26 FEBRUARY 2019

US state Maine to impose ban on plastic shopping bags

US state Maine representative Nicole Grohoski and two other lawmakers have proposed to ban the use of plastic shopping bags across the state, according to Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM).

Various cities and towns, including Bar Harbor, Bath, Belfast, Blue Hill, Brunswick, Camden, Damariscotta, and Freeport have already imposed restrictions to ban single-use plastic bags. Kennebunk, Manchester, Newcastle, Saco, Southwest Harbor, Rockland, and York have also put forward restrictions.

Retailers that previously opposed the ban or fee on plastic bags also announced their support in considering a comprehensive state policy. Communities such as Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Portland, South Portland, and Topsham have introduced a fee for using plastic bags, while at least six more are considering local ordinances.

NRCM sustainable Maine project director Sarah Lakeman said: “The plastics issue is a huge one people are finally opening their eyes to. A product that will never degrade shouldn’t be used for a purpose lasting only moments.”

Retail Association of Maine executive director Curtis Picard said: “It’s getting to be more of a challenge for retailers that operate in more than one community. It seems each community feels the need to rewrite these ordinances from scratch. We may be at the point where a statewide, comprehensive ordinance may be better for everybody.”

Maine lawmakers received similar bills from Boothbay representative Holly Stover and Fort Fairfield representative David Harold McCrea to ban plastic shopping bags or reduce waste. However, no public hearings have been scheduled.

NRCM noted that it is not yet clear whether the proposals would offer exemptions for small businesses or speciality retailers. NRCM is accepting that the plastic bag manufacturing industry may oppose the bills, arguing that consumers do reuse plastic bags and that bans or fees put a financial burden on retailers and customers.

In another development, the ban on polystyrene foam and single-use plastics in San Diego came into effect on 23 February. The bill regulates products made from polystyrene foam and the distribution of certain single-use straws and utensils.

As per the bill, food vendors should only distribute plastic straws and plastic utensils if requested by the customers. However, self-service stations can offer plastic straws and utensils to customers. 

The ban also covers coolers, ice chests, pool or beach toys, dock floats, mooring buoys, as well as anchor or navigation markers. Items such as egg cartons, food trays or food service ware such as bowls, plates, trays, cups, lids, and other similar items made using styrofoam will be included in the ban from 24 May.


25 FEBRUARY 2019

Brambles to sell IFCO business for $2.51bn

Australia-based pallets and container maker Brambles has signed an agreement with Triton and Luxinva to offload its IFCO reusable plastic containers (RPC) business for a total consideration of $2.51bn. 

Triton and Luxinva is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. IFCO offers RPC pooling solutions, which cater to the supply chain needs of grocery retailers across Europe, North America, Latin America, Japan, and China.

Brambles chairman Stephen Johns said: “In August 2018, we announced that we would seek to separate IFCO through either a demerger or a sale by way of a dual track process. As well as progressing the demerger option, a robust and competitive sale process generated strong interest.

“We are pleased today to announce the sale of IFCO, which we believe delivers greater value for shareholders, including a significant return of cash proceeds to shareholders.”

The deal is currently subject to customary regulatory approvals and will close during the second quarter of this year. Brambles is planning to return up to $1.95bn of proceeds, including a pro-rata return of $300m in cash and an on-market share buy-back of up to $1.65bn, to shareholders as part of the transaction.

The company will use the remaining amount of the total $2.51bn to repay debt to maintain leverage in line with the board-approved credit policy.

Brambles CEO Graham Chipchase said: “The sale will allow Brambles to focus on our strategic priorities and to pursue continued revenue growth within our core markets while also reviewing additional opportunities in emerging markets through product and service innovation and use of technology through the supply chain.

“Our ambition remains to lead the platform pooling industry in customer service, innovation and sustainability.”

Brambles operates a network of more than 850 service centres and owns approximately 630 million pallets, crates and containers. It has around 11,000 employees working across its operations in more than 60 countries.


22 FEBRUARY 2019

Scottish public support bottle deposit return scheme

The Scottish Government has announced the results of its three-month consultation into a bottle deposit return scheme (DRS). More than 3,000 consultation responses were received, showing the Scottish public are in favour of implementing a DRS and highlighting the support for a minimum deposit level of 15 pence.

Under a DRS, Scottish consumers would pay a deposit in addition to the product price. This would be refunded upon recycling at a nominated returns location.

