We at Huhtamaki want to contribute actively to making sure that we enjoy a future that is worth living – respect for people, nature, customers and employees as well as for opinions and cultures is part of our philosophy. Since we are aware of our responsibility for the environment, we operate sustainably and, for example, support Stiftung Kulturlandschaft Günztal, which has been promoting the preservation of nature and the countryside in the Ronsberg area since 2000.
Flexible packaging and sustainability –
a comprehensive view
The point of producing flexible packaging is to give products a good shelf life and make them easily accessible to consumers. Which types of packaging are in demand on the market is determined by the producers of foods and other consumer goods – Huhtamaki acts as a service provider in order to meet this need.
The reason for the increasing use of flexible packaging around the world is that it represents the most effective form of packaging if we look at the packaging material requirement per packaged product. It thus fulfils an important function in the feeding and supply of the world population.
Ideally, a perfect packaging system avoids the loss of filled product and this is where the focus should be in all considerations.
Over 30% of all food around the world gets lost between "field and plate" – so there is a need for action. For us here in Germany, too, we need to reduce the high volumes of food waste in processed and packaged foods.
The strengths of flexible packaging lie in the reduction of waste, with regard to both number of items and volume. Low numbers of waste items and small unit sizes however make it more difficult to achieve economically viable materials recycling, which
only works between countries if similar waste fractions are involved.
What remains after a food item has been used is the packaging as an empty shell, it is no longer required by any consumer, or even noticed: environmentally sound disposal is however the most important step in successful recycling. Waste incorrectly disposed of is lost to the system and triggers environmental problems; we each have the power to prevent this. Germany and some neighbouring European countries are already leading when it comes to the collection, sorting and recycling of waste packaging. The objectives of the whole value creation chain for consumer goods are therefore to reduce the complexity of flexible packaging waste and to improve their sorting and recycling still further. A solution can only be found through working together, in agreement between packaging producers and the waste and recycling business.
Huhtamaki is therefore participating in the cross value chain initiative CEFLEX. The ambitions of CEFLEX are to make flexible packaging more relevant to the circular economy by advancing better system design solutions via collaboration of stakeholders representing the entire value chain, to improve sorting and recycling of this resource efficient packaging type and guide its redesign when necessary. We would like to emphasise that Huhtamaki takes public discussion of flexible packaging very seriously and is fully committed to driving improvements forward.