Industry professionals offer insight into future of circular packaging at European Forum Alpbach

At the recent European Forum Alpbach in Austria, packaging-converting giant Constantia Flexibles presented a compelling content session titled, " Packaging with a Purpose: Understanding the Power of Circular Packaging." This debate emphasized the importance of more-sustainable packaging solutions and the necessity for a holistic approach to the life cycle of flexible packaging.

Packaging, in modern times, has become an integral part of daily life, safeguarding our most precious commodities from food and hygiene products to pharmaceuticals. However, there is a growing need to balance functionality and environmental impact. A universal solution doesn't exist. Constantia delivers various packaging options, from film and foil to paper, ensuring goods are safely packed with the lowest impact on the environment. The journey begins with understanding a product's lifecycle. Insights on this were shared by Martina Wagner, group sustainability expert-Constantia Flexibles.

The content session also featured a keynote address from Prof. Achim Grefenstein, head-Group R&D at Constantia Flexibles, shedding light on the evolution of "Circularity and Packaging Design" and what lies ahead, possibly beyond 2030.

In a lively and holistic panel discussion (above), the session highlighted the importance of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), innovative solutions, emphasized the crucial role of policymakers and the entire packaging value chain. It focused on key factors shaping the future of the circular economy. It provided comprehensive insights for policymakers and encouraged dialogue with key players along the value chain for a better understanding of flexible packaging.

The panel comprised members:

  • Lukas Mandl, member of the European Parliament
  • Sarah Warscher, pepresentative from Austria's Green Party
  • Marianne Neumüller-Klapper, sustainability dir.-Nespresso Austria
  • Guido Aufdemkamp, exec dir.-Flexible Packaging Europe (FPE) and European Aluminium Foil Assn.
  • Daniel Winkler, member of Executive Board, Constantia Flexibles

"Just as Nespresso is committed to a circular economy, we too are working on the transformation of our customers' product portfolios. For that purpose, understanding what packaging actually does is essential. In fact, there are still challenges we need to overcome, and everyone needs to understand them. Education and collaboration with the wider public is key. Through events like the European Forum Alpbach, we hope to create an open dialogue [for] actionable solutions for a more sustainable future," says Daniel Winkler, member of the Board of Constantia Flexibles.

“Coffee capsules do not count as packaging, so they cannot simply be returned via the public collection of waste materials. To make recycling of used coffee capsules even easier in the future, we are focusing on collaboration across all sectors to drive large-scale, long-term projects with proven circularity effects. An initial pilot project has already been carried out with the Austrian Coffee and Tea Assn. and Altstoff Recycling Austria AG (ARA) in the town of Gnas. As part of the project, we collected coffee capsules of all brands and materials and set up additional collection containers, which enabled us to significantly increase the total amount of capsules collected," added Marianne Neumüller-Klapper, sustainability dir.-Nespresso Austria.