Knowledge gaps for perishable liquid food packs threaten Green Deal

Professor Fredrik Nilsson, Packaging Logistics, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Policymakers are currently deliberating on packaging reuse targets in the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). But do they have the necessary evidence to make those decisions for all packaged products? A systematic review of 159 relevant scientific studies on packaging alternatives for perishable liquid foods[1] — milk, juices, nectars and plant-based drinks — suggests there is a clear gap in holistic impact assessment knowledge.

Packaging of perishable liquid foods exists in various forms such as aseptic paper-based beverage cartons or non-aseptic solutions such as plastic or glass bottles. Each packaging solution has an impact on the quality, safety and shelf life of the food it contains. In assessing packaging solutions, efforts should be made to understand the wider context of reuse targets for perishable liquid foods, with consideration for packaging types, food security, food safety, food waste and environmental impacts.

In both research and policy contexts, packaging is still often considered separately from its contents in impact assessments.

However, in both research and policy contexts, packaging is still often considered separately from its contents in impact assessments, despite an existing body of knowledge and evidence showing that food and its packaging should be treated as an integrated unit.

Consequently, policymakers served only with evidence of packaging impacts could be misled and make inaccurate decisions when discussing the measures included in the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). This risks undermining the EU’s Green Deal ambitions.

The importance of the analysis

One of the primary objectives of the proposed PPWR is to ensure that “all packaging in the EU is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030”, in line with the EU Green Deal and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. Setting reusable packaging targets was always likely to spark a robust debate with the food industry. The European food system uses a large amount of packaging and the use of single-use packaging in particular has grown significantly in the past decades. For perishable liquid foods, producers today prefer recyclable single-use packaging — such as aseptic beverage cartons — for the sale of 75 percent of milk, 59 percent of juices and a major share of plant-based drinks in the EU[2].

We undertook a comprehensive and systematic analysis of all identifiable studies on single-use versus reusable packaging for perishable liquid foods.

With a specific focus on the 154 billion liters of perishable liquid foods produced in the EU each year[3], a more fundamental question occurred to the Packaging Logistics division in the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. We wondered if a sufficient body of evidence existed to help policymakers make packaging reuse decisions, so we undertook a comprehensive and systematic analysis of all identifiable studies on single-use versus reusable packaging for perishable liquid foods.

The scale of the knowledge gap that we uncovered was eye-opening.

Findings from the study

Based on an analysis of 159 identified scientific papers, we came to three main conclusions.

First, the research and knowledge of food waste for single-use packaging compared to reusable packaging alternatives for perishable liquid foods was clearly insufficient. No studies were found that evaluated reusable packaging for such foods in relation to food waste, consequently no studies were found comparing single-use packaging with reusable packaging in this regard. A few studies were found that evaluated different single-use packaging alternatives in terms of the packaging and the liquid food being contained, finding that multilayer carton packages had the lowest environmental impact. Most environmentally-focused studies on food packaging did not consider the food saved or wasted.

The research and knowledge of food waste for single-use packaging compared to reusable packaging alternatives for perishable liquid foods was clearly insufficient.

Second, there were few studies comparing reusable and single-use packaging for perishable liquid foods in terms of food safety and quality. Instead, the majority of sampled papers simply provided insights and evidence for critical factors to be considered in food production and supply chain handling to keep liquid foods safe and of sufficient quality. This analysis surfaced several challenges related to reusable packaging, some related to food safety and others to quality limitations. For example, some studies pointed out quality-related challenges from plastic refillable bottles, such as the absorption of chemicals from previous use.

Finally, while there were many papers addressing shelf life as a critical aspect for perishable liquid foods — and many that empirically provided evidence of lower food waste in retail and at the consumer stage when shelf life is prolonged — there were still sizable knowledge gaps. No studies were found that compared the shelf life of single-use versus reusable packaging for perishable liquid foods. None were found that evaluated the shelf life of reusable packaging for such foods in relation to food waste, and none were found that clarified what optimal shelf life is for different products.

