Supporting academic research: EPIC packaging and product data

Our EPIC data has supported numerous projects and we recently collaborated with The University of Exeter, where Valpak packaging data was used in a research project around the plastic circular economy in the South West. Olivia Candy's latest Blog talks about the data we hold and how it can be used by third parties.


In 1997, as a response to the introduction of the UK Packaging Waste Regulations, Valpak (the UK’s first producer compliance scheme) was set up by a group of obligated companies as a means to outsource and meet their legal requirements.

Over the past 23 years, we have helped customers to go above and beyond just compliance by offering simple, innovative, environmental solutions to aid further corporate social responsibility objectives.

In 2004, we introduced a first to market data management service (Data Insights), which allows our customers to fully outsource the data collection and submission process necessary to meet their obligations under the Packaging Waste, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Waste Batteries Regulations.

Over the years, we have collected a vast amount of product and packaging weights on behalf of our customers, which has led to the development of the UK’s largest weights database, known as EPIC (Environmental Product Information Centre). This database holds over 22 million SKUs of unique packaging metrics and weights, and the Data Insights team sense check and manage this information.

Supporting University of Exeter’s research to address impact of plastics

After discovering that WRAP and INCPEN had commissioned Valpak to create the material flow report PackFlow, using EPIC data, ExeMPLaR – a Multidisciplinary Plastics Research Hub led by the University of Exeter, contacted us to see if they could use our data for their own academic research.

The hub uses circular economy principles to address the accumulation, impact and costs of plastics in the environment, whilst maintaining applications for multiple high value purposes. They now use anonymised EPIC data to help finalise their research efforts.

Engaging with other academics

We realise that the information our EPIC database holds could be of value to other academics, who could use some of our data for their research.

We have contacted several other university academics within relevant institutional departments and sectors, such as engineering, environmental sciences and university research hubs, to establish whether our data could be used in future studies. So far, we have engaged with four prospective universities.

With ever-growing public interest in packaging – from circularity, single use plastics, alternative packaging materials and reduced packaging around products – we are confident that more academics in the future will be keen to invest in our EPIC data.

Interested in using our data?

If you are interested in using our data in your academic research, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Data Insights team on 03450 682 572 or email [email protected]


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.