By Wayne Robinson | May 13, 2022
The major Italian trade fair IPACK-IMA was held in Milan last week, alongside Print4All and the Packaging Speaks Green conference, with Print21 editor Lindy Hughson moderated two conference sessions on sustainability.
Packaging Speaks Green is an annual international forum on sustainable packaging that took place during the four days of IPACK-IMA, May 3-6. Industry leaders from around the world took the stage to share news on initiatives championing packaging sustainability across various industry sectors.
Print21 and PKN editor Lindy Hughson moderated two sessions at the conference. The first focused on sustainability in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector, the second on safeguarding food and communities.
“In health and wellness, consumers are not just looking for products that are good for their health and meet their lifestyle aspirations, they are looking for products that are also good for the planet. – and most importantly, they look for brands that align with their green values. They expect brand owners to scale up and deliver sustainability in a transparent, greenwash-free manner,” said Hughson.
During the session, the President of the World Packaging Organization and his fellow Australian, Professor Pierre Pienaar, highlighted the current problem of plastic waste in the oceans with powerful images that reinforced the problem that the public was all too aware, especially with expanded polystyrene (EPS) which is commonly used for insulated shipping of pharmaceuticals. He said there are currently sustainable packaging solutions available for 70% of pharmaceutical products on the market, and urged the industry to make the switch sooner, because “there is no time to waste. “.
Arwen Imperatori of cosmetics company Ancorotti Cosmetics, said the company has gone beyond simply choosing sustainable packaging materials to focus on building a fully sustainable manufacturing plant on a brownfield site – driving reuse to a new level.
Adriano Pietrosanto, from the Italian pharmaceutical industry association Egualia, gave an overview of the rules and regulations being changed in the EU, which will see pharmaceutical manufacturers take a greener approach in manufacturing and medication use.
Another speaker to highlight the problem of plastic waste, especially for poor communities in developing countries, was the dynamic David Katz from Canada, the founder of Plastic Bank.
Katz, pointed out that when you’re wondering if you can feed your family on any given day, the last thing on your mind is whether the plastic container you’re using will end up in the correct recycling stream.
Katz said, “Eighty percent of the plastic entering the marine ecosystem comes from areas of poverty.”
Without diminishing the efforts of ocean cleanup projects, Katz said they were only tip of the iceberg.
“There’s a plastic garbage truck entering the ocean every minute, over 40,000 kilograms…we need to turn off the tap on this stream of plastic waste at the source.”
In 2017, Katz came up with the idea for Plastic Bank, which gives back to plastic waste in communities around the world, has given monetary value to plastic waste and is a way to “beat plastic pollution, reduce poverty and develop regenerative communities”, where locals don’t see materials as waste, but as money.
Today, Plastic Bank is a global chain of over 500 stores, where plastic waste is given mass value and people can use it as payment for goods. The more you collect, the more you can trade. The concept has been taken a step further since its inception, and in the words of Katz, Plastic Bank has “created a blockchain-based banking app” that empowers people to “gain credit” and “changes the garbage paradigm.” plastics”, creating the space for everyone to look at the material differently.
Katz said Plastic Bank works with some of the world’s most progressive companies, like Henkel, who “choose to stand on the right side of history” and use collected materials as feedstock in the recycling and remanufacturing of plastics. .
Hughson said all of the speakers were inspirational, providing food for thought on taking immediate action on sustainability, while bringing hope with news about positive projects underway.
Other presenters at the Save Food and Communities Sustainability session included Rosse Rolle from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Dina Fortunato from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Yamilin Gonzalez Milian, Vice -Cuba Industry Minister, and Richard Swannell of Wrap, the UK climate agency. Action NGOs.