The Special Interest Group on Packaging met again this week. At this meeting we focused on ideas to reduce plastic in the supply chain, covering things like pallet wrap and box liners, used only in production. It was clear that several participants had done some work is this area, although several also said they has still to investigate this area of packaging use.
We had two BFFF members, Excelerate and Hanmere Plastic explain that a good starting point would be for members to invite their suppliers of plastic materials into their factory or distribution centre to audit the current process. Keith Miller of Hanmere gave real examples of where this had happened and the significant savings on the volume of plastic being used. We also had a presentation from Southgate Global on different types of pallet wrap machines.
Where plastic is in direct contact with food it is impossible to use recycled content, here the focus should be on reducing gauge and / or reducing the absolute amount of plastic used. One example given by our presenters showed that one company had discovered from an audit that they could change one material used in their production process to one containing recycled product as it was not in direct contact with food.
We discussed options to reduce pallet wrap gauge, even if a customer specifies a certain gauge. It was clear the environment now exists to talk to your customers as everyone is keen to find reductions. The use of recycled content in pallet wrap brings its own issues and challenges. However, the key message was work collaboratively with your suppliers and customers to find solutions.