In our view, the key knowledge gaps at this time are: evidence of food waste impacts for reusable alternatives, so that a comparison with recyclable single-use packaging is possible; comparative studies on food safety and quality impacts through using single-use and reusable alternatives; shelf life comparisons; impact assessments that also take into account climate and land-use impacts; and, most importantly, food packaging studies that take into account the product that the packaging contains and protects. 

Key knowledge gaps need to be addressed

Policymakers should be insisting on accessing a more holistic knowledge base built on assessment of impact, before they finalize reusable packaging targets in the PPWR. 

The evidence we have today suggests that greater food safety, food security and food quality could be achieved by increasing the use of recyclable single-use packaging.

A more holistic perspective is crucial to help policymakers avoid measures that might miss higher environmental gains, compromise consumers’ health and wellbeing, and reconfigure the packaging industry. Further knowledge might indicate that reusable packaging for perishable liquid foods is feasible under specific circumstances. However, the evidence we have today suggests that greater food safety, food security and food quality could be achieved by increasing the use of recyclable single-use packaging. Support for that choice is already demonstrated today through the packaging chosen by the majority of European milk, juice and plant-based drink producers.

[1] Perishable foods are defined in EU legislation under Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 as foods which, from a microbiological point of view, are highly perishable and are therefore likely after a short period to constitute an immediate danger to human health.

[2] AIJN, Liquid Fruit Market Report, 2018, p.7

[3] Key figures on the European food chain, Eurostat, 2021

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How to reduce PFAS in your drinking water, according to experts | CNN

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In the next three years, drinking water in the United States may be a bit safer from potentially toxic chemicals that have been detected in the blood of 98% of Americans.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS are a family of thousands of man-made chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. A number of PFAS have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, fertility issues, high cholesterol, hormone disruption, liver damage, obesity and thyroid disease.

The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed on Tuesday stringent new limits on levels of six PFAS chemicals in public water systems. Under the proposed rule, public systems that provide water to at least 15 service connections or 25 people will have three years to implement testing procedures, begin notifying the public about PFAS levels, and reduce levels if above the new standard, the EPA said.

Two of the most well-studied and potentially toxic chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, cannot exceed 4 parts per trillion in drinking water, compared with a previous health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, the EPA said.

Another four chemicals — PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS and GenX — will be subject to a hazard index calculation to determine whether the levels of these PFAS pose a potential risk. The calculation is “a tool the EPA uses to address the cumulative risks from all four of those chemicals,” said Melanie Benesh, vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a consumer organization that monitors exposure to PFAS and other chemicals.

“The EPA action is a really important and historic step forward,” Benesh said. “While the proposed regulations only address a few PFAS, they are important marker chemicals. I think requiring water systems to test and treat for these six will actually do a lot to address other PFAS that are in the water as well.”

For people who are concerned about PFAS exposure, three years or so is a long time. What can consumers do now to limit the levels of PFAS in their drinking water?

First, look up levels of PFAS in your local public water system, suggested David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. The advocacy nonprofit has created a national tap water database searchable by zip code that lists PFAS and other concerning chemicals, as well as a national map that illustrates where PFAS has been detected in the US.

However, not all water utilities currently test for pollutants, and many rural residents rely on wells for water. Anyone who wants to personally test their water can purchase a test online or from a certified lab, Andrews said.

“The most important thing is to ensure the testing method can detect down to at least four parts per trillion or lower of PFAS,” he said. “There are a large number of labs across the country certified to test to that level, so there are a lot of options available.”

If levels are concerning, consumers can purchase a water filter for their tap. NSF, formerly the National Sanitation Foundation, has a list of recommended filters.

“The water filters that are most effective for PFAS are reverse osmosis filters, which are more expensive, about in the $200 range,” Andrews said. Reverse osmosis filters can remove a wide range of contaminants, including dissolved solids, by forcing water through various filters.

“Granular activated carbon filters are more common and less expensive but not quite as effective or consistent for PFAS,” he said, “although they too can remove a large number of other contaminants.”

Reverse osmosis systems use both carbon-based filters and reverse osmosis membranes, Andrews explained. Water passes through the carbon filter before entering the membrane.

“The important part is that you have to keep changing those filters,” he said. “If you don’t change that filter, and it becomes saturated, the levels of PFAS in the filtered water can actually be above the levels in the tap water.”

