BAMA Forum Review 2022

BAMA Forum Review 2022

This year, free from the uncertainty of the pandemic restrictions on travel, BAMA welcomed several member delegates coming from abroad. The conference programme covered some substantial topics, including UK REACH, EPR, circular economy, raw material supplies, workforce management. 

After a quick buffet lunch, Adrian McCretton, current BAMA Chair and Chief Scientist at kdc/one Swallowfield, welcomed everyone and announced that Patrick Heskins was unable to attend due to Covid. The association’s Chief Executive was meant to deliver two presentations on this year’s programme and hosts the Awards Ceremony, but had tested positive for the virus on the day before the Forum. So, at very short notice, and with no time for rehearsal, Adrian, Paul Jackson and Peter Watmough stepped in and performed Patrick’s parts as well as their own: many thanks and well done to the three of them.

The BAMA Update gave an overview of what the association had worked on and achieved in the previous 12 months, the audience was encouraged to register on the new website and experience first-hand the more user friendly layout and new content, as well as the first part of the interactive training portal.

Amy Billingham, from Alupro, took us through the current state of aerosol recycling in the UK and how to prepare for the future. The Metal Matters campaign helps consumers correctly dispose of empty aerosols. And while they are generally collected and recycled without issues, consumers still appear confused about their recyclability and tend to deposit them in the general waste. The deposit return scheme for drink cans, postponed to 2024, also has the potential to disrupt the current collection of aerosol cans.

Beyond the UK borders, we gained some insight on the peculiarity of national legislation in the EU regarding aerosol products, thanks to Jean Blottiere’s panoramic view on the reality in France. Some of the relevant legislation pre-dates the EU whilst some was hurriedly enacted and brings unintended consequences for aerosols in France. Overall, things are far from homogeneous across the EU and the recommendation is to check the local legislation in addition to the FEA guides, to comply with the labelling requirements of the specific markets.

Richard Hakeem, Liquid Gas UK, was the next speaker. His talk focussed on renewable liquid gases, the production in the UK and how they will contribute towards net zero. Indeed, bioLPG delivers a 90% reduction in carbon emission and low levels of NOx, SOx and PM. Unfortunately, due to their composition, it is unlikely that rDME and bioLPG can be used as aerosol propellants without additional processing. They are, however, suitable for commercial and industrial use and, by satisfying demand from those sectors, they will increase the availability of traditional LPG and DME for aerosol filling. 

There was a relaxed coffee-break that allowed the seasoned attendees to meet the newcomers and catch up with each other, then we all went back for the last two speakers of the day.

Krystal Alliance’s mission is to promote and facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace and one of its directors, Rob Neil OBE, gave an engaging and dynamic presentation to introduce us to Cultural Intelligence (CQ). Organisations and leaders with a high level of CQ can harvest the outstanding performance derived from a diverse workforce. Improving the ability of individuals to adapt to and blend into a culturally diverse context is essential for increased staff retention and higher performance, as demonstrated by a high number of independent studies. Organisations also need to be culturally intelligent to attract diverse talent and be able to manage it.

We then welcomed Amy Peace from Innovate UK, who unveiled the grants and programmes currently available to SMEs willing to undertake collaborative R&D projects. UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million to research, test and develop step-changing circular economy projects. The studies must be on either ‘Resource efficiency & competitive manufacturing & materials’ or on ‘Sustainable biomanufacturing at scale’, focussing on displacing petrochemical materials. Submissions have to be received by 11am on 7 December, the website can provide further details.

Day two of the forum started with an interesting discovery of the world of tea: provenance, economics, organoleptic properties, processing and preserving. Guy Woodall is a tea connoisseur who has tackled the challenges involved in creating a high quality, hydrating and pleasant cold tea without the excessive quantity of sugar typical of the bottled products on the market. Glass bottles show a less-than appealing cloudy fluid, so Guy explored the aerosol option: and NoMoreTeaBags came to the world. Outrageous as it might sound, tea from the nitrogen propelled cans actually smelled very inviting when squirted in the cups. After diluting the concentrate, people started taking cautious sips. All the sample cans left on the tables had disappeared into bags and under jackets by the end of the session. It seems the product passed the tasting test.

Kurt Wolschleger, Vice-President at Plastipak, followed Guy on stage and introduced SprayPET, the first 100% plastic aerosol dispenser on the market. Produced under licence from P&G, SprayPET overcomes the hurdle of multi-material products in the recycling stream. Its PET bottle is complemented by a 100% polymeric valve, which is sealed to the container through spin-welding so there are no metal components. To complete the environmental effort, the UK Clean Tech plant which will recycle post-consumer PET bottles is powered by biogas from food and agricultural waste. The non-PET plastic from the valve can be reused for outdoor furniture, while the body of the aerosol container can become new PET bottles.

We then went on to receive an overview of the progress made to date on UK REACH and the future options. Simon Tilling, a partner at legal firm Steptoe & Johnson, delivered an amazingly engaging presentation on the intricacies of a very dry subject such as the legal framework for chemical substances. The European Union Withdrawal Act gave power to the UK government to amend the retained EU Law as long as the change are directed at mitigating failures or flaws in the law. However, the data sharing for existing EU registrations and the data requirements are all but a smooth field to cover, the resources available are limited and there are a number of cut off dates to keep in mind. Simon’s slides gave a good hint of the complexity of the subject and of the timelines available to UK companies to comply with legal requirements. 

Paul Jackson closed the conference with a detailed updated on the latest changes to UK and EU regulations, covering EPR and DRS on the recycling side, indoor air quality measurements and thresholds, and finally availability of supplies for the aerosol industry. In the longer term, companies must start working on their carbon emissions in Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 and consider the options for reusable or refillable aerosols given the likely requirements the Circular Economy in the near future.

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