The Parliamentary reception held at Westminster recently saw a number of guests from across the packaging industry hear the latest updates from PAFA.
At a Parliamentary reception held in Westminster recently, the message from PAFA, the BPF and the Plastics 2020 Challenge was educate, educate, educate when it comes to consumer knowledge of the benefits of plastics packaging and recycling. The associations praised campaigns such as ‘Fresher for Longer’, but said there was still work to be done to stop “snide shots” being taken at packaging due to a "failure to understand what it is there to do". Speaking at the event, Barry Turner of PAFA said that it was “a sin” that some councils in the UK still do not offer any sort of collection or recycling of plastics waste. It seems with some councils in the UK excelling with the systems they have in place, the gap is widening between local authorities, making it all the more apparent that there needs to be joined up thinking about the importance of recycling and, as such, a clear message being sent to the consumer to challenge the ‘throwaway’ image with which packaging is often attributed.
Speaking of ‘throwaway’, also mentioned at the event was the problem of littering and the steps being taken to change behaviours. “Many unfairly target products and brands and say they cause the litter,” said Turner, adding that a “zero tolerance approach” was needed. The Marine Conservation Society has this month launched registration for the ‘Great British Beach Clean’, a mass participation event to clean up the UK’s coastlines. It has been well documented within industry the collaboration between a number of associations, as well as businesses, to turn the plastics found on Britain’s shores into sports kits, retail goods and more. But we simply must get the message over to the consumer that the industry is not responsible for the litter being there in the first place, and reinforce the message that the plastics they might come across is a precious resource that should not be irresponsibly dumped. However, as previously mentioned, the fact that some councils do not see plastics as a precious enough resource to collect for recycling, makes it an even harder challenge to convince the consumer of its worth.