Sustainable packaging in Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester firms are in prime position to help the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) make all plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
World class research in advanced materials, sustainable consumption and robotics make Greater Manchester the place to design and commercialise the packaging of the future.
Here, you’ll find an innovation-driven food, drink, and packaging cluster where companies have access to market-leading sustainable packaging technology and innovation, capabilities and skills.
Foreign direct investment
Green finance and innovation, Food and drink
Sector and market opportunity
There’s a growing and urgent need from businesses and consumers for sustainable packaging that’s made from environmentally friendly new materials. This means products that can be reused, recycled, and disposed of sustainably.
You can meet this demand and develop vital solutions in Greater Manchester, by:
- collaborating with a strong and vibrant food and drink cluster of more than 700 companies
- accessing capabilities in sustainable packaging
- working with an academic base that excels in advanced materials science, manufacturing digitisation and packaging automation research
Further opportunities exist to design and commercialise technologies that will support the development of sustainable, smart and digital packaging solutions.
Recent government and industry commitments present a clear pipeline of opportunities in Greater Manchester. Here, companies can capitalise early on ideas that will shape the future, worth a projected £309 billion globally by 2024.
In the heart of the UK’s food and drink corridor, Greater Manchester is perfect for investing in sustainable packaging.
Companies have access to a food and drink manufacturing and related services cluster of more than 700 companies and a packaging cluster of more than 200 companies.
Key businesses in the area include Kraft Heinz, McVities, Heineken and Kellogg’s.
The region is also driving innovation with key centres of excellence, including the University of Manchester’s Department of Materials, one of the largest in Europe.
Rail services to Manchester run along one of the primary lines in the UK, connecting London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow.
The fastest trains from London to Manchester take just over 2 hours to reach Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester’s central station.
Manchester Airport offers access to more than 200 international destinations.
Manchester Ship Canal, Port Salford and the Port of Liverpool connect companies to the global supply chain.
Local talent and skills
More than 200 local companies offer expertise in packaging machinery and services, and 11,500 highly skilled workers are employed in the packaging industry.
The region’s 4 leading universities create 3,160 industry-ready graduates a year, specialising in chemistry, materials, science and engineering.
Research and expertise
Companies can collaborate with world-leading capabilities at Europe’s largest centre for advanced materials research, and access cutting-edge innovation in composites, polymers, and graphene.
Key assets include the:
- Henry Royce Institute for advanced materials
- International Centre for Advanced Materials
- Institute for Materials Research and Innovation
- National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility
- National Graphene Institute
North of England
The North of England is recognised as a global centre for creativity and design and attracts thriving international investment. This heritage of expertise and manufacturing know-how is well established on the world stage, and historically gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.
Enabling clean growth
The UK government’s resources and waste strategy sets out how the country aims to become the world leader in using resources efficiently. It’s driven by a focus on innovation and new incentives and policies that will open up the market for sustainable packaging.
Directly linked to this is the WRAP UK Plastics Pact, which aims by 2025 to end unnecessary single-use packaging (replacing redesign, innovation or alternative delivery), with 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
Manchester is also supporting local demand for sustainable packaging, with its accelerated target to be carbon neutral by 2038 and reduce waste. It’s helping firms be innovative, and develop products and services to tackle this challenge.
The Mayor’s PlasticFREEGM campaign is tackling single-use plastics by increasing sustainable, reusable, compostable and recyclable choices in the region.
Local and national government support
Local councils can provide recruitment and training, financing and potentially reduced business rates for investors.
HELLO Manchester provides cheaper space, flexible leases and introductory offers from legal and accounting firms.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority Core Business Fund offers loans and equity. These are between £500,000 and £5 million for businesses creating jobs in the region.
Bobst Manchester, part of Swiss multinational Bobst Group, is a leading supplier of vacuum-roll coating and metallising equipment for the food packaging market.
Using the Manchester Metropolitan University’s expertise in surface characterisation techniques, Bobst developed a new, sellable transparent packaging product.
Spanish company Saica are major European recycler, with its UK headquarters in Manchester. Its investment makes it the third largest company in the UK to recycle paper into corrugated board.
At the Saica Flex innovation centre in Wigan, customers work with Saica to design packaging solutions using a circular manufacturing process.
Skelmersdale-based TRAKRAP’s cold wrapping technology is revolutionising the packaging of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
This sustainable packaging solution reduces energy consumption by around 90%, and plastic film use by up to 70%. The potential market is huge, with about 4,200 suitable production lines in the UK alone.
Plant-based and alternative protein products in the North East
The UK and the North East of England is leading the way when it comes to developing environmentally friendly and sustainable plant-based and alternative protein products.
Immersive technology in the North East
Immersive technology is optimising the design, construction, operations and maintenance of assets across sectors including renewable energy, maritime and advanced manufacturing.
Compound semiconductors and applications in South Wales
South Wales is pioneering the way forward in designing, developing, and commercialising the compound semiconductors needed for a net zero economy.
Circular economy in Telford
The UK is leading the uptake and recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) and in Telford, investors can access a growing cluster of circular economy companies. They focus on large appliance e-waste and use the talent and wider industry ecosystem to seize the opportunities in this sector.
Wastefront waste tyre recycling plant, Sunderland
Wastefront AS is offering an opportunity to invest around £120 million in the construction of a waste tyre recycling plant in Sunderland.
Hunterston Marine Yard in Scotland
A shovel-ready opportunity to invest in the re-commissioning of one of Europe’s largest dry docks, providing much needed capacity to the UK’s growing offshore wind farm industry.
East Midlands Freeport
The East Midlands Freeport is the UK’s only inland Freeport, with unparalleled connectivity across the country, to international cities, and home to a wide range of innovative sectors.
Thames Freeport is Britain’s trading future. With 1,700 acres of development land across three zones along the Thames River, it is at the centre of Europe’s biggest consumer market.