Waste was littering our news pages this past month, or at least the management of it. Environmental group Greenpeace dumped an ocean plastics themed statue on the doorstep of Coca-Cola’s European office recently in an attempt to convince the beverage giant to reduce its plastics footprint. It expects Coca-Cola to do this by stopping its consumption of single-use plastics bottles.

While activists left seabirds regurgitating plastics amidst a family beach picnic as an arty gift for Coca-Cola, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and PlasticsEurope linked arms to focus a little more on the activities of the family in this scenario, and the issue of littering. They are working with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) on a UK-based schools project named Cool Seas Investigators (CSI): Litter Challenge, which aims to help pupils understand the scope of the problem and how irresponsible behaviour messes up the marine environment.

In what became a very British discussion point this month, the UK government launched a litter strategy that seeks to bring all stakeholders together, including the general public. It was greeted by the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) and Incpen, with both organisations hoping that it will stimulate a new approach to littering that will create a sense of community and civic pride.

Meanwhile, London started recycling disposable coffee cups in April and has a target of collecting and recycling of five million cups by the end of 2017.

On a European level, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) welcomed the European Parliament’s vote on the revision of EU waste legislation, which recognises the benefits of bio-based packaging materials and sets the conditions for the increased collection and recycling of beverage cartons.

As governments and industry work on regulations, conditional regulatory clearance in Europe was granted to DuPont and Dow Chemical’s proposed $130 billion merger, which is a significant step toward closing the transaction. The deal still requires US approval.

In other M&A news, ProAmpac acquired Trinity Packaging Corporation, and US-based test and measurements systems manufacturer Industrial Physics bought gas and moisture measurement firm Systech Illinois.

The biggest deal of the month saw rigid plastics film maker Klöckner Pentaplast Group (KP) agree to buy Linpac Senior Holdings and its direct and indirect subsidiaries (Linpac) for an undisclosed sum.

In Canada, GN Thermoforming Equipment elevated its presence in Asia by expanding its agreement with current Chinese agent Vulcan Plastics Technology to include South East Asia territories.

From a Vulcan grip on Asia to bringing US production back under its full control, Swedish firm Rapid Granulator began in-house production of its full product range of equipment for granulating and shredding plastics in Pittsburgh, USA.

Back in Europe, Amcor Flexibles launched the first wave of its European healthcare printing investments, which it says will give companies access to more responsive, flexible printing services for its packaging. Meanwhile, industrial packaging manufacturer Mauser Group opened an IBC production and reconditioning facility with its subsidiary National Container Group, its joint venture partner Janus Vaten and customers at its St Priest site in France.

In Switzerland DS Smith has opened the first of its PackRight Centres at its site in Oftringen. It will enable customers to visit the centre and develop packaging concepts with reduced time-to-market and lower costs.

Elsewhere, Quinn Packaging invested €3 million ($3.3m) in an extrusion line for its Cavan facility in Ireland to tap into growth in the supply of PET sheet to packaging companies across Europe, and Americk Packaging unveiled an innovation centre at Wigton in the UK.

And finally…

Companies clamoured to Hamburg in Germany at the start of April to show how they are improving the experience of aircraft passengers, at the 2017 World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo.

Among the innovations was a range of Fruchee 20g stay-fresh pods by Dairy Concepts in Ireland. Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer robot also made an appearance as DHL Supply Chain revealed how it is being used to improve the processing and packaging of food consumed onboard aircraft.

Airlines have been working hard on reducing their use of packaging and their waste (and weight) footprint, with Australia’s Qantas and US-based United Airlines both moving away from the use of plastics bags for its headsets. It is all part of making the consumer experience more enjoyable.

Steven Pacitti