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Help to Minimise Unintentional Product Residue (UPR) in Packaging

A new guide has been launched in a bid to reduce issues associated with consumers not being able to get every bit of a product out of its packaging.


The guide has been produced by the Industry Council for Research on Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN) in a bid to tackle the issues associated with Unintentional Product Residue (UPR). It will help pack designers, retailers and manufacturers deal with the problem of bits being left at the bottom of packaging. This is waste left in packaging that consumers either cannot get to, don’t have the time to bother with or are unaware of.

The release of the guide follows a proposal from Boots UK, which wants to promote a greater understanding of the problem. INCPEN and the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) then commissioned a Leatherhead Food Research study. The research highlighted common reasons why the issue arises and steps that can be taken by producers to prevent the problem of UPR from arising.

It was based on the examination of 362 samples involving regularly used cosmetics, foods, cleaning products, DIY products and toiletries. The study found that seven per cent had issues with over five per cent of UPR being left, although more than two-thirds of the samples were found to contain under one per cent.

INCPEN has warned that the issue of UPR can have negative implications for both a business’s reputation and its economic performance. UPR is also a waste of products, along with the raw materials and energy used to make them – something which can then have an impact on processing, manufacturing and distribution costs.

Another important consideration is the effect UPR can have on consumer attitudes. Customers may end up feeling cheated if they are unable to make use of all of the product they feel they have paid for. Last but not least, UPR can cause issues when it comes to recycling and lower the recycled material yield.

The INCPEN ‘The Bit at the Bottom’ guide aims to offer support to manufacturers in their efforts to prevent the problem by highlighting considerations that should be taken into account during product development. These include a product’s nature, packaging design and eventual consumer use of both the packaging and the product itself.

The guide stresses the importance of making sure that packaging is a perfect match with a product and offers a checklist to support existing methods to reduce levels of UPR.

The guide is available to download at

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