The results, published by environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham, also showed that the respondents preferred a ‘staged introduction’ of the scheme, starting with a limited group of materials before future expansion.

Norwegian sensor-based sorting solutions company TOMRA welcomed the announcement, with managing director of collection solutions Truls Haug saying: “It is fantastic to see the Scottish Government’s discussions on DRS gathering pace with the release of these consultation results. Based on our global experience we believe a DRS will help see the return of over 90% of drinks containers for recycling within just two years of the scheme being introduced in Scotland.

“In particular we welcome the findings that an overwhelming majority of respondents want to see a very broad range of materials included, with 90% wishing to see PET, cans and glass as part of a DRS for Scotland.

“Furthermore 88% want an ‘all-in’ scheme rather that one limited to on-the-go and we are in full agreement. A model with as few restrictions as possible, which is convenient and easy to use, will achieve the best return rates.

“The Scottish Government is already at the forefront when it comes to sustainability with its Circular Economy Strategy and a DRS is the perfect example of a working circular economy. The system safeguards material quality, ensuring containers can be recycled back into bottles and cans, reducing the reliance on the raw materials needed to make new ones, and waste ending up in landfills or in nature as litter.

“It is extremely encouraging to hear that an advisory group will meet as soon as next week to discuss implementation of these game-changing recommendations.”

TOMRA, which operates several DRS trials with UK retailers, has also welcomed the launch of a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) on the introduction of a DRS for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Haug said: “With one consultation complete for Scotland and another getting underway for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, positive steps are being taken to help turn off the tap of plastic pollution.”


21 FEBRUARY 2019

Honeywell launches new barrier film for pharmaceutical packaging

US-headquartered multinational technology company Honeywell has launched the latest expansion in its Aclar film range Aclar Accel, a thermoformable barrier film for pharmaceutical packaging.

The thermoformable element supports a manufacturing process where heat and pressure are applied to a material to form a specific shape.

Honeywell claims that the Aclar Accel packaging addresses an ‘industry need for faster production and delivery’ offering companies a more cost-effective solution while extending product shelf life and giving a more dense, high-moisture barrier than the cold form foil in aluminium blister packaging.

The announcement follows reports that the pharmaceutical packaging market is expected to double in a decade but may be restricted due to rising packaging costs.

Honeywell vice president and general manager packaging and composites Ken West said: “Pharmaceutical companies are seeking new packaging technologies that allow them to get their drugs to market faster and reduce operational costs and Aclar Accel addresses those needs.

“Companies have trusted Aclar for more than 40 years to provide the highest quality protection for their drugs and Aclar Accel gives them new choices. Now, in addition to the customised options of the original Aclar, they can select standard sizes for packaging with these new films and receive them in half the time.”

The range comes in three options: two in clear and one in opaque laminate. Both the original and Aclar 1700 are clear with the former customisable and the latter keeping to the standard size and the Aclar Accel 5400 available in the opaque laminate form.


21 FEBRUARY 2019

Quinn Packaging launches 100% recyclable black PET tray range

Irish plastic food packaging producer Quinn Packaging has launched Detecta by Quinn – a 100% recyclable black polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tray range. Detecta by Quinn uses a unique black colour additive, which allows for easy identification for recycling sorting using existing near-infrared (NIR) equipment. This means that black PET trays can now be recycled.

This development addresses long-standing concerns around the recycling of black PET trays as existing market standards absorb NIR beams, causing them to be unidentifiable and unable to be sorted for recycling.

Quinn claims the black recyclable PET range will lead to the diversion of ‘thousands of tonnes of black plastic from ending up in landfill each year, providing the first real possibility of a circular economy for black plastic packaging.’

Quinn Packaging new product development manager Thomas McCaffrey said: “In the last 12 months we have seen a growing desire within the food sector to move away from black coloured packaging. For Quinn Packaging this was short-sighted.

“If we are serious about moving towards a true circular economy, where food trays are recycled back into food trays, then the ultimate packaging colour to achieve this is black. The new Detecta by Quinn range overcomes the issue of identifying and sorting black PET trays for recycling and will hopefully help the industry to move towards a true circular economy.”

Norwegian sensor-based sorting solutions company TOMRA partnered with Quinn Packaging to carry out performance trials in challenging sorting environments.

TOMRA UK sales manager Steve Walsh said: “We are delighted to have recently hosted Quinn Packaging at our test centre in Germany, where we conducted extensive trials using the TOMRA Auto-Sort across all sorting situations. The results speak for themselves, the Detecta by Quinn trays proved to be fully identifiable in all respects.”

