Page 4: Managing waste
The concentration on packaging as waste has led to two separate issues being confused:
- the need to design good packaging systems that get products from manufacture to consumption with the minimum necessary expenditure of resources
- the need to invest in modern solid waste management techniques so that we can reduce the environmental impact of ALL waste, not just packaging.
This confusion has two unfortunate consequences:
- it gives the false impression that all one has to do to solve the waste problem is to remove packaging from waste
- it over emphasises one environmental consideration – waste – and distracts attention from designing resource-efficient packaging that can make the best use of all resources throughout the distribution chain.
INCPEN’s early work led to the publication of a number of discussion papers that influenced the Government’s approach to policy on packaging and encouraged innovation. Today there is less packaging per capita put on the market in the UK than in any other major European country. (Source: Member States returns to European Commission re: the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive)
INCPEN also works with consumer and environmental groups to explain the role of packaging. INCPEN co-ordinates a network of over 40 trade associations, representing more than 85% of companies in the packaging chain. These associations commend to their members the use of INCPEN’s Responsible Packaging Code of Practice to demonstrate commitment to responsible packaging in the context of sustainable development. The Code aims to improve packaging and minimise waste. INCPEN’s research is acclaimed internationally for its impartial assessment of environmental issues.