STOPP project to advance circular strategies for food plastic packaging

SIRE and the EU have agreed a partnership to launch the STOPP Initiative and advance sustainable food packaging and plastic waste reduction

The project aims to create the basis for a new food packaging value chain based on the “5 Rs”: Refuse, Reduce, Redesign, Reuse and Recycle. It follows on the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, with ambitious goals to cut down on packaging waste by 2030.

The project will involve all the links in the food packaging value chain, from the plastic or the agri-food industry to the end users, the food retail industry, or policymakers.

STOPP will create circular strategies for plastic usage and processing. It will also generate awareness campaigns within a number of players that involves profiles from every stage of the food packaging value chain. According to a press statement, some of its specific actions will be:

  • To analyse the impact of plastic waste in different ecosystems.
  • To monitor the current use of plastics in the food packaging industry.
  • To create a sustainable business model that can be replicated.
  • To take actions that enhance recycling.
  • Conducting a customer voice study.

STOPP wants to lead Europe’s transition into a more sustainable usage of food packaging that keeps food safety standards.

For 36 months, fourteen partners from seven countries will collaborate to maximise the project efforts and results. The project outcomes are meant to set a basis for the European decision-making process towards plastic usage in the food value chain and are in line with the European Green Deal.

Plastic Recyclers Europe, an organisation representing the voice of the European plastics recyclers, estimated that almost 10 million tonnes of polypropylene and high-density polyethene, the most common plastics used for food packaging, can end up being wasted in only one year.

This problem can be fixed by creating sustainable and smart ways of plastic usage along the value chain as, although the situation is improving, there is space for improvement. As an example, many companies are awarding their customers if they reuse packaging, but there are still many that don’t do so.

The bodies note that another specific problem is the consumer’s attitudes towards their own recycling attitudes.

Most of the studies are based on self-reported practices, and these often offer limited insight into real-life actions and can be biased, especially concerning socially desirable behaviours such as recycling. Good practices among the companies involved in the food value chain need to be improved, as well as it is needed a better understanding of the customers’ real-life attitudes and routines, the bodies add.

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