31st March 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic is having a far-reaching impact on millions of people. The restriction of social 联系 to a minimum is changing not only people’s day-to-day work and mobility, but also life in society in a very significant way. Alexandra Dittrich, Senior PR and Corporate Communications Expert at ALPLA, spoke to Dr Manfred Tacker, Head of the Packaging and Resource Management Section at FH Campus Wien, 关于 the impact that this situation will possibly have on the packaging industry.

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Yes, and it’s also reminding consumers of the important functions of packaging. Hygiene and items that will keep for a long time are especially important right now. We can say there will be some kind of trend reversal in the short term – where the retail sector had been eliminating packaging, it is now being reintroduced in order to protect food from contamination, make its safe transportation possible and guarantee optimum 产品介绍 shelf lives.

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The reusable packaging systems in some countries are coming under pressure. People are buying 更多 beverages and are stockpiling mineral water in particular. Reusable bottles are therefore circulating 更多 slowly, so the pool systems lack the bottles that they would normally be refilling. In Germany, companies are al阅读y encouraging the consumers to return empty bottles. With 单一-use bottles, you can respond to fluctuations in demand 更多 quickly and can cover the needs in exceptional circumstances 更多 flexibly.

Dr Manfred Tacker, Head of the Packaging and Resource Management Section at FH Campus Wien (Photo credit: FH Campus Wien/Schedl)

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I believe the trend in the direction of sustainable packaging is solid – not even the current crisis will be able to turn this around. But consumers are now seeing hygiene, which was previously not so pressing, as a major asset. And hygiene is precisely what packaging makes possible – something which certain types of packaging could certainly benefit from.

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I think there is most likely to be a rethink in the long term in the areas of the value chain and delivery reliability. Governments and businesses will increasingly look at how supply chains can be made more resilient to crises. Who could have imagined closed borders across the European Union just a few weeks ago? This speaks in favour of local production and regional partnerships.

It is here in particular that a functioning circular economy can play its part. If valuable materials can be kept within the cycle and used packaging can be recycled and processed into new packaging, this would reduce our dependence on deliveries of materials from around the world. When this works well at the regional level, you have better control of the supply of resources and are not solely reliant on imported virgin material, for example. As we know, this already works with PET – enclosed cycles are easy to realise with the technologies already available. If this argument of an easily recyclable material could be combined with the environmental benefits of a packaging solution as is the case with PET bottles, this could constitute an attractive overall package in the future.

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