Ahead of his presentation at this year's Sustainability in Packaging Europe, we spoke to Alexander Reitz, Team Lead at PreZero.
We asked Alexander about his upcoming presentation, what's next for PreZero, the most significant sustainable packaging trends, challenges faced by retailers, and more.
Your talk will focus on packaging data. Isn’t this a very boring topic?
Not at all! Good data is the foundation upon which all strategic decision making should be based upon, and packaging sustainability is no exception. Furthermore, packaging data is extremely important for financial and reporting obligations. However, there are very big challenges and finding smart solution will be crucial for business success.
What makes it so challenging?
It’s incredibly complex. There are many different actors involved and the necessary information is not centralized but in many separate places. This is a common theme for other circular economy topics as well. Packaging data is just one of several examples that require new thinking and closer cooperation across the value chain.
What else should attendees know?
The talk will be incredibly entertaining. I make the best jokes 😉
What is next for PreZero in terms of sustainability packaging solutions? What are you excited about?
I am excited for how far recycled plastic materials have come along. The quality we generate with our HDPE recycling plant is amazing and opens up so many possibilities. A lot of the time, you cannot even tell the difference from virgin material. A big next step will be, to bring more and more of these materials to the market in high-value applications.
What are the biggest packaging trends and innovative solutions that you see as significant in the advancement of sustainable packaging?
By improving sorting and cleaning technologies higher and higher, eventually food-grade recycled plastics are made possible. On the other hand, the paperisation trend continues and new coating technologies allow paper packaging to address markets they could not before. The market went through a phase where we saw a lot paper-based composite packaging. The paper was often “window dressing” for the plastic the packaging still contained. Now we see more and more innovative solutions where it actually feels right to speak of paper packaging, because other materials, that give the paper the necessary barrier properties for example, have gotten so thin and/or soluble.
What are the challenges retailers have to overcome in the next few years?
Again, the sheer complexity of the value chain. Large retailers have so many different products, with so different suppliers that all have their own prerequisites and capabilities. The challenge is to, on the one hand, strive for more standardization and harmonisation of packaging, but on the other hand, to recognize and also allow for all the supplier-specific particularities.
Alexander will be presenting as part of the 'How circularity is acheived in the retail sector' this October, with other presentations in the session including: