Recent reports on creating more circular food packaging

World Economic Forum (WEF) releases report on the Future of Reusable Consumption Models; aims to clarify “an alternative plastic waste-reduction model… beyond the recycling of waste”; Upstream publishes design principles for reusable packaging materials; The Consumer Goods Forum publishes nine “Golden Design Rules” for plastic packaging to increase recyclability

Reports highlight reuse benefits and plastics recycling shortcomings

International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) report details current recycling schemes; concludes waste management techniques not “capable of alleviating” the growing plastic pollution crisis; recommends government actions to reduce plastic production; Break Free From Plastic follows up on 215 packaging commitments from top plastic pollution producing companies: 18 projects with no information after press release, few projects lessen plastic production; Upstream compares single-use and reusable service ware for environmental impact and business cost, finds “reuse wins”

Australia releases National Plastic Plan

Australian government announces National Plastic Plan; outlines approaches to plastic recycling, replacing unnecessary plastics, reducing plastics’ impact on the environment; proposes investments in prevention, recycling, consumer education, research, and development

We Choose Reuse campaign publishes open letter

Break Free from Plastic announces open letter as part of ‘We Choose Reuse’ campaign, demands strong political action to set up successful reuse systems; highlights current challenges such high investment and operating costs; will be delivered to officials on June 16, 2021

As You Sow: Investments in plastics may become stranded assets

Civil society organization As You Sow releases report investigating financial risks of shifting investments from fossil fuels to petrochemical sector, including plastics; finds $400 billion at risk of becoming stranded assets, relies on rising demand in low-income countries; neglects climate impacts, plastic pollution, circular economy goals; advises investors to re-evaluate risks and take action

Greenpeace advocates reuse over plastic recycling

Greenpeace Switzerland publishes statement and report, criticizes increasing focus on plastic collection and recycling; argues this misleads consumers, hinders implementation of reuse and extended producer responsibility, recommends providing necessary infrastructure, adaptation of logistics, implementing reuse and return models

UN report addresses single-use plastics and LCA

Life Cycle Initiative led by UN Environment publishes synthesis report investigating impacts of single-use plastic products through life cycle assessment (LCA) approach; finds concept of ‘single-use’ more problematic than ‘plastic’; encourages countries to promote and incentivize replacing single-use products with reusable products; keep products at highest value in economy for as long as possible

Experts call for ban of new biodegradability promoting additives

Food packaging experts call for banning a new group of biodegradability promoting additives used in food packaging, cite concerns over uncontrollable degradation, migration of and human exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals; finds them distracting from real solutions such as new business models incorporating reuse

Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act reintroduced in US

Updated version of bill continues to plan for nationwide extended producer responsibility scheme, minimum recycled content limits, deposit system, single-use plastic bans; new focus on promoting refillable containers, establishing three-year stop on construction of new plastic and chemical recycling facilities

Recommendations on implementation of EPR

Upstream publishes overview article discussing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging, sees recent improvements; views EPR as foundation of circular economy and calls for EPR policies to also focus on developing new reuse/refill systems, include targets for litter prevention and mitigation; advocates for binding reuse targets similar to EU’s recycling targets to create conditions for businesses to safely invest in upscaling reuse