Sustainability of packaging in the EU: a year in review and a look towards 2022

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In 2021, new European regulations came into force, brands made progress in their sustainability commitments and consumer expectations regarding the environmental qualities of packaging continued to rise. Together with our customers and partners, Amcor has addressed these sustainability challenges with exciting new innovations, collaborations, and fresh insights into consumer and industry trends.

This roundup includes our European sustainability highlights from the past year and looks ahead to 2022.

1) DEVELOPMENTS IN RECYCLING AND CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCTION

CAN TECHNOLOGY IMPROVE RECYCLING? HOLY GRAIL 2.0

The HolyGrail 2.0 project, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, uses “digital watermarks” to improve the sorting of recyclable packaging in the European Union. After a successful first phase with partners such as P&G, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Amcor, the project is now entering phase 3 and is looking for other partners.

Find out what’s happened so far, what’s planned for Phase 3 of HolyGrail 2.0, and how your brand can get involved.

WHAT IS CHEMICAL RECYCLING AND IS IT THE SOLUTION SEARCHED BY THE INDUSTRY?

What is chemical (or advanced) recycling? And what challenges and opportunities does this new process present for flexible packaging? Amcor examined how chemical recycling works in Europe and the future role it is likely to play for the packaging industry.

Learn more about chemical recycling of flexible packaging in Europe.

STAYING AHEAD OF EUROPEAN LEGISLATION

The European legislative landscape around sustainability is incredibly complex. Our team can help make it easier for businesses that want to act now and prepare for what’s to come. With initiatives such as the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), plastic taxes and upcoming changes to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, it is an ever-evolving topic and which we will continue to share information about in 2022.

Take a look at the packaging regulatory changes introduced in 2021, what’s coming and tips on how best to prepare.

LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT DEMO

A life cycle assessment tool, such as ASSET™, helps brands measure, understand and reduce the environmental impact of their packaging. We recently developed a demo tool for you to see how simple packaging changes can reduce your packaging’s carbon footprint.

Try our ASSET™ Life Cycle Assessment demo to see what you could learn and find out how you can work with us to perform a full life cycle assessment of your packaging.

2) PRODUCTS & SERVICES LAUNCHED IN 2021

MORE SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS

Discover some of the successful innovations launched last year:

In March, Amcor and Mars Food launched new microwaveable rice pouches in the UK designed to be recycled.

We helped family-run Italian meat company, Chiola, create packaging with 80% less plastic.

Amcor has worked with Unilever to develop new recycling and e-commerce ready all-PE pouches for their dishwasher tablets – the Sun All-in-1 brand in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Portugal , and the Svelto brand in Italy. Then, with the e-commerce journey in mind, the specially designed structure of the new pouches was submitted to Amcor’s e-commerce lab to ensure they would arrive at their destination in optimal condition.

In the pharmaceutical field, Amcor launched AmSky™, the first polyethylene-based thermoformed blister packaging ready to be recycled for pharmaceutical products. This innovation allows customers in the healthcare sector to improve the recyclability of their packaging, benefiting from a reduction of up to 70% in their carbon footprint compared to standard alternatives currently on the market.

Also for the healthcare market, Amcor announced the development and ongoing testing of ready-to-recycle high-barrier sachets and stickpacks for pharmaceuticals.

INNOVATION CENTERS 2022 AND BEYOND

In 2021, Amcor announced that it will expand its global network of innovation centers to two new locations in Asia and Europe. The expansion of our site in Ghent, Belgium will provide customers with a unique space to test new ideas and technologies, and improve the sustainability of their products, as well as the overall consumer experience.

3) HEAR FROM THE EXPERTS FROM THE BIG IDEAS WEBINAR SERIES

Our Big Ideas webinar series was even bigger and better this year! Dozens of new webinars and Q&As feature packaging experts from Amcor and guest speakers from Mintel, The Carbon Trust, Boston Consulting Group and more. Our speakers cover overall packaging sustainability as well as in-depth dives into specific markets (i.e. pet food, snacks, infant nutrition, pharmaceuticals).

Here are our top five sustainability webinar recommendations, and there are plenty more sessions to explore. View all webinars here.

  1. Helping brands navigate current and upcoming EU packaging sustainability regulations

  2. The journey towards sustainability and recyclability of medical packaging in collaboration with HPRC

  3. Reduce your bag’s carbon footprint with the Carbon Trust

  4. The future of plastics recycling with Infinity Recycling

  5. The path to more sustainable pharmaceutical packaging

We also help you navigate the European sustainability landscape with region-specific sessions. Check out the local language webinars for FRANCE, SPAIN and GERMANY that review sustainability trends, goals and solutions for these regions.

4) NEW CONSUMER RESEARCH

The latest consumer research shows that many shoppers will pay more for more sustainable products and packaging. Buyers are actively seeking sustainability information. How can brands make the most of these trends?

Download our latest research reports to learn more:

AND SOON IN 2022:

Soon to emerge is Amcor LifeSpan® Performance paper, a natural evolution of paper packaging – launched first in European markets and soon to be available globally.

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