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£1 million fund to boost flexible plastic recycling

Wrap-update - 28/05/2021

In this Wrap-Up-date … an important news story that’s just been released.


Five manufacturing giants have united to form a £1 million fund to help make flexible plastic recycling economically viable for recyclers and easier for consumers.

Mars UK, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Unilever are supporting the Flexible Plastic Fund, which is a UK industry first and is being led by producer compliance scheme Ecosurety with support from environmental charity Hubbub.

Under the mantra “We’re bringing flexi back”, the new collaborative fund is intended to give value to flexible plastics – including plastic film lids – so they are properly recycled.

And the message is: “Whether you call it flexi, flexible, soft or ‘plastic bags and wrapping’, there are loads of ways to describe things like wrappers, packets, film, and pouches. The important thing is that it can now be recycled.”

The Fund will guarantee a minimum value of £100 per tonne of recycled product to incentivise recyclers to process flexible plastic. The intention is to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by giving the material a stable value.

Supermarkets supporting the initiative

It’s hoped the Fund will increase the supply of recycled plastic, enabling industry to become more “circular” and meet the forthcoming UK plastic packaging tax obligations. Another aim is that investment will be motivated in much-needed jobs and infrastructure to make flexible plastic recycling a financially sustainable system in the UK.

Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have already signed up to support the initiative by hosting flexible plastic collection points in selected stores across the UK, and several other major retailers are set to follow suit. You can find a collection point on the Fund website.

The long-term ambition of the Fund is to drive progress towards creating a circular, UK-based flexible plastic recycling market that allows flexible plastic recycling via household collections. Currently, just 16% of UK local authorities offer household collection of flexible plastics.

Recycled into a range of products

The Flexible Plastic Fund wants to target all flexible plastic packaging, including flexible, soft, scrunchy bags, pouches, sachets, wrapping, and films. And it has said: “There is no need to check a tiny number hidden somewhere on the labelling.”

The plastic can be multi-layered, be a combination of different plastics, paper and foil. It can be plain, printed or coated. All they ask is for it to be clean to make the whole recycling process easier.

The recycled plastic will be turned into various products, including non-food grade plastic, non-food-grade film, and food-grade film.

The Flexible Plastic Fund is calling for recyclers, manufacturers, and retailers to get in touch to play their role in this new scheme that is driving solutions to flexible plastic waste in the UK.

To find out more, you can visit The Flexible Plastic Fund website.

From the KM team … stay safe, keep up the good work, and value plastic.

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