Irish packaging recovery compliance scheme operator Repak has endorsed Detecta by Quinn, claiming that it helps meet new European Union (EU) plastic waste targets.

Repak packaging technology executive Brian Walsh said: “The EU Action Plan for a Circular Economy has a recycling target of 75% for packaging waste by 2030. To allow us to achieve this we need a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, identify where problems exist and then work together to bring forward solutions.

“The new Detecta by Quinn product is a perfect example of this. Quinn Packaging has worked closely with both the retail and the waste recycling sector to develop a new black PET tray that can be recycled. A great illustration of packaging design for recycling.”


21 FEBRUARY 2019

British consumers choose retailers offering recyclable packaging

A new study has revealed that 79% of British consumers choose to buy products with recyclable packaging options. The study also identified that 96% of participants agreed that eco-friendly product packaging is important.

Independent men’s tailor brand The Savile Row conducted the research involving 1,000 British consumers in a move to identify the influence of plastic packaging on consumer purchase decisions.

As part of the study, the company gathered views of the participants around plastic packaging and sustainable alternatives, as well as their purchasing habits regarding companies.

The company has introduced a compostable inner shirt bag and recyclable shirt pins to pack and deliver men’s formal shirts as part of its commitment to exploring eco-friendly alternatives to reduce carbon footprint.

The Savile Row previously used shirt packaging made from recycled plastic. The company manufactured the new compostable bags using fully decomposable potato starch.

The Savile Row owner and managing director Jeffrey Doltis said: “We invested in fully recyclable and compostable packaging because we care about our impact on the planet.

“We also know that our customers feel strongly about reducing their carbon footprint. It is our aim to eradicate single-use plastic across the company, from our offices to our production warehouses, to what our customers receive.”


20 FEBRUARY 2019

Construction industry launches plastics and packaging campaign

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) has launched the 'Spotlight on… plastic and packaging' campaign to tackle the issue of plastic pollution in construction.

CCS surveyed around 900 construction industry professionals and found that 98% believe the over-consumption of plastics and packaging is a global issue and 81% believe that the construction industry is not doing enough to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging.

It was also found that 51% said they have “little understanding” on plastic and packaging rules and regulations while 31% said they frequently use plastics and packaging that cannot be reused or recycled.

The campaign also aims to provide guidance and practical advice, via resources and examples, on how to address pollution within the construction industry.

CCS chief executive Edward Hardy said: “As construction is the second-largest consumer of plastic in the UK, our industry has one of the greatest responsibilities to society, and to the environment, to ensure that we are working tirelessly to improve our standards in minimising waste from plastics.

“The Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on… plastics and packaging’ campaign provides resources, practical support and guidance, helping everyone to take effective measures to tackle this issue. While considerable progress has been made – with over 76% of Scheme-registered construction sites setting targets to reuse, recycle and reduce waste – it is clear that a concerted effort to raise further awareness, and to provide the necessary support, is needed to achieve this drastic reduction in waste from plastics and packaging.”

CCS claims that many contractors, suppliers and organisations within the construction industry including Aztec, Crossrail, Knight Build, Multiplex and Wates are already leading the way on reducing their plastic and packaging consumption.


20 FEBRUARY 2019

Can Makers merges with Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association

The Can Makers has merged its operations with the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) to form the Can Makers Committee. The committee will continue to operate under the parent organisation of MPE.

As part of the merger, beverage can makers will join forces with the rest of the metal packaging industry. Can Makers will continue to represent metal beverage packaging manufacturers within the association.

MPMA CEO William Boyd said: “This merger is great news for the metal packaging industry and its members as together we will be able to better coordinate and share our resources to promote metal as the most sustainable pack format. We look forward to achieving bigger and better things in 2019.”

The merger will see unchanged operations externally but will focus on streamlining processes and establish communicative relations between the industry and the key stakeholders. The newly formed committee will focus more on sustainability across the industry’s activities.

Can Makers Committee chairman Marcel Arsand said: “Drinks cans are the most recycled drinks container on the planet and provide a great foundation to achieve a circular economy.

“By working more closely with the wider metal packaging industry, we can provide an even stronger voice for our members and demonstrate why cans are a viable sustainable option for drinks makers, retailers and consumers alike more effectively.”

The Can Makers Committee and its members will focus on establishing positive relations between the industry and its customers.