On May 16, 2023, FitNESS scientists from partner university Universidade Católica Portuguesa published a peer-reviewed scientific review on aspects required to achieve circular food packaging in the journal Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
In the paper, the authors provide an overview of the fundamental aspects pertaining to effective circular packaging. The main challenges and barriers that were identified are (1) the ever-increasing levels of packaging waste that are related to an increase in packaging usage, (2) limitations in recycling, especially plastics, and considering safe recycling for food contact usage, and (3) consumer issues: motivation, ability, and opportunity for consumers to change their behavior to further promote sustainable and circular food packaging are examined.
Furthermore, the paper mentions current measures that are being applied in the EU and what is needed for those to effectively contribute towards circular food packaging. Specific areas discussed related to current measures are source reduction and waste prevention, compostability, substances of concern, labeling, extended producer responsibility, and green public procurement.
In conclusion, the authors emphasize that all players and stakeholders across the whole supply chain, from materials producers to food companies to consumers, are collectively responsible for these measures to be effective. They also urge that “[i]t is fundamental to harmonize the decision criteria on packaging minimization and how to measure packaging-related food losses and waste.”
Poças, F. and Selbourne Md. (2023) “Drivers, advances, and significance of measures for effective circular food packaging.” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2023.1140295