If you are involved in the business of packaging, then environmental conservation is going to be high on your agenda, as we all strive to adopt sustainable practices. Leading this green transition in the industrial packaging sector are CurTec and its customer, Laboratoires Audevard. Their journey towards a sustainable future is a testament to how innovation and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand, especially in sectors like our own which have been traditionally dominated by non-renewable materials. 

For several years, CurTec has been at the forefront of introducing plant-based packaging solutions, significantly contributing not only to their own sustainability goals but also to the goals of numerous clients and partners like Industrial Packaging. 

The Legislative Background 

This sustainable direction is of course desirable ethically but also it is driven by legislation from all the major players and territories across the globe.   

It’s important to acknowledge the upcoming changes heralded by the European Union’s forthcoming Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). Expected to be published in either the second or third quarter of 2024, this legislation signifies a pivotal shift towards more sustainable packaging practices, underscoring the necessity for industries to adapt swiftly to its directives. 


During the recent International Industrial Packaging Conference (IIPC), Rob provided a comprehensive overview of this significant legislative development, which is not only extremely relevant to our operations but also to the broader context of global environmental sustainability efforts. He touched upon the multifaceted nature of the PPWR, including its ambitious goal that all packaging within the EU should be recyclable by 2030. This aligns with broader targets extending into 2040, especially concerning plastic packaging, and introduces stringent mandates on labelling and waste management practices. 


The introduction of PPWR marks a departure from the EU’s traditionally lenient approach to packaging regulation. This change is driven by the necessity to meet urgent environmental challenges and harmonise regulatory standards across regions—a goal that resonates with our participation in initiatives like SEFFI, aimed at influencing and standardising regulations on a global scale. 


Key Aspects of the PPWR 

Recyclability and Recycling Goals: By 2030, the PPWR mandates that all packaging must be recyclable, with significant recycling efforts expected to scale by 2035. This initiative is a cornerstone of the regulation, pushing for a substantial increase in recycling rates across the board. 

Reuse and Refill Measures: In a bid to curtail single-use packaging, the regulation stipulates that certain types of packaging must offer reusable or refillable options by the 2030-2040 timeline. This approach not only targets waste reduction but also encourages a shift towards more sustainable consumption patterns. 

Incorporation of Recycled Materials: The PPWR sets forth ambitious targets for incorporating recycled materials into new plastic packaging, aiming to foster a circular economy. By 2030, such packaging must contain between 10-35% recycled content, a figure that is set to rise to 50-65% by 2040. 

Bans and Reduction Targets: Specific packaging types will be banned under the new regulation, complemented by a targeted 15% reduction in packaging waste per capita by 2040, relative to 2018 levels. 

The Road Ahead 

With the PPWR, the EU takes a bold step towards revolutionising packaging standards, aiming to significantly mitigate packaging waste and enhance sustainability. This legislative move is timely, considering the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections in June 2024, which add an element of urgency to the adoption of the PPWR to prevent delays in its implementation. 


For our industry, the PPWR presents both challenges and opportunities. It necessitates a strategic overhaul of our packaging practices, requiring innovative solutions to meet the recyclability, content, and reduction targets set by the regulation. Moreover, the emphasis on recycled content and the push towards a circular economy present a unique opportunity for us to lead in the development and application of sustainable packaging solutions. 


In conclusion, the PPWR is a landmark regulation that will significantly impact our industry’s approach to packaging. As we prepare for its implementation, it is crucial that we stay informed and adaptable, leveraging our involvement in platforms like SEFFI to influence and align with these regulatory changes. Our commitment to sustainability and regulatory compliance will not only ensure our preparedness for the PPWR but also position us, as well as our leaders and collaborators as leaders in the global shift towards sustainable packaging.  


Sustainable Partnerships 

A great example of such noteworthy collaboration is the work our partners at Curtec have done with Laboratoires Audevard, a pharmaceutical entity devoted to equine health. Audevard’s recent decision to switch to CurTec’s plant-based drums, popularly known as Biobased Drums, marks a pivotal moment in their quest for environmental stewardship 

Laboratoires Audevard’s dedication to horse well-being is mirrored in its comprehensive range of healthcare solutions, including medicinal products and feed supplements. A significant hurdle is the fact that recycled plastic often fails to meet food-grade standards. This limitation has historically restricted companies within the pharmaceutical and food sectors from transitioning away from virgin plastic, due to stringent safety and quality requirements. This innovation offers pharmaceutical and food companies a viable pathway to embrace more sustainable packaging practices without compromising on safety or quality standards. The switch to biobased packaging emerged from a deep-seated desire to minimise ecological impact without compromising on customer experience.  This decision underscores a broader industry shift towards eco-designed packaging, and Audevard now proudly states that 80% of its packaging is ecologically designed, embodying the principles of a circular economy. 

Plant-based drums 

The transition to plant-based drums was driven by multiple factors. CurTec’s packaging solutions not only offer robust protection against moisture, which is crucial for preserving the quality of Audevard’s products but they also feature user-friendly designs such as screw lids with handgrips. This design facilitates easy handling and reusability, considerations that are paramount for Audevard’s feed supplements, as they are not used in a single serving. Furthermore, the aesthetic alignment of CurTec’s white biobased drums with Audevard’s branding further illustrates how sustainability does not require a compromise on visual appeal. These drums look great! 

Biobased Drums- Close the Loop 

CurTec’s commitment to sustainability is deeply embedded in its operations. The use of biobased HDPE, derived from sugarcane ethanol, highlights an innovative approach to reducing CO2 emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. This choice of material not only ensures the same performance levels as conventional plastics but also aligns with CurTec’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions in its value chain. The sustainability of biobased plastics is further enhanced by their recyclability, offering a closed-loop solution that mitigates environmental impact. 

This recent innovation from CurTec is a beacon for companies looking to align their operations with environmental sustainability goals, proving that responsible choices can coexist with business objectives and customer satisfaction. It’s a compelling example of how innovation and sustainability can lead to a better world, one packaging solution at a time. 


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