The Big Plastics Debate

The Big Plastics Debate

Where: The Main Stage
When: 12 September - 15:00 to 16:45 and 13 September - 14:00 to 15:30

Sustainability continues to be the focal point of the packaging industry, as brands, retailers, manufacturers and designers all strive to balance the need for practicality and cost efficiency with an ever increasing need or more eco-friendly packaging. From the Blue Planet to the Houses of Parliament, it’s a challenge that is constantly discussed and seems far from a resolution.

The Big Plastics Debate will comprise four sessions, two on each afternoon, focusing on the key topics around the drive to reduce plastic waste. RT HON Lord Deben, described by Friends of the Earth as "the best Environment Secretary we've ever had" will be speaking as Keynote. Day one starts with a look at the Government’s role and likely course of action following the recent consultations, followed by a discussion including and Coca-Cola around taking a more responsible approach to plastic.

Day two sees a diverse expert panel, including A Plastic Planet, WRAP, Axion, ReelBrands and The Packaging Federation, take on the role of Dragons as a selection of alternative and cutting-edge materials are pitched, and questioned, in a no-holds-barred showdown. This is followed by a discussion around recycling and waste management with WRAP, OPRL, Prismm, Veolia and Church & Dwight.


in association with


Main stage - Day 1

15:00 - 16:30

15:00 - 15:30


The Big Plastic Debate 2.0

How the Government is addressing the plastic waste issue




Philip Chadwick, Editor, Packaging News

Martin Kersh, Executive Director, Food Service Packaging Association

The FPA executive director Martin Kersh will be joined by Packaging News editor Philip Chadwick to examine whether the debate over packaging’s sustainability has brought the industry into more meaningful contact with government.

Philip will start the session with a look back at the major breakthroughs in 2018 – how the industry reacted to the mounting public pressure on plastics. He and Martin will then discuss how the debate has helped open doors into Westminster and what more the industry is going to get its voice heard in the corridors of power.



15:30 - 16:00


Working with Government: how business can drive the solution to the plastic packaging problem

The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben


16:00 - 16:45

10:30 - 10:45:
Paul Day

Being the solution, not the problem: taking a responsible approach to plastic packaging


Hosted by Martin Kersh, Executive Director, Food Service Packaging Association

Julian Hunt, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola

Paul Day, Senior Packaging Technologist, Church & Dwight

Jane Skelton, Head of Packaging, Sainsbury's

Top brands and retailers including M&S and Coca-Cola will discuss whether a responsible approach to plastic could be the most effective way to reduce plastic waste.

Church & Dwight

Main stage - Day 2

14:00 - 15:30

14:00 - 14:45

The Big Plastic Debate 2.0

The materials showdown: what alternatives do we have?


Hosted by Ian Bates, Co-Founder, Reelbrands Group

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder, A Plastic Planet

Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP

Richard McKinlay, Head of Circular Economy, Axion

Dick Searle, CEO, The Packaging Federation

David Newman, Managing Director, BBIA

A selection of possible alternatives to plastic battle it out during a series of short pitches to a panel of experts including A Plastic Planet, WRAP and Axion.  


Plastic Alternatives: Pitches

skipping rock

15:00 - 15:45

Closing the loop: Addressing the challenges around waste management


Jane Bevis, Chair & Independent NED, OPRL

Mike Jackson, Managing Director, Prismm Environmental

Peter Maddox, Director, WRAP

Dr Forbes McDougall, Head of Circular Economy, Veolia

Dr Andy Rees, Head of Waste Strategy, Welsh Governement


Check out the highlights from the Big Plastics Debate at Birmingham

The first debate held at Packaging Innovations Birmingham earlier this year explored what supermarkets and drinks brands were doing to fight the plastic problem. The panel was made up of packaging experts from Coca-Cola, Iceland, Co-op and M&S.


The 25 Year Plan

Ian Schofield - Iceland

The Big Plastics Debate: M&S, Co-Op, Iceland & Coca-Cola

Q&A for The Big Plastics Debate featuring speakers




Read the full report on The Future of Packaging- Featured in The Times