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The impact and application of the Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste prepared by the Government, AgroBank’s financial solutions for the berry sector and the statistics and novelties of the 2021 soft fruit agricultural insurance were the topics that were addressed in the Technical Conference organised by Freshuelva with the sponsorship of CaixaBank.

The director of Freshuelva, Rafael Domínguez, and the regional director of CaixaBank in Western Andalusia and Extremadura, María Jesús Catalá, were in charge of opening the technical conference.

In his speech «Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste. Repercussion and application in the berry sector«, the general manager of Veripack, Carlos Bureu portrayed and analysed the current scenario of uncertainty that led to the approval of this royal decree prohibiting the use of plastic packaging for quantities of less than 1.5 kilograms, which are usually used by soft fruits.

However, Carlos Bureu specified that there will be a list of fruits, including the more delicate ones, that will be exempt from this measure and in which, in his opinion, the fruits should be included berries. Precisely, Rafael Domínguez confirmed at this point that Freshuelva is working for this, so that berries can enjoy the exemption.

As well as explaining the content and consequences of this royal decree, especially for the agricultural sector in general, the director of Veripack warned of the«significant» increase in the price of plastic, but also of other materials such as cardboard, which also has supply problems, given that the possible alternative to plastic containers «is not in cardboard as it already has real supply problems.»

He also insisted that the current situation for the agricultural sector and service companies such as Veripack is one of «enormous uncertainty because we are talking about increases of €300 per tonne in the cost of the raw material of the container, not to mention that, on the other hand, they also want to impose a production tax that would vary between €300 and €500 per tonne».

On this topic Italian Berry heard the opinion of Roberto Zanichelli (Business Development & Marketing Director of ILIP S.r.l.) who said: «We are fully aware of the reasons that led to this Royal Decree and we are always in favour of a more conscious and sustainable use of plastic packaging.) who said: «We are fully aware of the reasons that led to this Royal Decree and we have always been in favour of a more conscious and sustainable use of plastic packaging, but its entry into force, in addition to an increase in costs for packagers and consumers, could paradoxically lead to a greater environmental impact due to both the use of alternative materials that are not necessarily more sustainable than plastic ones, and to greater food waste caused by the absence of packaging or the use of less performing packaging.

Roberto Zanichelli
(Business Development & Marketing Director of ILIP S.r.l.)

Packaging for berries is mainly made from R-PET, with up to 100% recycled content, a true example of a real circular economy. It is true that berries should be included in the list of products excluded from the decree, as will happen in France, but it is a shame not to recognise the sustainability of plastic and R-PET packaging.»