Value4Pack logo

Learnings from the Value4Pack inter-regional workshop in May 2024

Value4Pack inter-regional workshop in Finland in May 2024 identified innovation topics for inter-regional collaboration for 4R (refuse, reduce, re-use, and recycle) goals of food packaging.

Value4Pack project is part of S3Partnership alliance activities where CLIC Innovation represents Finnish food packaging cluster. Value4Pack is an interregional innovation investment (I3) project aiming to strengthen the capacity, competitiveness, and resilience of stakeholders in the European food packaging value chain, and their ability to address societal, environmental, and economic challenges.

Value4Pack consortium
Value4Pack consortium

The project gathered this time all 14 regional actors around the same table to do benchmarking between less developed and more developed regions. Due to these roundtable discussions and sharing sessions, we identified over 50 ideas for inter-regional development. Out of these ideas the most voted ideas will feed to our WP3 Pitching competition, which will take place in Budapest, Hungary in November and focus on turning the ideas / innovation topics into concrete business projects. Out of the discussions the less developed regions will additionally gather ideas to support the development of their own roadmaps with the support from developed regions. The goal for these roadmaps is to help these regions to develop their food packaging solutions and products further and prosper in the markets.

To summarize the positive outcomes from our discussion on the 4R framework, here are the key takeaways from the workshop:

For Refuse, there’s a recognition of the need for innovative ideas, strategies, and motivators to reduce packaging. While some regions face challenges in identifying the business potential in refusing packaging, there is optimism about transforming food value chains. Opportunities such as promoting local food and adopting new technologies like laser scoring for product information and the use of QR codes are being explored. These innovations can enhance both food safety and marketing efforts, making refusal a feasible and attractive option across regions.

Reducing food packaging has already become a well-established practice in many industries. Regions have a long history of optimizing packaging weight, simplifying structures for better recyclability, and eliminating unnecessary components. There’s a clear interest in sharing best practices and benchmarks to further enhance efficiency and sustainability in packaging across different regions.

Reuse is an emerging and exciting topic, gaining significant interest, especially in regions like France, Belgium, Sweden, and Finland. Although progress varies, the enthusiasm for reuse is evident. The main challenge lies in developing ideas, strategies, technologies, infrastructure, and incentives. However, the potential for economically feasible reuse systems is promising. Reliable data and methods are needed to address sustainability concerns, and research projects are crucial to support the establishment of reuse systems, ensuring food safety and quality.

Recycling has seen the most focus and development among the 4R’s. The primary challenge is closing the loop to produce high-quality recyclates that can be reintegrated into packaging production. Developed regions with longer histories of waste management and EPR systems have made significant progress. However, there’s a need for innovation and collaboration to harmonize recycling systems and packaging labelling across regions. Challenges in both plastic and paper recycling are being addressed, paving the way for a more unified and efficient approach.

Overall, the workshop highlighted the shared commitment and positive strides being made in the 4R framework. There’s a collective drive towards innovative solutions and best practices that promise a more sustainable future for packaging.

Stay tuned for our pitching competition in Budapest in November, where we’ll find solutions and solution providers for our innovation topics for future of food packaging.

Read more about Value4Pack project here.

Value4Pack workshop in Helsinki
ValuePack workshop in Helsinki

More info on EU PPWR process proceedings here.


Jussi Lahtinen

Jussi Lahtinen

Ecosystem Lead, Circular Bioeconomy 

Tel. +358 40 673 8083

EU emblem