Packaging materials are clearly a key topic in the discussion of sustainability. Reducing environmental impacts of the packaging industry, finding alternatives to single-use plastic, and increasing recycling rates are all, understandably, high on the agenda. Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, but what does that mean for the packaging industry?

In this issue, we look at the potential of aluminium as an alternative material to plastic in drinks packaging, and whether historical hurdles with aluminium packaging could now be overcome.

It seems general awareness of where plastic refuse ends up after product consumption has been increasing steadily - the events in Malaysia back in January are still lingering in the minds of many. We cast an eye on whether recycling ocean plastic could be an opportunity for the packaging industry.

We also speak to the secretary general of FEVE about their Close the Glass Loop initiative, the current landscape of glass recycling in Europe and predictions for the future.

Meanwhile, environmental concerns are forcing the CPG industry to radically rethink traditional working processes. We speak to Dassault Systèmes about how software can help manufacturers improve sustainability.

As well as all of this, we also gain insight into some of the difficulties in the retail sector concerning branding and packaging design.

Many parents know all too well the pester power children can produce in supermarket aisles when confronted with products emblazoned with their favourite characters. We investigate the efforts being made to redress the balance.

Lastly, we hear from the creative director at Third Floor Design, as they offer their perspective on craft beer branding and how what started as loud, stand-out branding is at risk of becoming a homogenous, albeit brash, sea of similarity.

Peter Nilson, editor