By Rhys Handley, Thursday 09 August 2018
Easyfairs is set to increase its focus on the questions around plastics and sustainability at its upcoming Packaging Innovations/Luxury Packaging expo.
Taking place at London Olympia on 12-13 September, the show will expand on the high-profile plastic debate which drew a high degree of attention from the 4,200 visitors at its Birmingham counterpart earlier this year.
Described by Easyfairs divisional director James Drake-Brockman as the “plastics debate 2.0”, four separate sessions will take place across the two days. The first will look at how packaging manufacturers and brands should engage with government and policy on plastic usage, and another on the first day will look at how to encourage responsible use of plastics.
On the second day, a third session will see a “showdown” between a range of plastic-alternative materials pitched to a panel of judges on their feasibility as a replacement, and the final discussion will centre on waste management and “closing the loop”.
“Having spent a lot of time talking to people in the market, we were able to design the show to focus on particular topics,” said Drake-Brockman. “This will present a good opportunity to really go in depth with the topic and check out some of the alternatives out there.
“Some of the alternatives we will see include metal and seaweed – this is really at the cutting edge of packaging innovation. But we will not be saying plastic is the root of all evil and so there will be discussions on consumer education and responsible use.”
Titled the Big Plastics Debate, the two-day line-up will include speakers from Carlsberg, Marks & Spencer, Hello Fresh and Recycling Waste Management among a further roster of still-to-be-confirmed appearances.
Announcing its seminar programme earlier this week, the conference will continue the focus on sustainability beyond the organised debate. Across three stages, the sessions will feature dedicated forums for the food, drink, beauty and luxury markets.
Simultaneously, the conference will be showcasing the winners of international packaging design content Pentawards only a week after they are announced.
With a focus on ‘winning mentality’, a specialised Pentawards conference will feature a keynote speech from Diageo global design director Jeremy Lindley, who has worked with a number of international drinks brands such as Smirnoff, Baileys and Guinness.
Activist organisation A Plastic Planet will also be at the heart of a “plastic-free aisle” at the exhibition, showing the materials they used to complete a similar project at a supermarket in Amsterdam. Another section will focus on the aerosol market, while exhibitors across the floor will span the food, drinks, retail, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.
Drake-Brockman said: “While sustainability is a theme that cuts across the exhibition, we are also looking simply at how people can make the best packaging in the world and that is down to collaboration and working with people who have a variety of skills.
“It is a chance for cross-industry discussion and sharing of ideas as someone from cosmetics can go and see what the drinks sector is up to, all in aid of making amazing packaging.”