Valpak recruits retail packaging expert to enhance EPR support

Retail packaging expert Lorraine Wilson has joined the UK’s largest compliance scheme, Reconomy Group company Valpak.

Wilson brings a practical knowledge of retail systems and packaging materials that will enhance Valpak’s tools to help businesses implement data-driven packaging choices.

Wilson said: “With the arrival of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Plastic Packaging Tax, businesses face new challenges to find more sustainable options for packaging. These choices will also help to alleviate radical increases in costs. Valpak already helps customers prepare for the future by modelling potential outcomes under EPR; in my new role, I will add in-depth knowledge of retail systems, material properties, and the performance demands placed on packaging.”


Wilson has 33 years of experience in retail packaging. She began her career as a packaging designer at Belmont Packaging Ltd, before taking on roles as a packaging technologist and then Global Packaging Lead at N Brown PLC. More recently, Wilson crossed over to Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Studio Retail Ltd.


As well as advising and running master classes for junior staff, Wilson oversaw projects to streamline packaging options. This allowed sales volumes to grow whilst also reducing resource consumption. One initiative increased the volume in shipping carton and container fill, resulting in the removal of plastic packaging, the replacement of 50 percent of virgin plastic with recycled, and the removal of corrugated board.


Wilson explained that, when it comes to product protection, more is often less. “The temptation is to add more packaging in order to create better protection when, instead, a minor tweak internally will produce better results. It’s all about understanding the detail – like the way that grades of corrugated perform, or the differing properties of polymers.”


Working with Valpak’s Consulting team, Wilson will map clients’ current practices to establish their processes and packaging use – including sourcing – and to determine product protection needs. The next steps are to identify any quick wins and look for ways to re-engineer packaging to reduce waste, improve product protection, and design for operational efficiency.


Head of Consulting at Valpak, James Skidmore, said: “I am delighted to welcome Lorraine to the team. Innovation in this area is essential and this appointment is another example of Reconomy Group investing in line with its purpose to enable the circular economy for customers, building partnerships to create a more sustainable world.


“We already help businesses identify ways to reduce costs under EPR, meet net-zero targets, and identify new formats and materials. But with Lorraine onboard, we can help them to implement changes that promote circularity, and meet environmental targets, while also addressing packaging performance.”