Carbon filters are typically replaced every six months, “while the reverse osmosis filter is replaced on a five-year time frame,” he added. “The cost is relatively comparable over their lifetime.”

Another positive: Many of the filters that work for PFAS also filter other contaminants in water, Andrews said.

Drinking water is not the only way PFAS enters the bloodstream. Thousands of varieties of PFAS are used in many of the products we purchase, including nonstick cookware, infection-resistant surgical gowns and drapes, mobile phones, semiconductors, commercial aircraft, and low-emissions vehicles.

The chemicals are also used to make carpeting, clothing, furniture, and food packaging resistant to stains, water and grease damage. Once treated, the report said, textiles emit PFAS over the course of their lifetimes, escaping into the air and groundwater in homes and communities.

Made from a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms that do not readily degrade in the environment, PFAS are known as “forever chemicals.” Due to their long half life in the human body, it can take some PFAS years to completely leave the body, according to a 2022 report by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

“Some of these chemicals have half-lives in the range of five years,” National Academies committee member Jane Hoppin, an environmental epidemiologist and director of the Center for Human Health and the Environment at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, told CNN previously.

“Let’s say you have 10 nanograms of PFAS in your body right now. Even with no additional exposure, five years from now you would still have 5 nanograms.

“Five years later, you would have 2.5 and then five years after that, you’d have one 1.25 nanograms,” she continued. “It would be about 25 years before all the PFAS leave your body.”

The 2022 National Academies report set “nanogram” levels of concern and encouraged clinicians to conduct blood tests on patients who are worried about exposure or who are at high risk. (A nanogram is equivalent to one-billionth of a gram.)

People in “vulnerable life stages” — such as during fetal development in pregnancy, early childhood and old age — are at high risk, the report said. So are firefighters, workers in fluorochemical manufacturing plants, and those who live near commercial airports, military bases, landfills, incinerators, wastewater treatment plants and farms where contaminated sewage sludge is used.

The PFAS-REACH (Research, Education, and Action for Community Health) project, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, gives the following advice on how to avoid PFAS at home and in products:

  • Stay away from stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, and don’t use waterproofing sprays.
  • Look for the ingredient polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, or other “fluoro” ingredients on product labels.
  • Avoid nonstick cookware. Instead use cast-iron, stainless steel, glass or enamel products.
  • Boycott takeout containers and other food packaging. Instead cook at home and eat more fresh foods.
  • Don’t eat microwave popcorn or greasy foods wrapped in paper.
  • Choose uncoated nylon or silk dental floss or one that is coated in natural wax.

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Top Risk Factor to Good Health Is Probably Not What You Think

March 7, 2023 — If you think the biggest risk factor to good health is smoking or genetics, think again. 

According to Stephen Kopecky, MD, a preventive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, “nutrition is now the number one cause of early death and early disease in our country and the world.” Moreover, he says that while having genes for disease will increase your risk by 30% to 40%, having a bad lifestyle for disease will increase your risk by 300% to 400%.

About 20 years ago, Kopecky says, the cause of death worldwide changed from infection to non-infection (like non-communicable diseases). “In those last 20 years, that’s grown in terms of what kills us and what gets us sick,” he says. “The three big non-communicable diseases are heart disease, cancer, and rapidly rising is Alzheimer’s. But there’s also diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure — all those things are also related to diet.”

Forty-eight-year-old James, of Fredericksburg, VA, knows this all too well. James asked that his last name not be printed, to protect his privacy. For the last 30 years, he’s been managing type 1 diabetes and complications of insulin resistance, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and low testosterone. As a former Division 1 college athlete, James exercised regularly and ate what he believed to be a responsible diet.

“Those weirdos in the gym at 5 a.m. who eat chicken salads for every lunch? Yeah, that’s me,” says James. 

But he went from a playing weight of 202 pounds to 320 pounds, despite continuing to lift weights and do cardiovascular exercise at least 5 days a week. “Whenever I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale, I got skeptical looks when I made claims of ‘exercising and eating right.’ In all honesty, I thought I was,” says James, noting he followed a low-carb, high-protein diet. “But I didn’t count calories or consider the impact of fat on my already insulin-resistant body,” he says.

