Plastic trash on a beach

Sir, With reference to Tony Hitchin’s Saturday Essay, as a packaging industry we need to persuade brand owners to use the correct substrate for products rather than our own interests. There is much misinformation around packaging, packaging waste and its environmental impact.

Plastics have had a major impact on all of our lives. Plastics allow products to be safely stored and delivered, extends shelf life and prevents food waste. Society as a whole must recycle more plastics, and to do that we have to create value for the waste. I would like to purchase more recycled products and see more recycled plastic available. Consumers say in surveys they will pay more for environmentally friendly packaging - but reality shows when these products hit shelves and are more costly they don’t get bought.

Plastics in oceans is at the top of the agenda, especially with David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme on our screens. Society is ultimately to blame for plastic consumables that end up in the ocean.

Rather than a plastics tax, let’s think about rewarding recycling of all packaging, for example Council Tax rebates for the amount of recycled product in kerbside collections. The first major retailer offering vouchers off shoppers’ bills for returning plastic bottles to store steals a CSR advantage over competitors and improves footfall.

Convenience is the biggest single trend for retail. Which means we must find affordable solutions for the masses or the masses won’t pay for it. It just takes a little thinking outside the box (no pun intended!).

Justin Kempson, sales director, Charpak