At the moment the farmer can burn or bury his packaging on the farm but he won’t have that luxury for much longer. He will have to arrange for waste disposal elsewhere. The implementation of the EC framework directive will extend existing waste management controls to agricultural waste.

While this is bad news for the farmer, it should be good news for the packaging industry. Legislation will place more of an emphasis on packaging when dealing with packaging waste. And, as farmers become more aware of what they are buying, so the choice of packaging will then take on a higher profile. Systems that provide farmers with a sustainable disposal solution and manufacturers with a cost-effective reusable packaging system will be the order of the day.

Such generic systems should eliminate unnecessary legislation and they will develop a sector of the industry that has been languishing for some time. UK product manufacturers are finding life tough because of the increasing competition from overseas. The volume of packaging in the UK is declining because many companies are moving their filling to mainland Europe for two reasons – the strong pound and unabated consolidation through merger or acquisition. As a consequence, an increasing amount of product is being imported from mainland Europe when, only a few years ago, it was packed in the UK.

So this sector of our great industry should grasp any opportunity to find solutions for any industrial need in a bid to save it from virtual extinction.