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3B Solstar Nucifera A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Abaca Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Algotek All 4 Labels Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Amy Jade Creations Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Astu Eco AVANI BagasseWare Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball Bambu BASF Beatson Clark Best Practice Packaging LLC. Better Packaging Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopak Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carapac Carters Packaging Cartulinas CMPC Celanese Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Coir Lanka Cole Fabrics Colombier Colourform Colpac Columbia Pulp Comp Bio COSIBRA Cotton Barons Coveris Covim Creapaper Crown Holdings Croxsons Glass Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Danimer Scientific Dans Le Sac Decent Packaging Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Distributors Earth Friendly Foodware Earthable ® Earths Tribe East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Eco Safe Eco Tensil Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecomojiware Ecotainer Ecovaganza Ecovative Elevate Packaging ElPack Emerald City Enviro Textiles Enviropack Enviropak Envopap Ethical Ernie Evesham EVLON Evoware Fabri-Kal FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Fold-Pak Footprint Four Eco Foxpak Friendlypak Frusack Futamura Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Graphic Packaging Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Healthy Eco Hemp Black, Inc Hemp Fabric Lab Hemporium Herbal Fab Himalayan Wild Fibres Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible International Paper James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KANEKA Karmic Seed KeCo KINYI Kotkamills Lactips Lean Orb Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry Little Green Panda Loliware London Bio Packaging Magic Film Magnum Packaging Maibao Maistic Make Grow Lab Malai Marinatex Marleys Monsters Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board Mirum Monadnock Mushroom Packaging My Element Myco Works National Flexible Natur Tec Nature & My Nature Works (Ingeo) Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company noissue NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Pactiv Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People Paper Straws GB PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pick Natural Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press Ptt MCC Biochem Pulp2Pack PURE Labels QMilk Quintessential Ranpak RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Samatoa Lotus Textiles Sana Packaging Sappi SBKG Scitech Seaman Paper Seidentraum SFI Tanzania Shredhouse Ltd Simplifi Fabric Sirane SmartSolve SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spear Coco Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Sunkea Surepak Suzano Swanline Taghleef Industries Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Great British Paper Straw Company The Hemp Shop The Jute Shop The Wheat Straws Company Thought Threads of Peru Tinplate Tinware Direct TIPA Total Papers Trama Textiles Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Tulsack Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging UB Pack USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Walki Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wild Silk Markets Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zeoform Zest Packaging ZS Fabrics
Region
Europe
3B Solstar A Slice of Green A Warne AB Packaging Ah! Table! Algalife Algopack Allied Glass Amipak Amphorea Ardagh Group Ardalanish Arjowiggins Baker Labels Bakergoodchild Ball BASF Beatson Clark Billerwkorsnas Bio Bag UK Bio Viron Bio4Life Bio4Pack BIOFASE Biome Plastics Biopac Biopap BioTAK Biotec Biotrem Butterfly Cup Bysshe CamVac Carters Packaging Cellcomb Chapelton Board CKF Clondalkin Coburger Cocccon Cocoform Cocolok Coconutbowls Cole Fabrics Colourform Colpac Comp Bio Cotton Barons Covim Creapaper Cullen Cupffee Cygnus Eco Delipac Dempson Direct Packaging Ltd Do Eat Do Your Bit Down2Earth DUNI Earth Friendly Foodware East Kent Cartons East Yorkshire Hemp Ecofoil Ecological Textiles Ecomenu Ecovaganza ElPack Enviropack Enviropak Ethical Ernie Evesham FF Packaging Fibre Bio Fibre Form Fibrepak Fiesta Green Fleet Luxury Flexi-Hex Floreon Four Eco Foxpak Frusack Gaia Biomaterials Good Life Grado Zero Innovation Green Cell Green Gate Green Sax Greenman Packaging HAVI Hugh Jordan Huhtamaki Hunter Luxury Huski Home Huskup I2R Iggesund InkReadible James Cropper Jardin Corrugated Jars Direct Jelld Packaging Jerry Just Straw KeCo Kotkamills Lactips Lenzing Libeco LignoPure Little Cherry London Bio Packaging Magnum Packaging Maistic Make Grow Lab Marinatex Massilly UK Ltd Masteroast Metsa Board My Element National Flexible Nature & My Natureflex Naturesse NEFFA Nettle Fibre Company NOTPLA Novamont Nutscene O Eco Textiles O-I Glass Offset Offset Warehouse OOMPH! Orange Fibre Organic Silks ORGANOID Packhelp Panda Packaging Paper Pulp Solutions Paper Straw People PaperFoam PaperWise Paptic Parkside Pattesons Glass Ltd Pinatex Planglow Plant Made Bottles Plastiroll (Bioska) Polybags Precious Planet Priory Press QMilk Quintessential RawPac RBECO Reel Brands Repaq ReSpiin Riji KCC SABERT Scitech Shredhouse Ltd Sirane SMC Smurfkit Kappa Solublue Soul Bottles Southern Cross Packaging Spinnova Starlight Sticky Labels Stolzle Glass Group Stora Enso Storopack Sun Packaging Surepak Swanline Tea Direct Terracaps Tessile Eco Bio Test Valley The Cloth House The Hemp Shop The Wheat Straws Company Tinplate Tinware Direct Transcend Packaging Transpack Tri-Star Turtle Bags Tyler Packaging USO Bio VEGEA Vegware Viscose Visican Voidfill VPZ Westfield Thermoform Whole Packs Wild Fibres Wilkins Wool Cool YRG Group Yuggen Zest Packaging
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As part of our ‘Spotlight on…’ series, we caught up with Sian Sutherland, Co-founder of A Plastic Planet, to get her thoughts on the growing war on plastic, reducing plastic waste in our industry and the plastic-free innovations catching her entrepreneurial eye!

