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FEFCO’s Influencer Days 2019: #CircularByNature

Published on Mar 22 2019 5:00 PM in Packaging And Design tagged: Trending Posts / circular economy / FEFCO / corrugated / Recyling

FEFCO’s Influencer Days 2019: #CircularByNature

The European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO), representing the industry's interests across the continent, recently launched an innovative awareness campaign aimed at increasing recycling levels among consumers, following the rise of corrugated board packaging used in e-commerce.

ESM attended FEFCO’s inaugural ‘Influencer Days’, held on 18 and 19 March, which brought together journalists and social influencers from across Europe.

A major theme across the two days was the circular economy, promoted by FEFCO’s use of the hashtag #circularbynature. According to the body, new corrugated boxes use 88% recycled material, and the boxes themselves are bio-based, 100% recyclable, and biodegradable.

Reusing Every Fibre

Day 1 included a meet-and-greet at the non-profit group’s headquarters in Brussels, where general secretary Angelika Christ implored, “We want every fibre back. Give us your used packaging, and we’ll make new boxes out of them.”

During the second half of the day, attendees went on a tour of the VPK Packaging plant outside of Brussels. Hosted by Patrick Leclercq (with VPK’s corrugated business unit) and Alexis Zenner (business unit manager for VPK Paper), event guests received an eye-opening introduction to the paper recycling process.

Those present witnessed the collection and sorting of waste paper, the paper pulping and creation process, and finally the use of this recycled paper in creating corrugated packaging.

Whilst viewing the gigantic machines and witnessing the amount of technology, time and labour that goes into creating corrugated boxes, attendees also learned the importance of the circular economy in the production process at VPK facilities.

“Making a sustainable product is one thing, but using a sustainable production chain is even better. We do both,” Leclerq told those assembled.

Taking Inspiration From Nature

The second day of the Influencers event included a trip to European Parliament, where attendees met with policy makers from the EU Parliament and the EU Commission. Uroš-Valentino Saraja, parliamentary assistant for MEP Davor Škrlec, and Rozalina Petrova (policy officer with the EU Commission, DG ENV) explained key goals of the Union’s waste policies, such as the importance of standardisation of sorting and recycling practices across the EU, the need to encourage the development of sustainable packaging, and the importance of reducing single-use plastics.

Saraja said of the EU’s endeavours, "If we take inspiration for the whole economic model from nature, this cannot fail. That was the driving force of circular economy." He added that such a concept makes quality of life and sustainability possible.

Petrova emphasised that as a government, “inspired by nature, we want to make all materials sustainable and circular.”

The final activity of Day 2 of the Influencers’ event was a trip to the creative headquarters of global corrugated packaging company DS Smith, located in the historic Tours & Taxi building at the site of a former train station in Brussels.

Participants engaged in an ‘Easter Egg’ challenge, as they raced to create the ideal packaging for a hardboiled egg that would be able to withstand the sometimes harsh handling of packages along multiple touch points of the supply cycle.

Attendees also learned about the cutting-edge technology and research that enables DS Smith to create eye-catching and effective packaging for its clients.

Clean Recycling

FEFCO's Influencer Days emphasised the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling for consumers and for businesses, as well as underlining the importance of sustainable innovation at a higher level.

As influencer Kay Prestner (kinship_creativedc), a UK-based Instagrammer with more than 11,000 followers, said of takeaways from the event, “What can we all do at an individual level? We can reduce our consumption, be more mindful in what we do choose to purchase, be diligent with clean recycling (putting the right materials in the right bins) and lobby for change at ground level.”

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

 

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