency, product integrity and consumer safety is achievable. We hope to act as an example to those in the broader circular economy and help facilitate change.”

To find out more about ULMA Packaging UK and the #ULMAweCare project, please visit: www.ulmapackaging.com/en/about-us/sustainable-packaging-ulmawecare

Related Articles

Bold approach required to hit European plastic recycling targets

A more circular approach to plastic packaging will be key to hitting ambitious international plastic recycling targets, says a prominent…

ULMA Packaging welcomes new biodegradable packaging standard

ULMA Packaging UK has welcomed the introduction of a new British standard for biodegradable plastic as a promising new step towards further…

ULMA Packaging UK - Comment on 2020 budget

Comment from Ed Williams, sales director at ULMA Packaging UK: ULMA Packaging UK believes actions taken by the Government in the 2020…

Pressure to reduce plastic use risks disrupting paper recycling and stifling innovation

Recycling labelling proposals from the UK Government risk disrupting the paper recycling stream, which currently operates efficiently, and…

New plastics tax 'real boost' for circular economy and recycling infrastructure, says Bureau Veritas

With the UK set to bring in a new tax on plastic packaging, leading sustainability authority Bureau Veritas has revealed that the levy…

Recycling plastic versus biodegradable plastic

There’s a lot you can do in 12 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s also the average time a plastic bag is used before it’s sent…