The project kicked off in August 2021 to address the lack of comprehensive, up-to-date data on the recyclability of packaging and where it can be recycled.
Funded by Innovate UK and led by OPRL with a consortium of leading industry players including Ecosurety, Dsposal, RECOUP and Open Data Manchester, the project aims to develop common data resources that can deliver public benefits, rather than commercial profit.
Crucially, the project is investigating how to support businesses, government and consumers to make better decisions on plastic packaging. For businesses in particular, this means they would have access to accurate and useful data at the design stage and in the development of plastic packaging to improve recyclability.
The project is now several months into a discovery stage and it has already delivered key insights from extensive stakeholder engagement activities, including multiple workshops and interviews. In total, the project has so far engaged with 42 organisations and has spoken to 36 people to identify and map the complex value chains, identifying the main points that relate to data.
Project report available now
Open Data Manchester is leading the research and has published a blog that summarises the key learns so far, including three identified main challenges that the industry faces.
Firstly respondents made clear that the lack of clarity with regards to the changing regulatory landscape for EPR, DRS and the Plastic Packaging Tax presents a significant data challenge.
Data consistency throughout the value chain was identified as another significant problem to overcome, with common issues ranging from simple (yet all too frequent) human error when inputting data, to there being no single, unified use of terminology across the industry.
Thirdly, transparency of data was frequently cited as an issue, with end-to-end visibility of reliable data openly available to all stakeholders across the value chain - including brands, retailers and recyclers - being non-existent.
A 41 page report is available providing a summary of the user research conducted by the project so far - download it by clicking here.
Participate in the next stage of the project
The discovery phase has shed light on a huge amount of insight and that is informing the next stage of the project, the actual design of the new data standard. Critical to the development of this new data standard is the continued engagement with the organisations that will be ultimately using it, to gain their feedback which will help shape and refine it.
The project is actively seeking more stakeholders from across the plastic packaging value chain to take part in the next stage of the project that will help to ensure the new data standard is fit for purpose. Those wishing to be involved can take part in one of four stakeholder workshops, taking place between 24 January and 10 February. Please find out more and book your place here.
Additionally, the project is particularly seeking those working with secondary and/or tertiary plastic packaging, to gain more understanding of this area. Two stakeholder workshops will also be run to cover this between 24 January and 10 February. If you are interested in taking part, more information can be found here.
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.