Back to news
25 May 2023 General

Plastic free packaging - FPA guidance


With a large increase in packaging being sold under the title of ‘plastic free’ the Foodservice Packaging Association has published guidance for its members and their customers: the foodservice, restaurant and catering operators.

1. Plastic free has to mean 100% plastic free with no intentionally added plastic present either in the principle substrate or lining / coating.

2. To make a claim of being plastic free the packaging must be independently tested and certified to be 100% plastic free by a certification body recognised by UKAS - the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom appointed by the UK government, to assess and accredit organisations globally that provide services including certification and testing.

3. Certification issued by a country outside the UK does not necessarily validate a claim made in the UK. The due diligence for packaging to be marketed in the UK needs to ensure the evidence / certification from the country outside the UK is accredited by UKAS by using the UKAS search facility

4. The testing required for the certification must identify the presence of any plastic and not just those plastics that might be present in the packaging that the ‘plastic free’ pack is seeking to replace. This is to ensure the tests identify the possible presence of a different plastic being used to provide the properties of those used in other packaging

5. Testing and certification must be based on the finished pack as marketed and not the material prior to conversion

6. If other claims such as being recyclable, compostable (home / industrial) or biodegradable are made as a consequence of being ‘plastic free’ each claim will require certification from a UKAS recognised certification body

7. Certificates must include a license number

8. Any symbols used to support claim must, in line with the Competition & Markets Authority’s Green Claims Code, must be recognised / originate by or from a UKAS recognised certification body

9. Any claims of ‘reduced plastic’, ‘contains less plastic’ and ‘contains x% plastic’ must be proven independently by testing against representative packaging items not making such claims and must not give the impression the claim represents an unique benefit ie is no different for other similar packaging items

FPA members are required to operate their business in accordance of the FPA Code of Practice We seek a level playing field for all market players and seek to ensure foodservice operators are not paying for packaging that isn’t certified to deliver the claims being made.