Rubbish, garbage, trash, waste. It is high up on the agenda for governments, and it is increasingly becoming important to consumers in the developed world. At SC Johnson's Europlant on a recent visit, I was given a first-hand glimpse of the dividends that an efficient and lean manufacturing site can provide.
While SC Johnson may be a leader in the field, with zero waste across eight of their sites and a target of 70% reduction in global manufacturing waste by 2016, there are other areas of waste that are causing far more consternation.
In early April 2014, Coca-Cola Enterprises released a fairly damning report on breaking consumer recycling habits. While the report is focused on a small number of households in the UK and France, its findings serve to shed light on a topic that is growing in interest. End users have taken sustainability targets seriously and have taken steps to manufacture their products with a minimum footprint.
However, if customers simply throw the product into the bin when finished, there are limited opportunities for a closed loop recycling process to exist.
This means, for example, that it is generally more cost-effective to buy virgin PET than to purchase recycled PET (rPET), and in turn deals a blow to the efforts to become a more self contained and sustainable industry.
Food and packaging waste reduction are central themes of this edition. Our food packaging insight article includes Subway, Havi and Mars Food Europe's packaging, innovation and sustainability directors discussing food trends and how waste reduction and convenience are the watchwords in 2014. We also feature Form-fill-seal, with Bosch, Kern Packaging and Isle of Wight Biltong outlining the benefits of the technology and how it helps brand owners reduce material waste and enhance shelf life.
There is also a piece on robotics, providing insight into how automation and robotics are being used to improve productivity while reducing loss in time, resources or output. Lastly, David Baker of RPC and Jori Ringman of CEPI discuss packaging waste and paper recycling, respectively. I hope you enjoy this edition, and wish you a happy Easter.