Shocked Into Action: Interview With Wabel Pack for Change Founder Antoine Bonnel

“I have always been shocked since I was a teenager by the plastic waste I found in nature in my country or during my travels abroad,” said Antoine sadly. In October of 2020, as part of the development for Wabel, Antoine created the first edition of Pack for Change, the first Summit dedicated 100% to environmentally friendly packaging.

What Was the Turning Point That Made You Develop the Pack for Change Summit?

“Whatever the place, the country, I had discovered this terrible reality: plastic waste in nature is the result of an intentional act of a human being! The biggest shock was when I accompanied a sailor friend on his boat in the Atlantic; as we were sailing along, we came upon abandoned containers and pieces of plastic floating around in the sea.

Of course in my personal consumption, I am confronted every day with the overpacking of consumer goods and the use of plastic packaging for single-use products. I decided that enough was enough and I became obsessed with one question: what can I do to accelerate the ecological transition of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)?”

How Did You Turn a Burning Question Into a Successful Summit?

“Behind the creation of the Wabel Pack for Change Summit, there is also the desire to support distributors and international brands to reach the targets of the European Plastics Pact of 2025,” explained Antoine, pictured on the left. According to the non-profit company, their main goal is to accelerate a circular plastics economy in Europe and achieve 0 plastic waste and 100% recycled plastic by 2025.

“The Wabel Pack for Change Summit can help by facilitating contacts between eco-friendly packaging manufacturers and brand users. We’re not only focused on Europe, Pack for Change also aims to accelerate the ecological transition in other parts of the world, such as Latin America. Brazil just passed a new law a few weeks ago banning the use of plastic for single-use products. This is a great victory for nature. When I think about Brazilian beaches invaded by plastic cups scattered across the sand at the end of the day, I hope that we can help change that.

Pão de Açucar, the number one retail chain in Brazil and Colombia just registered for the next Online Wabel Pack for Change Summit in October! As Brazil is a major sugar cane producer, they want to discover sustainable packaging solutions and in particular bio-sourced plastics.”

How Did You Start the Pack for Change Project and How Has it Evolved Since?

“I started Pack for Change less than a year ago and was positively surprised by the support I immediately got from the European paper giants such as; Stora Enso, BillerudKorsnäs, or Metsa. Since then, the paper companies have been joined by recycled material providers, bio-sourced plastic companies, innovative start-ups offering new materials such as Alternative Plastic or packaging leaders such as Berry Global and Albea.

In less than a year, Wabel’s Pack for Change Summit has become the leading event in Europe for eco-packaging by presenting three levels of packaging solutions to participants:

 Solutions already available on the market
 Solutions being launched shortly
 New packaging projects & technologies scheduled for launch in 2023-2024.”

How Do You See Sustainable Packaging Developing in the Upcoming Years?

“It is very difficult to give a precise vision of the evolution of the market as the laws still differ from one country to another. The other complexity lies in the fact that the recycling channels are not all at the same level. For example, compostable packaging solutions aren’t very popular in France today because the home compost sector hasn’t developed as it has in Germany.

Sustainable packaging is in constant evolution as new materials or technologies are arriving on the market. Airless technology for tubes and aerosols is a good example of recent innovative packaging solutions. The only thing we can be sure of so far is that Europe is bound by the 2025 European Plastics Pact. This is a very ambitious goal considering that so far only 26% of plastic is recycled in France!”

Wabel Online Summits Can Help Achieve 0 Plastic Waste

Wabel’s Pack for Change is a two-day Online Summit with pre-matched and pre-scheduled online B2B Smart Meetings between qualified packaging buyers from Retailers, Brands, Co-packers and converters which have sustainable packaging solutions for Food, Drinks, Cosmetics & Homecare.

Leading up to the event, each participant has access to the offered packaging solutions, as well as requirements or specific needs that buyers are looking for. Wabel’s Customer Success Managers help set up all profiles, making sure that everything is accurate and relevant. On the basis of this information, each registered converter selects the most relevant buyers for it’s company. The Wabel and Pack for Change team analyses the needs on each side and organizes a personalized agenda of One-to-One B2B Smart Meetings.

The upcoming Online Summit will be focused on:

– Reducing Packaging, in particular, Plastic Packaging
– Developing new eco-friendly packaging materials (bio-sourced, biodegradable, compostable)
– Introducing innovative packaging solutions / new uses
– Recyclable packaging & Circular Economy
– Reuse & Refill solutions

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