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The Future Of Positive Packaging

In September 2019, SoScience will launch the 6th edition of The Future Of programs in collaboration with Perrier. With our The Future Of Positive Packaging program we aim to tackle the packaging issue in the beverage industry.

To reach this goal, a wide call for action is addressed to international experts to answer this question: how to reinvent the source and the end of life of packaging in the beverage industry to generate solutions with positive environmental and social impacts? Everyone is welcome in answering the call for application and participate in our collaborative program: scientists, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, industrials, etc…The 3 best collaborative projects emerging from the program will benefit from a technical, operational and financial support ensured by Perrier and SoScience. Our goal is to create the opportunity for responsible research and innovation projects to flourish and tackle one part of the wide waste issue: deal with current practices, habits and use of plastic packaging.

The beverage industry is a sector based on a classic linear business model, relying on the sale of single-use plastic bottles. However, this mean of distribution is not compatible our finite resources and leads to critical environmental challenges. Only 7% of worldwide produced bottles (in PET) are recycled into new ones, and close to half of this production is not collected for recycling. This non collected part contributes to the 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up into the ocean, increasing plastic pollution and threatening marine biodiversity[1]. Efforts should be engaged to shift the model, but we still have to not only generalize recycling but also manage unrecycled packaging that escapes the loop and ends up in nature. What if we could not just reduce this litter’s negative impact but turn it into an asset? This is not a new idea: solutions already exist, such as edible packaging or biodegradable packaging turning into fertilizer, however these are isolated technological niche and not developed at scale. Among all the fights to undertake against packaging pollution, the The Future of Positive Packaging focus on exploring technical solutions to turn waste into assets. Our goal is to highlight and assess such ideas and to develop positive impact from existing packaging at scale.

We believe that, as part of the problem, major industry players are key to implement change at a significant scale and need to be onboard. As worldwide leader of sparkling waters industry, Perrier has resources to act and influence to make the change happen in the sector. Sparkling water packaging also requires dire technical specificities: if we find solutions for the sparkling segment this will lead the way to the whole beverage industry. That is why we are proud to launch The Future Of Positive Packaging in partnership with Perrier.

However, believing technologies will solve issues by themselves is illusory. To face these major challenges, each player should embrace their responsibility so that we can face collectively issues that one actor cannot manage on its own. Socio-technical evolutions need to be supported by economic and political fields. Once again, only collective effort and collaboration will orient the research and innovation system currently driven by economic concerns towards the resolution of societal needs. Making science and society collaborate to reach SDGs, using technology to address world challenges, building an inclusive future… these are the core of our mission and of the 6th edition of The Future Of.

 

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[1] World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, The New Plastics Economy — Rethinking the future of plastics (2016, http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications).

Mélanie Marcel