Eric Le Lay, President of Huhtamaki’s Fiber Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania business, has been serving as president of the European Paper Packaging Alliance (Eppa) www.eppa-eu.org since 24th March 2021. Representing Europe’s leading manufacturers of paper and fiber-based food and foodservice packaging, EPPA promotes food safety, circular solutions, and lower carbon emissions. The European paper and board packaging sector directly employs around than 50,000 people and supports the foodservice market, with an estimated turnover of EUR 70 billion, employing 1.6 million people and supplying 160 million consumers across the EU.
Commenting on EPPA’s priorities for 2021, Eric Le Lay indicated that he will be focusing on better regulation and evidence-based policy making during his presidency. This is to ensure that the legislation on paper-based packaging is delivered based on sound evidence and better regulation principles and with a view to fostering environmentally viable solutions through innovation.
«EPPA members are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of food and foodservice packaging without compromising food safety and human health protection,” says EPPA’s newly appointed president Eric Le Lay. «We will continue to build partnerships with organizations who share our focus on developing and delivering innovative and practical solutions to increase recycling and to reduce carbon emissions. EPPA, whose members represent both suppliers of renewable and sustainably produced raw materials and manufacturers of food service packaging, is committed to helping food retailers and hospitality businesses deliver the best consumer experience sustainably»
Speaking on the agenda for 2021 Eric Le Lay also explained the need to focus on better regulation to help ensure European food systems are able to deliver on the above.
«Future-proof regulation must be based on facts and scientific evidence» says Le Lay. «To address challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity, ambitions must be set high. To deliver on this, regulation must provide room for innovation and the legislative process must be robust enough to ensure there will be no unintended consequences that might jeopardize the initial goals set. At EPPA, we will continue to support policy makers with sound scientific information to enable better regulation and evidence-based decision making and foster innovation in the EU».
Within that context, EPPA recently published a Life Cycle Assessment that compares the environmental impact of paper-based single-use packaging to that of reusable tableware in an in-store dining setting in Quick Service Restaurants in Europe. The study clearly showed that a multi-use system generated 2.7 times higher carbon emissions than a single-use system and used 3.6 times the amount of freshwater. Before the study, EPPA published a science review of the apparent food hygiene challenges and the risk of foodborne disease related to replacing single use packaging items with reusables in the foodservice sector. Following that review EPPA called for EU food and public health authorities to be a part of policy debates on single use vs reusable packaging systems, and for national food agencies to protect consumers by providing businesses with detailed and specific guidance to ensure hygiene measures to meet the exacting standards required to protect staff and consumers alike.