Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment

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Incpen's website says it is a "non-profit, research-based organisation dedicated to analysing the environmental and social effects of packaging, creating a better understanding of the role of packaging and minimising the environmental impact of packaging".
In reality, it is a lobby group for the Packaging Industry, and is completely uninterested as to what other stakeholders think. Thank INCPEN that the UK doesn't have a Bottle Deposit Return Scheme (DRS); its position is that a DRS is pointless unless or until a "clean environment" is first achieved. Its "research" results are cherry-picked to such an extent that they bear little resemblance to the truth.[1] INCPEN is very good at throwing dead cats on the table by, for example, highlighting cigarette ends and completely ignoring packaging waste. [2]

Recycling Plastics Will Not Solve the Pollution Problem. Most plastic can only be recycled once, then it's plastic waste.[3] Others, eg. PET and HDPE, can be recycled 8-10 times, then they're plastic waste.[4] Bioplastics can be recycled, but need expen$ive processing.[5] Every piece of the 8.3bn tons of plastic ever made still exists (excluding incinerated).[6]

The UK generates ~5.2m tons every year:[7] ~26% → abroad (we don't have the recycling infrastructure);[8] 55% → landfill (remains there indefinitely, contaminating groundwater); 18% → incinerated (dioxins, furans, heavy metals, CO2-intensive); ~1% → litter. [9]

Recycling is not a solution because (a) it does not stop the continuous flow of new, virgin, single-use plastic disposable products that enter our environment every single day; and (b) only ~7% of plastic can be recycled.[10]

Packaging lobby’s support for anti-litter groups deflects tougher solutions. We are drowning in plastic - but it is much cheaper for industry to push responsibility onto consumers and individual responsibility for litter and its clean-up, rather than change production and packaging methods. This tactic has another more insidious purpose: to change the popular and political narrative on waste, especially plastics and single-use packaging. Putting litter collection at the heart of the debate on waste puts responsibility for tackling it onto local authorities and citizens, rather than industry producers, and blocks tough public policy solutions which might harm corporate profits.
Eamonn Bates, Managing Director of his very own lobby firm Eamonn Bates Europe Public Affairs[11], is also Secretary General of Pack2Go Europe, Secretary General of Serving Europe (Branded Food and Beverage Service Chains Association), a trade association for the fast-food industry, and has International Paper as a client. Corporate Europe Observatory, Mar.28.2018. See also Plastic promises: Industry seeking to avoid binding regulations.



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  • Jul.07.2011: INCPEN slams Irish packaging tax proposal. Proposals by the Irish Government to introduce a packaging tax would harm businesses and hit low-income consumers, said the UK’s Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN). Rory Harrington, Dairy Reporter.