An expanded, industry-led Open Data Standard for packaging, developed initially to support efficient and consistent data capture, sharing, and reporting on plastic packaging, has now been expanded to cover all common packaging materials, including glass, metals, paper, fibre-based composites and wood.
Open Standards are standards that are free to adopt, implement and extend, and are usually developed and maintained through consensus and collaboration. They are already widely used – HTML, the standard global markup language for creating Web pages, is a good example – and have driven transformational change in areas including open banking and government IT.
The Open 3P Data Standard has been collaboratively developed by a consortium of industry partners comprising Dsposal, Ecosurety, Open Data Manchester, OPRL and RECOUP, with funding from UK Research & Innovation’s Smart Sustainable Plastics Packaging Challenge. With input from over 100 stakeholders across the packaging value chain, the aim is to help everyone involved in manufacturing, selling, and recycling packaging – from soup cartons to sealant cartridges – to collate and share packaging data with each other and with regulators and government agencies to comply with current and forthcoming environmental legislation.
“Open 3P provides a framework and a ‘common language’ to allow the packaging supply chain and its customers to share compatible packaging data easily, quickly, and cost effectively,” explains Julian Tait, CEO of Open Data Manchester, the independent, not-for-profit organisation that is developing the standard on behalf of the industry. “It doesn’t store information, it simply provides a consistent ‘recipe’ that everyone can follow in collating their packaging data.”
With the new packaging Extended Producer Responsibility legislation requiring organisations to collate and report more data on the packaging they put onto the market from the 1st January this year, the standard has the potential to help reduce the administrative burden, as well as facilitate and speed up routine supply chain data requests.
UK paperboard packaging firm Colpac Ltd has been closely involved in the development of the standard and is now looking to use it.
“Over the last year, Colpac has closely supported the development of the Open 3P Data Standard and data sharing platform. We have successfully tested the prototype standard and are now running full trials using data specific to our range of sustainable food packaging,” explains Colpac’s Compliance & QA Manager Frances Dickman.
“We are very excited by the prospect of a shared standard. This will allow stakeholders across our packaging supply chain to easily collect and share detailed and regularly reviewed data, making the process more streamlined and efficient. We hope the data standard will also support our customers as we continue to innovate with materials and packaging formats to increase the recyclability of our products.”
For ease of use, the standard has been designed to be flexible, with tiered layers of information. Users can start with a simple description of the packaging, such as its core material, and build in more detail as necessary or as additional information becomes available. This might include different barrier film layers and adhesives, for example, or components such as plastic caps, sealing strips, nozzles and ring pulls. Other key data categories include end-of-life management options and external identifiers such as product codes and chemical identifiers.
Luke Wilson, Compliance and Data Services Director at Ecosurety, comments: “We fully support the goals of the Open 3P Data Standard to bring more consistency and transparency to the data that’s put out into the market. Data is the cornerstone to progress on more sustainable packaging and as well as being aligned to the ongoing packaging legislation reforms, the standard has the potential to support and accelerate wider change towards a UK circular economy.”
If widely adopted, the project partners believe Open 3P could also help to lower the environmental footprint of packaging by promoting a better understanding of the composition of packaging formats in the supply chain, supporting improved recycling, and making it easier to identify areas where sustainability can be improved. Better and more granular data on plastic packaging will also be integral to the success of the UN Treaty to end plastic pollution1 and project lead Dsposal is responding to interest in the standard from a number of countries.
Following its launch, the standard will now be safeguarded and maintained by Open Data Manchester and overseen by an independent Standard Custodian Body made up of packaging industry stakeholders.
Access to the Open 3P Data Standard and more information can be found here and a free, open webinar on the standard in collaboration with IOM3 will be taking place on 17th July 14.00 – 15.30, register https://bit.ly/iom3packagingdata.
1 The UK, alongside other members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution, recently signed a joint Ministerial Statement in advance of the second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. Included in the statement was a call for “binding provisions in the treaty to ensure reporting and transparency in production quantities, material, chemical and product composition, traceability and labelling across plastics value chains to provide the production and product information necessary to ensure accountability throughout the value chain.”
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Notes to Editors:
PPP Phase 2 is a transformative Innovate UK backed project to improve the quality and availability of packaging data for everyone in the packaging value chain. It follows on from the SSPP funded Plastic Packaging Portals (PPP) project which ran from June 2021 to November 2022. The project has to date brought together over 100 stakeholders from across the entire packaging ecosystem to develop open and shared data on packaging at a time that is critical to the successful delivery of the new packaging EPR regime as well as broader drives for sustainability.
PPP Phase 1 was focused on plastic packaging , while Phase 2 covers the extension of the Open 3P data standard to all packaging materials, as well as the development of a data sharing platform for the entire packaging value chain and the creation of a new not-for-profit entity to run the platform.
- Dsposal is on a mission to make managing waste easier for everyone by providing compliance-focused software designed to get companies ready for mandatory digital waste tracking while also delivering immediate improvements in business processes.
- Ecosurety is a B Corp certified market-leading compliance scheme accelerating change towards an environmentally sustainable world. It ensures its members comply with the UK’s packaging environmental regulations, prepare for new EPR measures and enables sustainable product and packaging decisions.
- Open Data Manchester CIC is a not-for-profit that was formed in 2010 with a mission to promote responsible data practices that focus on the needs of all and ensure that data is used in ways that help people, our planet and prosperity.
- OPRL provides the tools and expert support for businesses to assess and access simple, consistent and UK-wide recycling and refill messages to appear on retailer and brand packaging – helping businesses to help consumers recycle and reuse packaging better, more often.
- RECOUP is the UK’s leading independent authority and trusted voice on plastics resource efficiency and recycling. As a registered charity, our work is supported by members who share our commitments including a more sustainable use of plastics, increased plastics recycling, improved environmental performance and meeting legislative requirements.