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Demand to cut single-use plastic continues

Not even a pandemic appears to be altering consumers’ wish to cut down on single-use plastic packaging, and the produce industry is working on solutions.

In a Produce Marketing Association BB #:153708 Town Hall webinar June 24, packaging leaders discussed ways to cut plastic usage.

But they warned that cutting plastic to zero is unrealistic.

“We would be naïve to try to get rid of all single use plastics,” said Jeffrey Brandenburg, President and Primary Consultant, JSB Group LLC.

Packaging companies need to do a better job telling both their customers and consumers the work they’re doing on it, said Tatiana Perez, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, PPC Flexible Packaging.

“We must address customers’ needs but also educate them,” she said. “We should communicate our sustainable practices.”

Mishalin Modena, Senior Business Development Manager, Destiny Packaging, said her company is responding to rising demand for compostable and recyclable packaging.

“The berry industry especially is looking to get away from single use plastics,” she said.

In addition to more compostable plastic containers and bags, Modena said fiber trays and fiber top seals are gaining popularity.

But before recyclable packing can take the next step, the recycling industry needs to improve its infrastructure, said Brandenburg.

And composting has to move more toward consumer compostable, where they can compose in their own yards, he said, rather than industrial compostable, which requires higher head and professional equipment.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services