is a quarterly review which summarises current events and technical information about printed packaging.

From the initial idea to the production of the packaging, you will find useful information which is essential for professionals in this industry (such as buyers, decision-makers, buyers, packaging manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials).

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March 2018

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OPINION

Tony HITCHIN, General Manager of Pro Carton

 

Tony HITCHIN takes out the green card

While the European Commission has just presented its plan for the better recycling of plastic, our meeting is with Tony Hitchin, General Manager of Pro Carton. At the head of
the European association of cardboard and flat box manufacturers, Tony Hitchin defends, on all fronts, the benefits of this multi-purpose material. “Our principal mission is to promote the use of cardboard with the brands, retailers, designers,
media and politicians as the best packaging possible, whether economic or ecological”, says Tony Hitchin.

In practice, Pro Carton’s actions focus mainly on issues of legislation and sustainable development as well as on communication and marketing campaigns. The association, which works with ECMA (the European Carton Makers Association), regularly commissions reports on relevant topics. As an example, Tony Hitchin cites an independent study commissioned by Pro Carton and conducted by Smithers Pira, from the owners of major brands and major retailers in five key European markets. In
parallel, the organisation manages events such as the European Carton Excellence Award and the Pro Carton Young Designers Award, which take place every year. “At the last Young Designers Award, the finalists came from 16 different countries! We want to get even more universities involved. We even provide free carton-board for the students”, said Tony Hitchin. As for the communication campaigns in favour of cardboard, the association is constantly committed to all areas of the industry. Faced with the poor image of plastic, Tony Hitchin admits that Pro Carton is more and more solicited.

When discussing the benefits of this material, Tony Hitchin is unequivocal: “Cardboards have so many benefits that it’s almost impossible to list them all! First of all, there is, of course the environmental aspect with cardboard that comes exclusively from trees grown in sustainably managed forests. In fact, 83% of all paper and cardboard packaging is recycled. And recycled cardboard can be transformed into cardboard again!” In addition to being biodegradable, cartons are also the packaging of choice for consumers and premium brands. “Cardboard packaging is very popular with the luxury brands: be it for perfumes, alcohol, such as Champagne, or spirits.
The tactile aspect of the cardboard, the opening experience, the range of print finishes and all the effects make cardboard a unique packaging material. And without forgetting the protection and safety aspect, one of the key roles of the packaging.”

Despite all its qualities, cardboard packaging still faces many challenges, particularly at the European level, which is struggling to find real solutions to reduce the use of plastic. Following the recent announcement of the European Commission’s plastic recycling plan, Tony Hitchin seems perplexed: “Today’s announcement reiterates how disconnected the European Commission is from public opinion. Consumers are looking for immediate action to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste. This is an ambitious report, seeking to improve the recycling economy of plastics, but it leaves many questions unanswered, especially in the way it will be achieved in practice”.

However, Tony Hitchin seems confident in the future, with “a lot of very exciting projects under development”. Long live cardboard!