Packaging Industry

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 5th July 2011.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 11:00 am, 5th July 2011

My hon. Friend makes a good point: recycled material should be seen as a resource. It should be used and valued, whereas historically we have put it into landfill. He is right to say that, increasingly, large proportions of recyclable materials are being sent overseas to be manufactured into products.

I was talking about the growth in the use of packaging, particularly in the food service sector, because of the advantages of disposable packaging over reusable products, and the role of packaging more generally. In my business, our challenge was to enable a customer to get hot food products home still hot, and in one piece.

In 1982, I formed my own business supplying catering disposables and food packaging to businesses throughout the midlands. In the 30 years that I have been involved in the industry, it has seen substantial developments in food-service packaging. The greater use of disposables arrived at the same time as changing lifestyles, with people eating more regularly on the move or grazing, and there has been a substantial growth in the hospitality industry, and the development of mass-catering at far more venues. That has led to a variety of innovations. Sandwiches represent an interesting development; at the outset they were packed in paper bags, or possibly wrapped in cling film, but then there were containers made of moulded plastic and, more recently, of moulded coated board with a heat-seal to preserve the life of the product.