The two driving forces for reducing single-use plastic packaging are (1) developing an industrially optimised reuse model and (2) upscaling fibre-based packaging solutions.
R3PACK focuses on the two levers to take concrete actions.
Plastic is fantastic, thanks to its barrier properties it not only protects, but also increases the shelf life of produce. The industrial uptake allows a cheap and fast-paced production of plastic.
Switching to fibre-based packaging entails overcoming several technical challenges: finding the right technology combinations to functionalize the fibres, meeting barrier requirements (oxygen, water-vapor, grease, ...) securing the food safety and minimum shelf life. The new solutions need to be adapted to existing industrial processes and be economically viable.
R3PACK will work towards the development of industrial, renewable, and primarily recyclable but secondarily compostable/biodegradable, fiber-based food packaging solutions.
The EllenMacArthur foundation identified 4 models for reuse. R3PACK will focus on the "return on the go" model, implying that users return the packaging at a store or drop-off point.
Reuse models were abandoned about 50 years ago by most European countries which favored linear production processes instead.
Switching back to reuse schemes requires an entire remodeling of the current logistics system, rethinking packaging and standardizing protocols in order to develop interoperable practices across the European Union.
R3PACK supports the optimization from an environmental, economic and social perspective of industrial reuse and its effective translation into successful and replicable business practices