Hi Sian! Thanks for joining us. Please could you introduce yourself and give a little insight into your background and experience?
Absolutely! I’m co-founder of A Plastic Planet, an international campaign organisation with one simple goal – to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap.

But in some ways, I am also a highly unlikely eco-warrior. My background is varied. I’m a serial entrepreneur having set up my first business at 25 (a Michelin star restaurant in Soho), founding a packaging design agency specialising in drink and beauty, and most recently co-founding a skincare brand that opened up a new niche in a very crowded space, pregnancy skincare.. So you can imagine, I am no plastic saint! It was upon exiting that business after running it for 11 years and opening up 14 countries that I was advising the board of Plastic Oceans Foundation on the launch of their new documentary – that was my plastic epiphany. The more I found out I knew I had to do something to help ‘turn off the plastic tap’. Although it seems somewhat random, every ounce of experience in my various businesses has really built me for what I do now at A Plastic Planet. Being an entrepreneur also means I am passionate about the power of business to impact change at speed and at scale – which is why we are so pro-business and solutions focused in everything we do.

Covid19 has developed many knock-on problems, one of which is the rising use of plastic. Where have you seen a growing use of plastic and plastic waste across the food & drink and retail sectors over the past few months?

Valid health concerns have meant our throw-away culture has exploded. For a while we all went backwards. Coffee shops stopped accepting reusable mugs. The use of plastic cutlery and cups has gone through the roof. The PPE we’re told to wear in shops and cafes is all adding to the estimated 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves used every month. If we stitched together every mask already produced, and those projected to be produced, we’d be able to cover the entire landmass of Switzerland. Just one year – which now seems a highly credible time span – would result in 3,000 TRILLION plastic face masks being thrown away if we all adopt them.

But instead of moaning about the problem, we decided to demonstrate that we can protect ourselves AND our planet. So we co-created plastic free PPE ReelShieldFlips, wood pulp derived lightweight visors. So, if you have to have something single use, then these can actually be recycled in the paper waste stream.

Would you say there is a misconception around plastic as a solution to hygiene and safety in these sectors?

At a time where every politician ‘stood by the science’, no-one was really listening to the science on plastic. The virus actually survived longer on plastic than most other materials. But of course we all reverted back to using this toxic dinosaur material out of understandable fear. No-one wants to compromise the health and safety of their employees or the public, but we must remember that all the additional plastic we use now will pollute our planet for centuries. That is the legacy we leave in the name of ‘protecting ourselves’.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus crisis has been used by the plastics lobby as a vehicle to peddle even more plastic. In that brief pause at the beginning of lockdown, the global petrochemical industry lobbied hard. The Plastic Industry Association even wrote to the US Secretary of Health asking him to declare plastic bans a public health risk.

Tell us about the fantastic innovation you have created with Reelbrands and Tams Packaging?

One of the main things I have taken away from the pandemic is that we are surrounded by innovators who have seen the destruction caused by Covid-19 and have set out to create solutionsthat put people and planet equal first. We all know that we cannot have healthy people without a healthy planet.

We were proud this year to work with packaging designers Reelbrands and Tams Packaging todevelop plastic-free visors to protect the public without adding to plastic pollution.

If just one percent of UK masks are thrown away, approximately 10 million will end up in the natural environment every month. They are not easily recyclable and we see them littering our streets everywhere.

The Plastic Free PPE REELShieldFlip Visor is made from FSC paper board and cellulose from wood pulp for a clear, mist-free screen. It’s recyclable and home compostable and we have capacity to produce more than one million visors each week. This is not how we usually work. We are in the business of selling change, not things. But we just had to get involved in PPE as we could witness the plastic iceberg looming up ahead very quickly and the most important way to help change happen is to lead by example.

Are there any other inspiring solutions or innovative collaborations which you have seen to continue the industries efforts against the war on plastic?
As an irritatingly optimistic entrepreneur I am very excited by the change and innovation we are seeing, and the pace is picking up.

To reduce our addiction to plastic we need to focus on the three pillars of change – Systems (how can we change how we take, make and have nothing to throw away), Material (when you actually need to take a finite resource from our planet) and Behavioural (the hardest to change as we have trained the public to expect maximum convenience for minimum price). From mycelium to algae coatings and plant proteins to the extraordinary developments in sustainably sourced paper – there are a myriad of new material solutions coming fast. Permanent packaging is going to be a big part of our future as is concentrates. Why are we still shipping products with 95% water content when we can add the water at the point of use?

As ever, where there is change, there is opportunity. The winners will be those that adapt fast. Everyone has a Kodak story and I fear many of the bigger businesses that find it too hard to change course right now, will be tomorrow’s dinosaurs.

Thank you so much for your insights Sian! As businesses and consumers, we all have a responsibility to reduce plastic waste, there really is no excuse anymore. If anyone in the industry wants to get in touch, what is the best way to reach you and the team at A Plastic Planet?

Thank you! I can be reached at sian@aplasticplanet.com or to find out more about the Plastic Free Trust Marks you can emailtrustmark@aplasticplanet.com.