Plastics & Circularity: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing…. Pleased to say I have had another couple of articles published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

Ocean plastic is not a new problem, however it took David Attenborough and Blue Planet II to turn the tide of public opinion. My opening article investigates how prime-time endorsement of the core sustainability message proved a public gamechanger, but there is still a long way to go before we reach peak plastic in our waste streams. From high-street retail and global brands, to entrepreneurial start-ups and consumer activism, I am sharing smart insights of key influencers and seeking out sustainable solutions to the problems of a packaging sector under intense pressure. Issues are complex and commercial realities a challenge, but the question remains:

‘What next after Blue Planet?’

The first step towards fixing something is often to admit it is actually broken. Well, the plastics system is broken. So, since the problem is big, the fix must be even bigger, right? My second piece for the report explores how society must move away from the ‘take, make, dispose’ mindset that has long-informed linear consumption patterns and business models, towards a win-win scenario that simultaneously keeps plastics in the economy, but out of the environment. This discussion of proposals and prospects for the New Plastics Economy and UK Plastics Pact includes interviews with project leads at both the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and WRAP UK:

‘UK Plastics Pact is central to forming a circular economy’

The full 24-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

Sustainability & Waste: ‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another couple of pieces published in The Times newspaper today, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Packaging.

The Overview article which opens the report discusses whether sustainable packaging is ready yet to make the leap from niche to mainstream:

‘Resolving the Riddle of Sustainability’.

My second piece on Page 7 argues that tackling the number one problem of packaging waste demands upcycling the way wethink about the industry and the resource it produces :

‘Thinking outside the Burger Box’.

The full 16-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

From Re-use and Repair, to Sensors and Smart Tech


New writing Two more of my recent pieces for Guardian Sustainable Business are now live. Running in their paid-content section on Sustainable Electricals, sponsored by WRAP, the articles explore the business case for adoption and promotion of circular economy models in the sector, with particular reference to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE):

The full Guardian series on Sustainable Electricals with WRAP can be viewed here.

‘Future of Packaging’ in The Times

img_3250New writing… Pleased to say I have had a centrespread article for Raconteur published in The Times newspaper, exploring packaging market trends, plus, in particular, prospects for mainstreaming of sustainability:

‘Discovering a business case for sustainability’.

The full 16-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.

The Future in 5 Words… #3: ‘Loopy’

Why Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’ 

At the back end of last year, the new Circular Economy Package from the European Commission came out to a cacophony of mismanaged expectations, eliciting cries of disbelief and sighs of relief, in almost equal measure. It was both lauded and lamented for the sake of a few percentage points either way. In one sense, of course the details matter; however, in another, they really do not. Even as the landfill and recycling targets were published, the game had already moved on.

The emphasis for the Commission and the market at large is now shifting towards engagement of the design community – in everything from consumer packaging and household products, to building projects and industrial plant. This is not about Europe, per se; it is about closing loops and tying up the loose ends of linear thinking and doing. We are on a worldwide creative and intellectual quest for resource alchemy, of which the EU steer will prove part-symptom, part-cause. Why? Well, for starters, commodity costs and constraints are already driving the food-energy-water nexus almost to breaking point in some parts of the planet. Secondly, there is money to be lost and made.

The Circular Economy concept holds real bottom-line and pocket-warming promise, whether by way of global savings revenue of $1tr by 2025, or delivering maybe 205,000 jobs in the UK alone by 2030. Any talk of a resource revolution, though, means seeing waste as more than merely system inefficiency. Smart, sustainable design cannot just be about removal and reduction, but becomes regenerative and restorative. We can only cut so far; we still need to create. This is why, in the future, innovation must get ‘loopy’.

Tomorrow: Why Work will be… ‘Inclusive’

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For a global Who’s Who on Social Media in the Circular Economy, please see our new @SustMeme Top 500 ranking, published weekly with Enevo.

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‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

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