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Environment issue 'dormant' in U.S. packaging

The importance of the environment in packaging has been moved to the back burner by consumers in the U.S., say three representatives of major packagers.

In an end-user panel discussion at the Flexible Packaging Assn.'s management leadership conference in Chicago, three representatives of national consumer products companies agreed that the environment is no longer a hot packaging issue. "Generally, our perception is that consumers have backed off on their 'environment concerns' as they relate to packaging," stated Bruce Belowich, director of packaging development for Thomas J. Lipton Co., Englewood Cliffs, NJ. "It's not a dead issue with our company. But we are hearing less about it from consumers." Mark Walsh, packaging purchasing manager at M&M Mars, Hackettstown, NJ, agreed and said: "Consumers today seem satisfied. We see it as a bit of a dormant issue now." Only Norma McDonald, senior purchasing manager at Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH, demurred-just a bit. "We continue our commitment to treat our environment responsibly," she maintained. "In some of the geographies we serve [especially overseas], it's more important than ever." Still, Tom Rattray, P&G's point man on the environment, is not being replaced.

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