Innovative and sustainable packaging for food processing industries in Egypt
This challenge is in phase: Ideate Solutions
How can we reduce the negative environmental impact of the food packaging industry by fostering alternative solutions that are more sustainable and thereby provide Egyptian companies with increased opportunities for export to the European market?
Egypt is the largest consumer of plastic in Africa and produces 5.4 million tons of plastic waste due to its large population. Despite the different efforts, the high consumption combined with the low consumer awareness lead to challenges to manage this waste. The high cost of sustainable packaging is also hindering both local consumption and compliance with regulations of international markets. The lab of tomorrow 18 seeks to address these challenges and find low-threshold and scalable solutions to produce sustainable packaging at low cost and make it available on the market.
In Egypt, the packaging sector mainly relies on plastic and chemical textile fabrics to meet the required packaging production. This is compounded because of the extensive cost of cardboard/paper and wooden boxes. As a result, few large companies are financially able to comply with the EU regulation on sustainable packaging. In addition, awareness of sustainability is limited in many sections of the population, which means that customer demand for sustainable materials is low. It is correspondingly more difficult to pass on the higher costs for sustainable materials to the consumer.
This underscores why Egypt is currently working on a strategy to reduce single-use plastics. The government's 2030 strategy is aimed at developing the industrial ecosystem into a greener and more sustainable system. While consumer awareness is growing, increasing regulations make it easier for new sustainable products to enter the market. These circumstances outline the need for the lab of tomorrow 18 that aims to address the challenge of sustainable food packaging by bringing together companies from the EU and Egypt to jointly develop business solutions.
How might we provide sustainable packaging solutions at affordable costs that comply with the requirements of global export markets, enabling Egyptian food processing & fresh foods companies to increase exports to different markets?
How might we enable Egyptian food processing firms and the hospitality sector to acquire sustainable packaging material and alternatives to single-use plastic products (cups, plates, cutlery, plastic bags, etc.) that can be cost-effective and locally produced, in a context where local sustainable packaging options are currently unaffordable and/or insufficiently available?