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Ecopack Challenge: Packaging Innovations Birmingham and M&S join forces to discover the latest sustainable packaging solutions

Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2020, which brings the whole packaging industry together under one roof, from design, marketing and branding, through to engineering and logistics, returns to Birmingham’s NEC on 26 & 27 February.

The two-day event returns at a time when concern around climate change has piqued, with the focus shifting from plastics scrutiny to looking at overall carbon emissions. With this in mind, the show is once again searching for cutting-edge sustainable packaging solutions to take part in its hotly anticipated Ecopack Challenge, which will run in collaboration with Marks & Spencer.

Packaging Innovations London 2019’s Eco-pack Challenge winners, Will and Sam Boex, from Flexi-HexPackaging Innovations London 2019’s Eco-pack Challenge winners, Will and Sam Boex, from Flexi-Hex

The competition offers companies that are creating innovative and environmentally responsible products the chance to develop an idea with Marks & Spencer, as well as being crowned sustainable champions. The Dragons’ Den style session will see six shortlisted companies pitch their idea to an expert industry panel, as well as a voting audience. The shortlisted entries will also be assessed by the OPRL PREP tool, which analyses whether consumers can readily recycle a product.

Entry to the challenge is open to anyone in the market, and not confined to those exhibiting at the show. Sustainable products from any category are invited to enter, from materials, software and structural design, through to logistics and more. The deadline for all Ecopack Challenge entries is Friday 31st January and submissions can be completed by filling out the online application form.

All entries must be unique and have clear intellectual property rights. The design can be in the form of a concept or a prototype and should be covered by copyright or design right as the 'pitch' to the judges will be in public forum.

At Packaging Innovations Birmingham last year, there was strong competition between the six finalists. Crowned the overall the winner was Flexi-Hex, founded by two Cornish entrepreneurs. The company showcased its recyclable and biodegradable packaging sleeves as an alternative to plastic bubble wrap, featuring a patented design and distinctive honeycomb structure. The product was created by brothers Will and Sam Boex who recognised the impact that single-use plastic was having on the marine environment.

Packaging Innovations Birmingham 2020 takes place at the NEC, on the 26th and 27th February.

About OPRL PREP

OPRL’s PREP UK tool (the Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal) uniquely gives both actionable advice on packaging designs, of any material, and provides an ISO14021 compliant basis for self-evaluated green claims. PREP UK assesses whether consumers can readily recycle it using WRAP's LARSU data, and how it will be sorted and recovered at UK MRFs and reprocessors using data researched for OPRL by Axion Consulting. It also checks whether design details such as colour, inks, seals and separability affect the value of the recyclate.

About Easyfairs

Easyfairs organises and hosts live events, bringing communities together to visit the future.

The company currently organises 220 events in 17 countries (Algeria, Belgium, China, Denmark, the Emirates, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) and manages 10 event venues in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden (Antwerp, Ghent, Mechelen-Brussels North, Namur, Gorinchem, Hardenberg, Venray, Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm).

Easyfairs employs more than 750 people and generated revenues exceeding €171 million for its financial year 2018-2019.

Easyfairs strives to be the most adaptable, agile and effective player in the events industry by employing committed individuals, deploying the best marketing and technology tools and developing strong brands.

In 2018 Easyfairs was named Belgium’s “Entrepreneur of the Year®” and in 2019 it was named a “Best Managed Company” by Deloitte. The company is ranked 18th in the list of the world’s leading exhibition companies.

Visit the future with Easyfairs and find out more on www.easyfairs.com.