This blog post was contributed by Andrew Manly, Communications Director at the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA).
The NanoPack project to create a new generation of antimicrobial flexible plastics food packaging is an excellent example of how the industry is responding, and has been responding for decades, to the demands for better management of plastics and waste.
But the current hysteria about plastics, following the Blue Planet TV documentary – which showed the devastating effect of plastics marine waste – has sent the whole issue into the realms of fantasy.
So now all plastics packaging, from straws to trays is BAD. We hear about plastics free aisles in supermarkets and ban on all kinds of pack formats. How convenient for the politicians to find a subject which they can all unite on without fear of a backlash.
Sadly the industry response has been abject. None of the professional bodies which represent this huge industry have come up with any coherent responses to explain the benefits of plastics.
The facts are that plastics has been saving waste for years in all kinds of ways. If we end up banning some of thes current plastics packaging the effect on food waste could be enormous. Lets all start to take our milk home in a bucket again and bread in a paper bag so it goes stale in one or two days!
Of course we should do everything we can to reduce plastics packaging waste: better recycling, bio-materials which degrade faster, lightweighting, etc, etc. So much work is being done on these issues already. So why is no-one shouting about that!
It is worth remembering that plastics does not pollute PEOPLE do that. So lets get better at educating the populations in Indonesia, China and even the USA to deal with their waste responsibly.
I fear the feeding frenzy over plastics by politicians and the media is set to continue. Its time the plastics sector found a Champion to fight back!