UK: Packaging In The Next Decade - Multi-Sector Interest

Last Updated: 6 July 2009
Article by Paul Sheridan, Sati Nagra and Olivia Quaid

Whilst this article is about changes to packaging and will be of direct interest to the retail sector, its significance is much wider. The commentary on the recycling and recovering of packaging will be of keen interest to the waste, cleantech and energy sectors.

Strategic review

On 9 June 2009, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs ("Defra") published a strategic review of packaging policy in conjunction with the Department for Business Innovation & Skills ("BIS"), the Devolved Administrations, and with input from stakeholders. 'Making the most of packaging: A strategy for a low-carbon economy' (the "Strategy") sets the direction for packaging policy for the next ten years. (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/packaging/pdf/full-packaging-strategy.pdf). The contents are set in the context of a resource efficient and low carbon economy. The Strategy generally extends to the whole of the UK.

To view the article in full, please see below:



Full Article

Whilst this article is about changes to packaging and will be of direct interest to the retail sector, its significance is much wider. The commentary on the recycling and recovering of packaging will be of keen interest to the waste, cleantech and energy sectors.

Strategic review

On 9 June 2009, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs ("Defra") published a strategic review of packaging policy in conjunction with the Department for Business Innovation & Skills ("BIS"), the Devolved Administrations, and with input from stakeholders. 'Making the most of packaging: A strategy for a low-carbon economy' (the "Strategy") sets the direction for packaging policy for the next ten years. (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/packaging/pdf/full-packaging-strategy.pdf). The contents are set in the context of a resource efficient and low carbon economy. The Strategy generally extends to the whole of the UK.

Broader implications beyond the packaging supply chain

The key aims of the Strategy are to overturn the historical trend of overall packaging growth, optimise the resource-efficiency of packaging, and improve waste packaging recycling rates. The Strategy explores the whole lifecycle of products and identifies developments for the waste management sector and particular materials. It states that depending on the material involved, packaging waste should ideally be recycled or have energy recovered from it and expressly acknowledges the potential need for a network of anaerobic digestion and other energy from waste plants to be developed. Otherwise the sophistry of existing waste collection and sorting facilities should be increased.

Trigger for the review

Two triggers are identified for the policy review: addressing consumer concern over packaging levels and the requirement for policy to contribute to greater resource efficiency and reduce the environment impact of the supply chain.

The vision

The Strategy outlines a packaging policy vision: to encourage optimal use of resources across the whole packaging supply chain and to maximise the recycling of waste packaging.

"Optimising packaging"

Minimisation of the environment impact of packaging over its whole lifecycle, without compromising the ability to protect products, will be achieved by:

  • designing packaging in line with sustainability principles - with re-usability, recyclability or recovery in mind as a standard;
  • potential Government promotion of refillable and reusable packaging;
  • promotion of best practice in packaging recyclability and suitability for specific forms of recovery where appropriate e.g. anaerobic digestion
  • delivering real reductions in packaging, under existing and new voluntary agreements; and
  • marketing innovation and development to meet the growing demand for re-usable and recycled packaging, across all types of packaging.

Implementation will be effected by (amongst other examples):

  • Government working with other bodies to raise the profile of eco-design and increase its uptake by business;
  • Government, the Devolved Administrations and their agencies providing a lead through public procurement;
  • Raising consumer awareness;
  • Waste & Resources Action Programme ("WRAP") developing a successor to the current Courtauld Commitment;
  • Identifying priority sectors for packaging reductions and voluntary agreements UK-wide on packaging minimisation for the period 2010-2015.


The first wave of priority sector requirements is timetabled for 2011.

Maximising Recycling

The Strategy states that recycling uses less energy than manufacturing from virgin materials, thus reducing greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions. Consequently policy should work to maximise the recycling of waste packaging through:

  • more recycling by householders - facilitated via recycling schemes that are easy to use and collect all of the main packaging materials;
  • local authorities and businesses treating waste packaging as a resource, leading to more recycling by businesses and an emphasis on quality in household collection and sorting; and
  • improving the current UK recycling rates to those achieved by the best EU performers.

Implementation is to be by:

  • instigating material-specific recycling strategies;
  • modifying and increasing the transparency of the current producer funding system so that revenues are more visible to local authorities and producers;
  • more investment by packaging producers including potential changes to existing producer responsibility laws;
  • Improving the quality of recyclates via income sharing contracts and raising standards at material recoveries facilities;
  • incentivising closed loop uses in relation to plastics and glass;
  • encouraging more effective collection and sorting;
  • greater use of partnerships by local authorities and review of tendering processes.

Measuring the impact of packaging: weight v carbon

Most of the EU legislation including the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC) (the "Packaging Directive"), set out targets based on weight of packaging. This was thought to be relatively simple to understand and to measure against. However, the Strategy identifies that the current methods of measurement are limited in their ability to address whole lifecycle and climate change impacts and do not fit neatly with wider carbon-based targets. Consequently the Government will consider and consult upon the best method for measuring the environment impact of packaging including evaluating a move from weight-based to carbon-based targets. This will also require consistency in evaluating the carbon footprint of products. In order to avoid the burden of different reporting regimes there is a clear statement in the Strategy that there is no intention of moving to mandatory carbon-based targets for packaging before the Packaging Directive is reviewed (likely to start at the earliest in 2014).

Implementing the Strategy

The Strategy provides an outline implementation timetable of action points and responsibilities. As some of the proposals will require changes to legislation, consultation will necessarily follow. Those affected should keep abreast of proposals.

Conclusion

Fundamental changes across all sectors are likely to be required in order to attain the GHG reduction targets in the Climate Change Act 2008. This is only one example of potentially many more, where existing law and policy may have to be realigned to become fit for purpose in a low carbon, low resource and more efficient economy.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 06/07/2009.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.