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Ireland and UK head eco-friendly packaging league

By Rod Addy , 12-Oct-2012

Glass is 'getting it in the neck'
Glass is 'getting it in the neck'

The UK and Ireland claim the highest number of eco-friendly packaging launches in the past year, according to Benjamin Punchard, senior packaging analyst at Mintel.

In both regions, 30% of all food and non-alcoholic drinks launches in the year to date carried environmentally friendly packaging claims, Punchard revealed exclusively to FoodProductionDaily.com.

The next highest country was France, with 11% of all new products carrying the claim, then the Netherlands and Belgium.
Ukraine and Turkey tied for last position at the bottom of the table, with just 1% of all new food and non-alcoholic beverages bearing ‘green’ claims on pack.

Proportion of food and drink launches with an eco-friendly packaging claim in the past year

Ireland: 30%
UK: 30%
France: 11%
Netherlands: 10%
Belgium: 8%
Sweden: 7%
Portugal: 7%
Spain: 7%
Finland: 6%
Czech Republic: 5%
Switzerland: 5%
Austria: 4%
Norway: 4%
Greece: 4%
Italy: 4%
Germany: 3%
Russia: 3%
Denmark: 2%
Hungary: 2%
Poland: 2%
Ukraine: 1%
Turkey: 1%

Walking on broken glass

The food and drink industry was increasingly turning away from glass as a packaging option, he said. This was because recent eco-friendly trends had favoured lightweighting as an easy way to reduce packaging waste.

“Plastic is generally benefiting over glass because of the weight issue. This is increasingly a measure of how bad packaging is [environmentally]. Glass gets it in the neck a bit. It’s one of the drivers in its loss of share to plastic.”

This sometimes ran against aims to create a ‘greener’ supply chain, he said, because a case could be made that using glass could have a more favourable environmental impact.

‘Negative move’

“You can make packs lighter if you move from glass to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), but if glass can be recycled more effectively, this is a negative move.”

As pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and waste pushed packaging manufacturers and suppliers towards eco-friendly materials, small to medium-sized manufacturers could suffer, said Punchard.

This was because they were least able to reinvest quickly in the use of different equipment and supply chain restructuring involved in switching to ‘greener’ alternatives.

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