For years, plastic has played an important role in the food and drink sector by protecting goods from damage and ensuring a longer shelf life. But with the UK generating around 2.4 million tonnes per year of packaging waste, according to circular economy experts at WRAP, the industry is facing a crisis.
“Plastic might be a wonderful material for packaging food, but it comes with a legacy for the future,” explains Charles Baughan, managing director of family-owned Westaways Sausages. “I believe that food producers must change and help cut the use of plastic.”
Over recent years, many producers have done just that by taking steps to replace plastic packaging with zero-waste alternatives. Back in 2018, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced 11 companies representing more than six million tonnes of plastic packaging per year, including M&S, Coca-Cola and Unilever, that committed to working towards using 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 or earlier.