Progress made in plastic packaging, but Irish food industry calls for more

UK fund to transform food scraps into sustainable packaging
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Although Ireland boasts a collection rare of 82% for plastic packaging, the nation’s food industry has called for improved infrastructure.

Hosting an industry briefing, Food Drink Ireland (FDI) briefed delegates on the future of plastic packaging.

Linda Stuart-Trainor, FDI Director of Prepared Consumer Foods, said: “Packaging is essential in bringing many food and drinks to our tables. It helps reduce food waste and protects quality and freshness.

“Packaging ensures people get what they want when they want it, in good condition and with little wastage. The environmental impact of avoidable household food waste is eight times greater than the impact of total packaging waste going to landfill.”

At the event, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) explored the important safety concerns when it comes to packaging materials that are in contact with food and outlined the regulations that producers must adhere to.

Ms Stuart-Trainor added: “FDI members have a strong focus on sustainable sourcing, resource efficiency and sustainable consumption.

“Packaging is an important pillar within this approach and includes measures such as efficient use of natural resources, reduced packaging weight, refills, less packaging, awareness and education programmes on packing use and recycling and research and development.

“Our existing waste packaging collection and recycling scheme in Ireland – Repak – receives multimillion-euro funding from food and drinks companies.

“Before industry began funding Repak, over 90% of all packaging went to landfill. Now less than 10% goes to landfill. Providing segregated recycling bins in public would reduce on-the-go littering while increasing recycling rates.”