Publicising and rewarding the most innovative and environmentally sustainable packaging. Favouring research into solutions with the smallest environmental impact. All of which while keeping in mind that reducing the effects of packaging on the environment will mean, not only intervening on the amount of resources being used, but will also involve taking into account the entire life cycle of packaging itself, including manufacturing processes, consumer use and end-of-life management.
These are the objectives that Conai – an Italian consortium dedicated to recovery and recycling of packaging materials – is hoping to achieve by launching a call for bids (Bando Conai per la prevenzione) with the support of the Ministry of the Environment.
Conai’s partner businesses can only take part if, in 2017-2018, they marketed packaging solutions whose goal was to increase innovation and environmental sustainability. These products had to satisfy at least one of the following parameters: reusability, facilitated recycling, less use of natural resources, use of recycled materials, logistical optimisation, or simplification of packaging and optimisation of manufacturing processes.
The call is for both new packaging and for packaging innovation, as long as the new solutions have a smaller environmental impact than the most commonly used packaging for that purpose on the Italian market.
“The transition towards the circular economy can offer significant economic and competitive advantages to businesses, but it involves the need to reconsider current business models, and, in particular, design and manufacturing processes. This should bring about a substantial change in the way things are done, as well as in resource management”, declared Giorgio Quagliuolo, Conai’s President. “For this reason, via the request for tender, this year we have decided to increase the economic incentives dedicated to rewarding the research and development efforts of our partner companies, be they packaging manufacturers or users.”
The total prize money available will be 500,000 euro, of which 410,000 euro will go to the virtuous participating companies (according to their performance), while the remainder will be divided across nine super-prizes. Six of these will be awarded to the most sustainable packaging in every category of material: steel, aluminium, paper, wood, plastic and glass. The other three prizes will go to cases that were able to enhance the circular economy by employing one or more of these prevention mechanisms: reusability, facilitation of recycling and use of recycled materials.
The proposals will be examined using Conai’s Eco Tool, which allows a simplified LCA to be carried out, calculating the effects of prevention measures enacted by companies in terms of energy and water saving, and of the reduction of CO2 emissions. This year, like in the past, Conai’s Eco Tool and the case analyses will undergo validation by DNV GL, an international certification body.
In the 2018 edition of Conai’s call for tender 103 virtuous projects were presented by 73 companies, who achieved an average 24% decrease of their packaging’s environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions, water consumption and energy use.
Conai’s Eco Tool for simplified LCA analysis, www.ecotoolconai.org