After visiting many health professionals, James finally found success with Nancy Farrell Allen, a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Previous doctors applauded his diet, but Allen explained that his insulin resistance was linked to the amount of fat James consumed. “The more fat in my system, the more insulin I needed to inject,” he says. “The more insulin I injected, the more weight I’d gain. The more weight I’d gain, the more insulin I’d inject, continuing this regrettable cycle.” 

Allen suggested he shift his diet to a more balanced approach, with a strict eye on fat. “She completely changed my way of thinking about food, broke my belief that all carbs are bad, helped me identify my daily caloric needs, and focused me on eating a balanced diet enriched with fiber,” says James, who then lost 45 pounds in 3 months. “I found myself having more energy, sleeping better, focusing better, and taking less insulin than I had in nearly 20 years,” he says. 

Another patient, Sheila Jalili of Miami, took a proactive approach to her health when she turned 40, getting some tests and lab work done for a baseline comparison. “My BMI was around 20, I exercise every day, and I don’t have any diseases in my family,” Jalili says, noting everything checked out fine. 

She continued her annual checkups and tests, noticing her triglycerides and cholesterol numbers increasing. When her cholesterol reached alarming levels and her triglycerides skyrocketed to 1,230, she met with Kopecky, the Mayo Clinic cardiologist, who prescribed fish oil and asked about her diet. Jalili started tracking what she ate and did an exhaustive review of her fridge contents, noting the sodium levels, cholesterol levels, and fat levels in the foods. 

To her surprise, she discovered she ate a lot of unhealthy carbs and fats. “I went into overload. I changed everything. I did so much research,” she says. After 42 days of eating extremely healthy, she dropped her total cholesterol by about 100, halved her HDL, and reduced her triglycerides from 1,238 to 176.

A bad lifestyle often starts with what you eat — and what you don’t. Even if you think you’re eating healthy, you might want to revisit your diet. In particular, reconsider ultra-processed foods (like doughnuts, hot dogs, and fast-food burgers). Though convenient and affordable, they’re inflammatory and, over time, can cause many health issues.

“It bothers our tissues, our heart, our arteries, our brains, our pancreas, our liver, and our lungs, and that leads to disease,” Kopecky says. “It could be in the brain with Alzheimer’s, the heart with coronary artery disease, or cancers elsewhere.”

Ideally, you’d immediately overhaul an unhealthy diet. But that’s not a reality for most people. Making sweeping changes all at once can feel overwhelming. Take small steps instead.

Baby-Step Your Way to a Healthier Diet

Before making any dietary changes, Selvi Rajagopal, MD, MPH, advises having a conversation with your health care provider to figure out your specific health status. Rajagopal, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, says that, generally speaking, everyone will benefit from eating a balanced, healthy diet filled with a variety of nutrient-rich foods. 

That includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat/fat-free dairy, and healthy fats. However, talking with your doctor can help you identify any specific nutrient deficiencies, health issues, and lifestyle factors that need to be addressed. Then you can devise a healthy eating plan that works specifically for your needs.

Revamp how you organize your refrigerator. Most refrigerators put two opaque drawers labeled “Fruits” and “Vegetables” at the bottom, where you’re least likely to see them. Kopecky advises moving your produce to eye level and put the less-healthy options in those bottom drawers. “When we open the fridge, that’s what we see, and that’s what we tend to eat,” he says.

Change your perspective. “There isn’t one healthy weight or one healthy size,” says Rajagopal. Don’t aim for a number on the scale or a certain BMI or certain clothing size. Every body is different, not only in shape and size, but in health risk factors. Also, many people feel really overwhelmed trying to “be healthy.” Rajagopal says, “Healthy is just trying to do something to improve your health, and that improvement can be really small.”

Understand how to read food labels. Allen takes every patient to the grocery store to read and understand food labeling and to highlight different foods. She shares the guidelines below with her patients. 

