Q&A with Peter Maddox of WRAP

Back in March, at the start of the Corona Virus outbreak, we caught up with Peter Maddox the Director of Wrap the circular economy experts about how they had been affected by the pandemic and how the packaging industry was reacting.

1. So, Peter, you are the Director of WRAP, what is the main purpose of the organisation?

WRAP’s vision is a world in which resources are used sustainably. We work with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency. Our work is focused on four main areas: food and drink, circular plastics, sustainable textiles, and waste and recycling.

2. How has WRAP been affected by the coronavirus outbreak?

We remain committed to supporting our partners as best we can, even if we’re unable to provide our full programme of activities during this period. We’re talking to our stakeholders in government and businesses about how best we can help them at this critical time, for example on food redistribution and communications support for local authorities. Our citizen campaigns, particularly Love Food Hate Waste, are also proving an important resource for people at home – hits on Love Food Hate Waste are currently over 50% more than usual!

3. What role do you think packaging will play in the pandemic?

At all times, packaging can play a crucial role in keeping our food fresher for longer. This is particularly pertinent under the current circumstances when people will want to make sure their food lasts as a long as possible, and reduce their number of essential shopping trips.

4. Of course, this is a time of great uncertainty for many, but have you seen any positives in how the industry or individual companies have reacted to the crisis?

It’s no secret that the retail food and drink supply chain, from producers through to the supermarkets, have responded with incredible flexibility and speed to this unprecedented challenge. And local authorities and waste management companies are keeping our waste and recycling collections moving while keeping the operating staff safe. 

5. When we begin to return to ‘normal’, what changes do you envision will take place within the packaging industry and in general do you expect consumer behaviours to alter?

‘Business as usual’ has gone out of the window and it’s very early in what could be a long process to speculate on what the impacts might be. But we do know from early conversations with our UK Plastics Pact members, for example, that they remain committed to our targets and creating a circular economy for plastics. The direction of travel of our Pact remains right.

6. What role do you think events like Packaging Innovations will play once the industry has resumed back to normal life?

That element of face to face interaction that we’re all craving at the moment will be very welcome when normal life returns! At WRAP we are lucky to have excellent remote working capabilities, but it is always a pleasure to be getting out there and meeting industry colleagues in person.

To find out more about WRAP and their work, visit www.wrap.org.uk
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