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The requirements for suitable packaging have become extremely demanding, particularly in the areas of medical and food.

Not only does the packaging have to be designed as fit for purpose, but its end of life fate has to be a major consideration. The whole life cycle approach has been shown to deliver commercial benefits through the products’ reuse or recovery, including recycling to minimise the impact on the environment.

Properties in modern packaging that protect,  preserve and help sell products include:

  • Flexibility
  • Lightness
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Transparency
  • Toughness
  • Safety
  • Fuel saving

All polymer based packaging must meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements and has to protect contents from damage and leakage. In addition there are invariably expectations regarding aesthetics, merchandising, cost, greenhouse gas emissions and so on for the polymer materials used by the packaging industry.

Some facts about packaging in the UK:

  • In 2013, we used around 4.7 million tonnes of plastic in consumer and non-consumer packaging
  • It takes 75% less energy to make a plastic bottle from recycled plastic compared with using ‘virgin’ materials
  • We now recycle more than 50% of the UK’s plastic drinks bottles
  • Recycled plastic bottles (clear PET), at today’s prices, fetch around £200-£300 per tonne
  • Recycling 1 tonne of plastic bottles saves 1.5 tonne of carbon

Source WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme)

As some discarded packaging can be harmful for the environment, RAPRA fully supports the recycling of polymer based materials and the development of biodegradable options. We can help companies choose the optimum materials for packaging use, using a ‘whole life’ approach to contribute to the sustainable use of resources. RAPRA offers access to a full range of material selection, testing and analysis services including:

  • Material Identification
  • Leachables and Extractables Studies
  • Failure Analysis
  • Product Development
  • Quality Assurance
  • Training

To access a broad range of expertise including commercial laboratories, universities, government agencies and other industry bodies, submit your enquiry now.