Every year 8.8 million tonnes of plastic, according to WWF, end up in the sea creating environmental problems, it can take over 600 years to decompose and economic problems. In UK, approximately €18M every year is spent by municipalities in order to have clean beaches.

Half of the plastic used is disposable, it is going to be used once and thrown away, mostly ending in landfill or in the nature. This is not acceptable.

That’s why more and more countries are implementing laws and rules to reduce our dependence to plastic.

In Europe for example, one of the biggest plastic issue currently discussed is disposable plastic bags. In Europe about 8 billion plastic bags will not be recycled and will end its life as trash, even though plastic bags can take up to 400 years to decompose.

European citizens of different countries don’t have the same consumption of plastic bags. Some like those in Finland will mostly use reusable plastic bags, an average Finnish citizen will use 77 plastic bags per year, 73 reusables and 4 single use bags, in comparison a UK citizen will use in average 176 plastic bags, 158 single use and 18 reusable bags. Therefore, targets have been set. By 2025 it has been decided that the annual consumption of lightweight (less than 50 micron) plastic bags in Europe should not exceed 40.

Thankfully more and more countries are implementing advanced regulations to tackle this problem.

In UK, a mandatory charge on plastic bags is enforced, it was first put into action in 2011 in Wales, 2013 in Northern Ireland, 2014 in Scotland and 2015 in England. Even though it has been implemented at different time, it has shown its efficiency. For example, in Scotland, in one year plastic bag uses in stores dropped by 80%.

The more the countries execute new law against plastic the more they see the results on its consumption, therefore the amount of laws against plastic is increasing and they are getting more rigorous all over the world.

For instance, in France, several actions have been taken against plastic pollution. Plastic bags have been prohibited in every shop since 2017, plastic Q-Tip and microbeads are expected to be banned in 2018 and finally, plastic cutlery, made of not compostable and non-biological material, are planned to be banned in 2020.

This new awareness, knowing that plastic is avoidable, creates a need. Companies need alternatives to plastic, not only to be environmentally friendly but to comply with the applicable laws. That is why we decided to create a product entirely biological, compostable, harmless to humans, animals or the environment, which is a great alternative to traditional plastic. Furthermore, thanks to its antimicrobial activities our plastic has another clear advantage over plastic for food packaging, it makes food last longer avoiding food waste, therefore, economical loses.

 

Marguerite Guibourg

Jim Densham is the Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s Policy and Advocacy group and presents his personal view of how Cuantec’s new technology could contribute to new food waste targets and meeting Scotland’s climate change targets.

 

Not long after moving to Scotland in 2010 I went to a meeting at the Royal Society of Edinburgh to hear about the results of an inquiry into what’s needed in Scotland to tackle climate change. I was particularly struck with the recommendations that we must break the barriers which prevent climate action and ensure that people, civil society, market and state work more closely together on the common goal. In essence we need to actively do things differently for the good of the climate and a more sustainable, fairer world.

Cuantec’s development of a new food wrap is a good example of doing things differently so that an everyday activity like storing food can be better for the planet. Cuantec’s innovative technology not only utilises waste from the shellfish industry as a raw material, it also has additional antimicrobial properties meaning food will stay fresher for longer. Extending the life of food is important because as it decomposes food gives off methane a greenhouse gas 48 times more damaging to the climate than CO2. The Scottish Government has a new target to cut a third of our food waste by 2025, so this new technology could provide us all with a way to contribute to that target in our everyday lives.

Cuantec’s food wrap promises to help us meet Scotland’s climate targets too. The Scottish Government recently published its draft Climate Change Plan. The Plan aims to get Scotland to its target of a 66% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2032, based on 1990 baseline levels. Last year Scotland met the 2020 target of a 42% reduction 6 years early so you might think that, seeing as we are doing so well, meeting a 66% reduction would be relatively simple. Think again. It’s a lot easier to reduce emissions in the early years than later.

From here on in we need to do things differently. Some changes will be radical, like using electric cars or planting millions more trees in the countryside, but others will be small tweaks. Cuantec’s new food wrap technology represents the sort of small change which should be easy to adopt but have big benefits in reducing waste and emissions. Government, businesses, charities and others need to work together to support and promote new technologies, and break down the barriers to their roll out so that the climate and our environment benefits as soon as possible.

 

Jim Densham

Bill Barnett

 

While the CuanTec development team are hard at work in the lab perfecting and refining their novel Chitosan extraction techniques, Bear & Case Associates is proud to be supporting their efforts by engaging with the seafood and packaging industries to gather market intelligence to help CuanTec ensure that their products address market needs, and provide tangible benefits.

 

Over the next year, I will be talking to industry representatives covering all aspects of the journey from catch to consumer, learning about their requirements and extolling the economic and environmental sustainability benefits of the CuanTec process and products.

 

·         With landfill gate fees and taxes of over £100/tonne, partnering with CuanTec gives fisheries and processors the opportunity to make significant financial savings, while also being environmentally responsible with the disposal of shellfish waste – a real win/win;

·         For distributors, wholesalers and retail suppliers, CuanTec’s innovative packaging technologies will reduce waste due to spoilage down the distribution chain – this spoilage results in lost revenue, plus increased disposal costs – in short, lost product is lost profit;

·         Consumers will benefit from high quality seafood products at the peak of perfection – with the added advantage that the CuanTec packaging can be safely disposed of without any harm to the environment.

If you are in the seafood supply chain, anywhere from trawl to fork, and you want to help shape the future, contact me and lets start a discussion

 

Bill Barnett

Bear & Case Associates

Tel: +44 (0)7834 954918

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