MeetingPack, a conference organised by AIMPLAS and AINIA which aims to bring together the entire packaging value chain, will hold its sixth edition in Valencia in Spain on April 10th and 11th, 2024. Ahead of the event, we spoke to Lorena Rodríguez Garrido, lead packaging researcher at AIMPLAS, about what to expect.

Lorena Rodríguez Garrido at MeetingPack 2022

Packaging Europe: The overarching theme of MeetingPack is flexible and rigid barrier packaging. What are the particular challenges around barrier packaging that companies are addressing and that will be discussed at the event?

Lorena Rodríguez Garrido: The main challenges both for flexible and rigid barrier packaging are based on their recyclability and the introduction of recycled content in in food contact packaging solutions.

MeetingPack will present materials, coatings and packaging solutions targeting these main points. In addition, other solutions such as reusable packaging and reusability schemes will also be presented.

PE: Could you give us a preview of some of the solutions and innovations that will be discussed at the event you are most excited about?

LR: I believe all the sessions will be exciting and well worth visiting. MeetingPack has carefully selected the companies and the talks to meet the sector’s and the attendees’ expectation.

Naming just some highlights from the previous edition, we had for example a session entirely dedicated to coating and another talk about reusable packaging and materials.

PE: What challenges and solutions around reusable plastic packaging will be discussed?

LR: The main challenge around reusable packaging is to understand what the term actually means, i.e. that it is not a packaging that can be used several times, but rather a packaging that has been designed for that purpose and that can stand several cycles of use for the same application. The most important part is to assure there´s a system behind everything so that multiple cycles are assured. All these will be presented at MeetingPack on top of business models that are already successful and business models that are being tried out. There will also be discussions about the constrains to implement those system considering the consumer perception.

PE: What role do you envision emerging materials playing in the future of sustainable plastic packaging?

LR: New material development needs to be aligned with sorting and mechanical recycling strategies. Advancement in multilayer recycling structures, and materials such as adhesives or coatings based on natural polymers or metallic oxides, apart from the improvement in material properties have a significant role in the future of packaging to assure its sustainability.

PE: Are there any sessions dedicated to discussing regulatory frameworks or policy initiatives related to plastic packaging, such as the PPWR?

LR: The regulatory framework is the foundation of the event. There an session dedicated to green washing and how to fight against it from a regulatory point of view. Other regulation will be covered during the event but there will be a big focus on reviewing the regulatory framework from the consumer’s point of view. Many new solutions claim to be sustainable, but often they are not. These messages mislead the consumer which means they are less likely to trust any claims.

MeetingPack wants to help fight greenwashing, and the open session will be an example of that.

PE: Finally, what outcomes or actionable insights do you hope attendees will gain from participating in MeetingPack?

LR: In summary, attendees will learn about sustainable materials and solutions that can be implemented both in flexible and rigid packaging that will avoid greenwashing while improving packaging structure performance.