Aimplas develops reusable packaging trademark in line with EU Plastics Strategy
07 Jul 2022 --- Spanish research institute Aimplas is creating a new trademark to certify the safety and functionality of reusable food packaging as new legislation and public pressure mount on industry.
In order to qualify for the trademark, a company’s product must go through various analyses, such as dishwasher resistance testing for at least five dishwasher cycles; a non-intentionally added substances risk assessment; and migration tests to guarantee migration to food does not present a risk to human health.
Sensory tests are also carried out to ensure that the reuse of packaging does not modify food’s organoleptic characteristics.
Aimplas says it has developed these rigorous standards to ensure businesses can stand up to any new regulations or consumer concerns over the circular economy. “Packaging manufacturing companies that have been awarded the trademark have a competitive edge in terms of transparency and food safety,” claims the institute.
Innova Market Insights recently found that 22% of global consumers consider reusable packaging to be the most environmentally sustainable packaging option.
Recyclable versus reusable
Aimplas emphasizes that plastic packaging, in particular, is the subject of an increasing number of regulations aimed at promoting the circular economy, including the EU’s Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, which stipulates that all packaging must be recyclable or reusable by 2030.
This pressure presents a serious challenge for producers, says Aimplas, since, in the case of food packaging, it is difficult to guarantee the safety of reusable packaging after repeated use and washings.
The institute says it has therefore created the “Designed to be Reusable” trademark based on European Commission (EC) regulations and a recently issued dishwasher resistance standard.
“This trademark certifies that a product is designed to be safely reused after several washings and passed the tests required for a product to be considered reusable in terms of food safety. The trademark also validates the product’s functionality,” says Aimplas.
Breaking the circle?
Despite regulations and consumer perceptions, many researchers and industry bodies stress that switching to reusable formats will have an inverse impact on the circular economy, driving up emissions and material waste.
Recently, the European Paper Packaging Alliance urged the EC to focus on scientific findings in its legislation after a new meta-analysis suggested that single-use paper-based packaging is more environmentally sustainable than reusable formats.
The findings are the conclusion of a meta-analysis by renowned engineering consultancy Ramboll. The analysis, which examined 26 scientific studies, shows that reuse systems impose exclusive additional burdens on the environment compared to single-use, related to additional washing, take-back transportation and breakage and unit loss associated with takeaway.
Similarly, many plastics experts like Dr. Chris DeArmitt have criticized the “persecution” of plastic packaging products as unscientific, pointing to numerous life cycle assessments showing that the most common plastics have the lowest environmental footprint.
By Louis Gore-Langton
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