The coronavirus outbreak, and consequent lockdowns, has led to a shift in attitude towards packaging. Consumers seem to be less focused on what has been a long-term trend towards sustainability, and instead, we've witnessed an increasing demand for packaging that is perceived as safer, or more sterile. In short: the customer wants plastic.

In this issue, we take a look at whether plastic packaging could meet both demands, being both safe and sustainable. Could bioplastics be an answer to the war on plastics? We also look at packaging design and how lightweighting could be another solution to the demonisation of plastic.

Increased recycling of plastic could lead to issues when it comes to branding, but what if, when it comes to plastic, grey is the new black? Where does that leave brand managers looking to maintain consistency? We look at how Ultraviolet labelling could be the solution.

With forecasts predicting a rising demand for R-PET, we find out how some businesses are looking to ocean plastic as part of the solution to offset the markets in Europe.

The upcoming plastic tax in the UK has forced many companies to assess their packaging, we take a look at the implications for cosmetic packaging and how some companies are already preparing.

We also speak to the CEO of The Recycling Association and learn how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted cardboard stocks in the UK. 

Sustainability may well be a lower priority for consumers at the moment, but how important is it for companies to maintain their environmental commitments? We speak to Tetra Pak's sustainability director about the company's new fully renewable carton and the drive towards a circular economy.

Lastly, when it comes to branding and packaging design there are many examples of great initiatives to improve accessibility for visually impaired consumers.

Unfortunately, many of these campaigns have failed to remain in the long term and it doesn't require too much scepticism to see these efforts as tools for marketing, not a concerted effort to improve inclusivity. We find out how some brands are looking to change that.

Peter Nilson, editor

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