  • Fat: Low-fat foods contain 3 grams of fat or less per serving.
  • Sugar: Four grams equal 1 teaspoon. When a serving of sugar lists 12 grams of sugar in a 2/3-cup serving, that means it contains roughly 3teaspoonsof sugar.
  • Fiber: A naturally high-fiber food can contain about 5 grams of fiber per serving. 
  • Sodium: A low-sodium food contains less than or equal to 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. 
  • Protein: Seven grams of protein equal about 1 ounce of protein. 

This approach is particularly important as the FDA is exploring a change in which foods can be labeled as healthy. The agency in September unveiled a proposed rule to try and counter the fact that, as the agency claims, more than 80% of people in the U.S. aren’t eating enough vegetables, fruit, and dairy. And most people consume too much added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

Under the proposed rule, in order to be labeled “healthy” on food packaging, products must contain “a certain meaningful amount” of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (e.g., fruit, vegetable, dairy, etc.) recommended by the agency’s dietary guidelines.

They must also stick to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. 

Breakfast cereals, for example, would need to contain 0.75 ounces of whole grains and contain no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, and 2.5 grams of added sugars to qualify, the agency said.

Don’t fear carbs or fat! Your body needs both to survive, as carbs help fuel your body and fat helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, and E. But not all carbs or fats are equal. Choose complex carbohydrates found naturally in plant-based foods (like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) over simple carbohydrates often found in processed foods (like white bread, enriched pasta, and white rice). 

Similarly, strive to include healthy, unsaturated fats (including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) found in foods such as fatty fish, vegetable oils, avocadoes, and some seeds and nuts. Avoid foods with unhealthy saturated and trans fats found primarily in animal products (such as meat, eggs, high-fat dairy) and highly processed foods (frozen pizza and microwave popcorn). “Having a baseline understanding of what this means makes you a much savvier consumer,” says Rajagopal, who suggests going to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website to learn about these food components. 

Adopt healthier cooking methods. Maybe you’re buying healthy foods but preparing them in unhealthy ways. That lean, skinless chicken breast just got a lot less healthy once you breaded it, deep-fried it, and smothered it with cheese. Allen suggests lighter, leaner techniques such as baking, roasting, grilling, and steaming. “Frying, sautéing, breading, au gratin, buttery, and Alfredo all add additional calories to burn off,” says Allen.

Start small. Eliminate the all-or-nothing thinking, such as, “I want to cut out all sugar” or “I want to cook all my meals at home.” 

If you’ve been eating sugar your whole life or eating dinner out 5 nights a week, eliminating this bad habit at once is a huge undertaking. Instead, start small. For instance, reduce one sugary food item you frequently eat. 

“Maybe it’s soda,” says Rajagopal. “Maybe you go from four cans of soda a day to two cans. Make one change and see how it goes for a week or two.” 

Ditto for cooking — aim to add one more home-cooked meal a week rather than trying to cook at home 7 days a week. She also advises bringing in an accountability buddy to help you stay on track. 

Take one bite. “If you take a bite of a ground meat or sausage and replace that with a bite of something that’s a little healthier — like black beans or a vegetable — then, after doing this for a couple of years, that actually reduces your risk of heart attack and reduces your risk in the long-term of cancers and Alzheimer’s,” advises Kopecky. “Literally one bite difference.”

By making small, consistent changes, they can have a big impact over time. Pick one tip that resonates most, implement it, and stick to it until it becomes second nature. Once mastered, move on to another tip, building on that foundation of success.

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No silver bullet: Ensuring the right packaging solutions for Europe

When most people think of McDonald’s they likely think of quality food, good value and consistently reliable convenient service. But I hope they also think about our values.

At McDonald’s, we care deeply about our impact on the world. Our purpose is to feed and foster local communities. We are always striving to use our influence and scale to make a positive impact on the planet and in the communities we serve across Europe and globally. We are on a journey to help implement and accelerate solutions to keep waste out of nature and valuable materials in use.

Our purpose is to feed and foster local communities.

During my trip to Europe, I’ve seen some of these solutions in action. While in Brussels I had the opportunity to visit one of our restaurants at the forefront of advancing our circularity goals. McDonald’s is the first major partner of a pioneering initiative ‘The Cup Collective’. It is a great project by Stora Enso and Huhtamaki to collect cardboard beverage and ice cream cups in and around our restaurants and recycle them on an industrial scale into paper fiber. At our busy  restaurant in Brussels-North station, I saw the initiative firsthand. This is a fantastic example of several stakeholders working together to solve a problem through their expertise and innovation.

