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Supermarkets Call for Plastics Ban

Wrap-up - 30/10/2020

In our latest wrap-up ... we bring you a collection of chemical recycling news, reveal how plastic smashes glass on carbon emissions, provide an update on the challenges of PCR at high temperatures, highlight new profiles for premium oven-ready tray solutions, and more …

THE RECYCLING COLLECTION …

CHEMICAL REACTION

Partnering to call for ban on degradable plastics

The top supermarkets are among 40 organisations that have called on the Government to ban plastics which are only degradable in industrial conditions with chemical additives.

Representatives from the likes of Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi, and the Co-op have signed an open letter that includes: "We call on the Government to protect our environment, protect our food production, and protect British business by banning these materials immediately."

The calls for the ban followed news that the British Standards Institution (BSI) had enacted a new specification supporting the sale of such oxo-degradable plastics.

CHEMICAL ATTRACTIONS

Partnering for recycling initiative

A project aimed at increasing chemical recycling for hard-to-recycle plastics waste has received a £3.1m grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The project's innovative process has been developed by Recycling Technologies to create a potential solution for recycling low-grade soft and flexible plastics. These plastics are difficult to recycle mechanically and aren't collected by many local authorities.

The project partners are Neste, who will use the produced material to manufacture new items, and Unilever, who will supply experts to support the process.

Sebastian Munden, EVP & General Manager, Unilever UK and Ireland, said on LinkedIn: "Unilever is committed to halving the amount of virgin plastic we use in our packaging by 2025, including increasing our use of recycled plastic."

Partnering for recycling plant development

A major new chemical recycling plant could be developed in the UK thanks to a partnership between Nestlé UK and Ireland and Plastic Energy.

The companies have joined forces to explore the feasibility of developing the plant that would use specialist recycling technology to transform traditionally hard-to-recycle plastic waste.

Plastic Energy, a leading chemical recycling company, already has two similar recycling plants in Spain.

Partnering to recycle harder grades of PET material

Waste management company Biffa has joined the Poseidon Project, a cross-industry initiative aiming to create a process to chemically recycle harder grades of PET material.

The project, which has received £3.4 million of funding from UKRI, is set to start early next year.

Mick Davis, Chief Operating Officer for Biffa's Resources &Energy division, said: "The Poseidon Project has the potential to become a meaningful building block in expanding the UK's recycling infrastructure, to create a more sustainable future."

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Smashes glass on carbon emissions

A report has found that "plastic can provide the lowest carbon emissions of available materials providing it is recycled properly".

The report was commissioned by Veolia, a leader in environmental solutions, and published by Imperial College. It evaluated the environmental impacts of packaging alternatives over their lifetime, including glass and cardboard. Among the items considered were mining, manufacturing, logistics, usage, and end-of-life management covering recycling or disposal.  

PERFECT PET 

Optimal solution designed for recyclability

Mono PET packaging structures represent the optimal solution for the flexible packaging market to hit recycling rate and recycled content targets, according to BOPET Films Europe.

A good example is our mono solution that's designed for recyclability. Particularly relevant to the meat, poultry and fish/seafood market, the mono-material lidding films have an all-polyester structure and are available with a high-oxygen barrier.

POST CONSUMER RECYCLED (PCR) CONTENT

Update on the challenges of high temperatures

We recently wrote about "The challenges of PCR in lidding film for high temperatures". We've now updated the article following further consultation with Mitsubishi Polyester Film. 

Specifically, PET derived from chemical recycling is currently not within the scope of regulations on recycled plastic materials intended to come into contact with food. 

This is being reassessed and it's advised the outcome should be awaited before using chemical recycled polyester in oven applications.

PROFESSOR ASKS THE QUESTIONS

What do you need to get your recycled plastic food-contact approved? 

It is far from straightforward to answer this question, according to Kim Ragaert, Professor of Circular Plastics at Ghent University.

Kim and other experts have collaborated on an article with highlights that include: 

  • Plastics recycling for food contact is subject to a complex interplay of regulations. 
  • Very few Food Contact Materials (FCM) exist for recycled plastics other than PET. 
  • Plastics recyclers experience navigating legislation as an obstacle for increased FCM recycling.  
  • End-of-waste criteria for plastics would increase clarity for FCM recycling. 

 Is the world being entirely fair to plastics?

A throwback to May 2019 … Kim Ragaert also addresses this question and shares her views in the video "TEDx - Plastics Rehab".

IN OTHER NEWS

Oven-ready tray solutions

Circularity video more than vision

  • Faerch Group has shared their video on creating circularity in food packaging and how they use up to 100% recycled content. 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

  • KitKat urges Aussies to "give the planet a break" and deposit their soft plastic wrappers at REDcycle collection bins in major supermarkets.
  • Also Down Under, a group of packaging professionals virtually gathered at this week’s virtual edition of the AIP Australasian Packaging Conference to thrash out the problems and hurdles that hinder a closed-loop, circular economy for packaging materials, including soft plastics.
  • UKRI and WRAP announced their collaboration on a project to develop and deliver a Plastics Pact in India. It aims to enhance knowledge exchange by boosting cross-sector collaboration.

SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND 

AND FINALLY – TOO GOOD TO GO

From the KM team … Stay Safe, Keep Up the Good Work, and Value Plastic.
 

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KM Packaging launches mono material polypropylene lidding films

Global flexible packaging and lidding films supplier KM Packaging has launched a new range of mono-polymer material lidding films, made from polypropylene (PP), that is designed for recyclability. 

The sustainable films seal and peel to PP and PE-lined PP trays and can be used during microwave cooking as well as being suitable for ambient, chilled, or frozen applications. 

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