The Voice of Packaging in the Heart of the Country
Our next Pack to the Future event with the Title Polymers in Packaging will take place at the University of Birmingham on Wednesday 16th March from 4.00pm.
Invites and Registration details will be published at the beginning of February..
Polymers in Packaging - are the goals of biodegradability and sustainability achievable?
Challengers of products that suffer from over-packaging have every right to point out the waste of scarce resources and the energy lost in producing, recycling and disposing of such materials. However they often miss the point that the vast majority of packaging materials such as paper, glass and metals are all viewed as sustainable and recyclable.
The fourth constituent in packaging, polymers is utilised in flexible wrapping and containers and is beginning to shrug off its unsustainable and unfriendly recyclability mantle. This is because new materials that are organically derived are taking a larger share of the market.
Experts and politicians point to high levels of unacceptable wastage in both foodstuffs and beverages. Both sectors are heavy users of flexible packing and society would find difficult in the extreme to exist without polymer packaging, since shoppers benefit from increased shelf life and the protection such packs provide when transporting the weekly shop between the store and home.
Currently, sustainable flexible packaging is delivered through the use of agriculturally produced corn starch but this route has the disadvantage that it competes with land that is used for food cropping.
Recent research and development has delivered polymers that can be used in packaging applications that can be ‘grown’ using a culture of microbes and feedstock’s that are 100% organic and as such relieve the industry of its dependence upon oil based materials that are cited as unsustainable in the long term. Such materials are thought to much more environmentally friendly too.
Will such new materials and processes gain traction in future and meet with the approval of consumers and all other participants in the frame?
What are the ethics in this approach, since oil resources may last much longer than predicted as new sources are discovered?
In a move that is designed to increase the awareness of all the interested parties in this arena, The meeting will examine the themes of sustainability, recyclability and biodegradability from each perspective of the packaging life-cycle - from polymer manufacturing & production to landfill.
This will enable the packaging and polymer industries to share their ideas with the wider community as a whole in an attempt to bring all parties together to shape the future in polymer development and construction within the packaging sector as a whole.
The Polymer Society and The Packaging Society are therefore inviting participants from retail, food & drink, research & development, conservation and packaging construction to join with students of the university to chart the future for polymers in packaging.
There will be plenty of time for all involved to share their opinions and insights
Speakers include Dr Peter Cox, Dr Terence Cooper, Tony Hancock, Andy Sweetman, Dr Mike Jenkins, Chris Gordon-Smith.
Several Packaging suppliers will have presentation tables to show their products and members of staff will discuss how packaging companies function.
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