Are We Ready for the War with Plastic?

The single use plastic ban imposed by Glastonbury this year forced on-site retailer Co-op to seek out sustainable solutions, such as compostable packaging for sandwiches and spring water in aluminium cans.

With a growing number of events banning single use plastics on their sites, retailers and manufacturers are turning to alternative packaging that satisfies the more environmentally conscious consumer tastes.

It’s estimated that still half of packaging in UK supermarkets cannot be easily recycled.


News stories regularly report on plastic reductions, restrictions and outright bans from residential communities, institutes, events and national retailers. Manufacturers and contract packers need to be ready for the move away from PET, but is it as easy as simply making a packaging switch?

Alternative Packaging Materials

Food Manufacturer reported this week on big contract packers moving away from PET towards glass and cans. Whilst this sounds like good news, Andy Carter from KHS highlighted that there are a limited number of facilities set up for cans.

Developing an alternative material is an option explored by Nestle, who have launched their new Yes! bars in recyclable packaging as part of their drive to move away from plastic. A move that required heavy involvement from their R&D department to adapt their production lines to manage the more delicate packaging carefully at high speed.

A recent paper from The Institute of Chemical Sciences published a paper recently concluding that should we replace current plastic packaging applications with the current alternative material available would result in the doubling of energy consumption (creating a threefold of greenhouse gas emissions).

What We Need to Know

The current trend away from plastic looks set to not only remain but increase, particularly with MP’s are calling to debate a ban on non-recyclable packaging. These debates will no doubt consider the environmental impact of developing new manufacturing facilities and replacing plastic with alternative materials all against the many facts that demonstrate the plastic use is contaminating our planet.

With production lines adapting to manage new packaging types and products being trialled in new containers, our job remains to stay up to date with the latest trends in NPD, packaging and production to ensure these changes are met with x-ray inspection systems that keep consumers safe and products conformity checked. We’d love to find out how you’re facing the fight against plastic at your facility, please share your thoughts and questions at

This move towards metal containers often means that traditional metal detectors can no longer be used. The ability of x-ray inspection to inspect through metal and still find any extraneous metal, glass or stone, makes it an ever more attractive option. Sapphire Inspection Systems offer unparalleled inspection flexibility ensuring your quality procedures can keep up with changes to packaging.

To find out how Sapphire Inspection Systems could help ensure the quality and safety of your food and drink products contact us at