A new report, ‘Sustainable Packaging in Europe: the drive for change’, launched yesterday at the Rethinking Materials Innovation and Investment Summit in London, shows that the material choices made by the European packaging industry are changing at a rapid pace.
The report was commissioned by Aquapak, the company behind Hydropol, a water-soluble, biodegradable polymer based on PVOH suitable for various packaging uses, including coated or laminated bags and pouches. To dispose of, consumers can put the packaging into their household paper waste. The Hydropol layer is formulated to ‘wash off’ - dissolve - during the paper repulping process and then either biodegrades in the wastewater system or turned into clean energy if the plant has an AD system.
Based on a survey carried out by research firm Pure Profile among 150 sustainability and packaging experts across the UK, Italy and Germany) in March 2023, the findings show that 62% expect their company to increase their budgets for investing in sustainable packaging material over the next five years, with a further 23% expecting to see budgets increase dramatically.
Over the next five years, the use of multi-material solutions combining paper and plastic, new polymers and paper is expected to rise, whilst the use of polyethylene is set to decline. The majority - 83% - of respondents said they planned to increase their use of multi-material solutions across their product portfolios, while (72%) will make more use of paper over the next five years. 69% and 65% anticipate a greater use of new polymers, such as PVOH and bioplastics, respectively in their packaging material. These trends are similar over a ten-year horizon.
Sustainability, however, must go hand-in-hand with important attributes such as product protection. The respondents indicated that barrier properties, extending the shelf life and functionality – ease of use for the end-consumer - outweighed the importance of recyclability.