I know policymakers across the EU are trying to solve many of the greatest challenges we face today, including Europe’s growing packaging waste problem, and we at McDonald’s fully support this, as the example above demonstrates. The problem is, history itself is littered with examples of the unintended consequences of well-meaning policies and laws. I believe the current Packaging and Packaging Waste proposal by the EU is one such regulation. By focusing solely on reusable packaging, we at McDonald’s and many of our partners and competitors in the informal dining out sector believe that Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) will actually be counterproductive to the overall goals of the Green Deal. And we support the goals of the Green Deal, which is why this concerns us.

The informal eating-out sector is particularly complex and is not well understood. We feel the impact study the EU commissioned ahead of the PPWR proposal did not necessarily reflect that as much as it could have. We want such important decisions to be based on science, facts, and evidence, which is why we commissioned a report with the global management consultancy Kearney to assess environmental, economic, hygiene and affordability impacts of various packaging solutions. As a result of this, we firmly believe the proposal will be damaging not only for the environment, but also for the economy, food safety and for consumers.

Of course, the idea of reusing something over and over again as opposed to only once seems like the obvious solution — but it’s more complicated than that. For reuse models to have a positive impact on the environment, consumers need to return the reusables. A reusable cup needs to be returned and reused 50 to 100 times — whether for takeaway or dine-in — to make it environmentally preferable to a single-use paper cup.

Reusables by their very nature also need to be washed every time they’re used. For an industry like ours, serving millions of customers every day, that requires significant energy and water. Europe’s water infrastructure is already under stress, and the Kearney study shows reusable packaging requirements for dine-in restaurants would increase water use — and could require up to 4 billion liters of additional water each year. Washing also requires more energy resulting in increased greenhouse emissions. The study shows that a shift to 100 percent reusable packaging by 2030 would increase greenhouse emissions by up to 50 percent for dine-in and up to 260 percent for takeaway. They also require specialist washing to ensure they meet hygiene standards.

The study shows that a shift to 100 percent reusable packaging by 2030 would increase greenhouse emissions.

When it comes to plastics we are particularly concerned. McDonald’s has made huge progress when it comes to reducing plastic in our supply chain and restaurants. In the European Union, more than 90 percent of our packaging is locally sourced, primarily from European paper packaging suppliers. We are shifting packaging materials to more sustainable alternatives to ensure easier recovery and recycling. 92.8 percent (by weight) of McDonald’s food packaging in Europe is wood fiber and 99.4 percent of that fiber packaging comes from recycled or certified sources.

Worryingly though, the study we commissioned says that reuse models will lead to a sharp increase in plastic materials in Europe.Reuse targets proposed in the PPWR will create four times the amount of plastic packaging waste for dine-in, and 16 times for takeaway. That’s a lot more plastic instead of recyclable paper and cardboard and is the opposite of what the EU wants to achieve.

So, what should be done? Given that Kearney’s data shows recyclable, fiber-based packaging has the greater potential to benefit the environment, economy, food safety and consumers, we believe the EU should pause and conduct a full impact study before moving ahead. The European Commission’s current impact assessment lacks depth and does not consider economic and food safety aspects. Member countries should not unilaterally introduce legislation before this has been assessed to avoid fragmentation of the single market.

We believe the EU should pause and conduct a full impact study before moving ahead.

In dine in and takeaway, we are looking for equivalence of treatment between recycled and recyclable (paper based) single use packaging and reusable tableware. Any legislation should take into account the specific needs of complex business sectors, and the right packaging solutions.

A rush to a solution for a complicated situation will only make the problem worse. I hope that the report McDonald’s commissioned and launched with Kearney will stimulate the policy debate about the mix of solutions needed. Europe has a proud history of collaboration and pragmatism when it comes to solving important problems and challenges, and I am confident we can draw on that when it comes to this particular issue — because there really is no silver bullet when it comes to solving Europe’s packaging problem.

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