Another successful workshop on Sustainable Packaging and Waste!

Thursday, 14th March 2019


BEACON, in conjunction with AberInnovation (Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus), hosted a very successful workshop on Sustainable Packaging and Waste at IBERS Gogerddan, Aberystwyth University on Wednesday 13th March. The workshop informed delegates of the latest developments and technologies in biorefining that can support the move away from single-use plastics in packaging and find alternative, more sustainable, solutions, and also demonstrate the potential to generate additional revenue through the valorisation of waste streams.

The workshop was chaired by Dr Rhian Hayward of AberInnovation, who also delivered the welcome address. Dr Rob Elias of BEACON opened with a presentation focused on biopolymers for sustainable packaging, with examples from some the projects undertaken at the BioComposites Centre, Bangor University.

These include Bread4PLA, which focused on producing PLA from bread waste for use in biodegradable packaging, recent  work on biobased compostable alternatives to the ubiquitous disposable coffee cup lid and fibre-based packaging for fresh produce. Click here to view this presentation.

Selwyn Owen, BEACON Business Development Manager, gave an overview of the types of enterprise support and R&D collaborations that BEACON can offer to companies, including analytical work, pilot-scale trials and LCA. He also highlighted the issues surrounding the creation and disposal of waste biomass from manufacturing processes, while showcasing some of the work done by BEACON in the field of waste valorisation or gaining added value from waste; for instance waste coffee grounds for heating buildings or cosmetic use, and fruit residues from the cider industry for waxes,  pigments and personal care products. Click here to view this presentation.

 WRAP Cymru works with the Welsh government to tackle waste and to use resources sustainably. Hugh Jones gave some examples of how food businesses could reduce their food waste and associated costs by making simple changes to their production methods. Simplifying product range, reducing the amount of food loss, and opting for more sustainable packaging solutions are ways in which businesses can increase their profit margins and sustainability credentials. For example, Premier Foods changed their bread packaging to deliver savings of 550 tonnes of plastic film and in so doing offset approximately 1500 tonnes of carbon, thus reducing their environmental impact. Click here to view this presentation.

Gareth Davies from Business Wales emphasized the importance of using our natural resources wisely, preventing waste and pollution, and measuring our carbon impact. To help achieve this, we should favour responsible suppliers, efficient methods of transport, and sustainable forms of packaging. Click here to view this presentation.

Jane Lambert of NIPCLaw delivered a presentation on Intellectual Property Rights that businesses building a brand should be aware of, such as registering patents and trade marks. Click here to view this presentation.

Dr David Bryant from BEACON gave a presentation on xylitol, a natural sweetener that can be used by the food industry as an alternative to sugar, which helps in the fight to reduce obesity, diabetes and dental caries. In addition, Dr Rhian Hayward introduced delegates to business opportunites offered by AberInnovation, the new Innovation and Enterprise campus currently under construction at Aberystwyth University, which will provide high quality facilities to support innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in the food and drink, bio-processing and biotechnology sectors throughout Wales and beyond. Click here to view this presentation.

Lunch and an opportunity to network with fellow delegates followed, with an optional tour of the BEACON pilot scale facilities for interested parties.