Call for proposals for research on the socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of paper and cardboard packaging

The Rethink Plastic alliance (RPa), Fern and the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) wish to carry out new research on the overall socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of paper and cardboard used for packaging purposes, with focus to reduce it.

Deadline: 22 February 2023

The Rethink Plastic alliance (RPa), Fern and the Environmental Paper Network (EPN) wish to carry out new research on the overall socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of paper and cardboard used for packaging purposes, with focus to reduce it.

Please refer to the Terms of Reference for more in depth information, and if interested, please send your application to [email protected] by the 22nd February 2023

Background

The European Commission, through their proposal for a revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, have confirmed their intention to focus on prevention and reuse by proposing overall waste reduction targets for all packaging placed on the EU market as well as reuse/refill targets for specific market segments. For what is relevant for this research, the proposal includes reuse/refill targets for the Horeca sector on the takeaway food and beverage packaging, namely: Beverages: 20% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 and Food: 10% by 2030 and 40% by 2040; as well as for the e-commerce sector: 10 % by 2030 and 50 % by 2040. 

Given that most of the packaging used for these sectors are paper-based, this recent legislative proposal has given rise to several studies financed by the paper industry aimed at proving their sustainability (examples here and here). On the other hand, it has also given rise to interest in reusable packaging systems for the food service sector (examples: Vytal, Recup & ReBowl, ReCircle, SwapBox, CupZero, Repack, among others) . 

Therefore, gaining a clear and systemic understanding of some aspects that are not addressed usually (land use, water resources, biodiversity loss, impact on communities, waste management, recyclability and real-life recycling and presence of chemicals), of paper packaging can provide the science to inform policy which is designed to support true circular and sustainable packaging. 

Objectives of the study

The objectives of this project are to identify the socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of the use of paper and cardboard for packaging in Europe in order to address/mitigate such impacts and support a transition from single-use packaging towards more reusable packaging systems.

The organisations want the research to give a comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic, health and environmental impacts of the use of paper and cardboard packaging in Europe. The research would aim to provide a holistic approach of the impacts of paper and cardboard used for packaging in Europe.

The research should also bring a perspective on the growing shift from single-use plastic packaging to paper based over the past years and what would be the related impacts of such a trend, taking into account the environmental and socio-economic challenges mentioned above. 

Also, the research should investigate the hazardous chemicals that are present in paper food packaging and what are the impacts of such chemicals for human health and for the environment. In this context, it should also look into the (synthetic) barrier coatings that are applied to paper packaging to make it waterproof, grease resistant, etc.

Deliverables 

  1. A written public report of 20-40 pages (excluding annexes), targeted at EU Member State policy makers, in a format detailed in the Terms of Reference. The language of this report will be English and it should be non-technical, focused on (innovative) policy recommendations, clear and understandable by both policy makers and interested citizens. 
  2. A longer, more technical document which will compile all the background research and evidence that has gone into compiling the public report. This will contain the solid scientific data and justifications to substantiate  the new public research and claims. This can be done in the form of an Annex document.

Tender response

Your response should include:

  • Details of the research you will carry out and methods you will use;
  • Expected timeline for the work (more detailed than outlined in Terms of Reference);
  • A breakdown of the costs of undertaking the study;
  • A description of the team that will manage and deliver the work, including the skills and experience of the team members, as demonstrated by the CVs of those who would undertake the work.

The tender response document should be limited to no more than 3 sides of A4 (at a minimum of 10 point font) excluding the CVs of team members.

Timetable

The deadline for the receipt of tenders is 22 February 2023

The final report should be ready for publication by the end of May 2023.

Budget 

20,000 euros (VAT included if applicable)  

Rethink Plastic