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04.01.2022
Latest News Wrap-Up / 2021 Wrap-Up Part 2

£1 million fund boost and more in our annual review

That was the year that was: £1 million boost for flexible plastic recycling. Essentials for collecting flexible waste. Interactive UK recycling map. Green cities league table. Key plastics topics explained and explored. Major roll-out of recycling points for flexibles. And much more …

In Part 2 of our annual wrap-up:  We look back at more of the headlines we shared during 2021.

FOR STARTERS …

£1 MILLION BOOST FOR FLEXIBLE RECYCLING

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

Collecting essentials: CEFLEX agreed on a common position on the essentials for collecting flexible packaging waste in a circular economy. And a report and research from the Flexible Packaging Consortium set out the solution for collecting flexible plastic packaging to increase recycling.

Sustainable thoughts on the future: A packaging-focused think-tank proposed a new approach to packaging sustainability as an alternative to "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle".

Point-and-click recycling map: SUEZ recycling and recovery released an interactive digital map that colour-coded UK local authorities based on their recycling rate.

Sights set on plastics target: European plastics producers called for a mandatory 30% recycled content target for plastics packaging by 2030.

Green table toppers: Cities around the globe with the best and worst recycling rates were revealed through research from Business Waste UK.

Law of the land and air: The Environment Act became UK law containing key legally binding environmental targets covering waste and recycling, clean air, nature, and water.

Organic support for compostables: A report was circulated to encourage the Government to support the usage of compostable packaging to boost food waste recycling.

Alternatives theory to pollution: Replacing plastic with alternative packaging materials may worsen the industry’s environmental impact, according to the WWF’s sustainable materials specialist Paula Chin.

Striking oil with plastic: The BBC explored chemical recycling, the financial challenge, and how plastic could be turned back into the oil it was made from at a profit.

Wasting away: The BBC also looked at where recycling and rubbish from the UK end up? Including some two-thirds of our plastic waste being sent overseas to be recycled.

 

MEANWHILE …

KEY PLASTICS TOPICS EXPLAINED AND EXPLORED

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) published a comprehensive document, “Plastics Explained: Exploring the Key Topics”, featuring key areas of political and social interest.

Challenges of supply and demand: Disrupted supply chains and increasing costs continued to challenge flexible packaging production as demand stayed high, according to an industry report from Flexible Packaging Europe.

Buyers beware: Shoppers buying products online were warned they could be falling victim to greenwashing.

 

TALKING SHOP …

GETTING TO THE FLEXIBLE POINTS

When it comes to recycling, every little helps. And Tesco helped in a big way by rolling out permanent in-store recycling points for soft and flexible plastics.

Clearing the coast: Sainsbury's partnered with Prevented Ocean Plastic to turn plastic collected from the coast into packaging for strawberries and fresh fish.

Plastic flew off the shelves: Asda started moving all of its chicken range out of plastic trays and into new pouches, saving 450 tonnes of plastic a year. It coincided with Co-op announcing it would remove plastic bags for life from sale in all of its 2600 stores.

Shop-bought facility was a first: Morrisons bought a significant stake in a new recycling facility in Scotland to process hard-to-recycle soft plastics. As a result, it became the first supermarket to own its own recycling operations.

Waste not: Lidl, which has a "Zero Waste Commitment", launched a trial plastics bag and wrapping recycling scheme across stores in the West Midlands with a plan to expand the project nationwide if successful.

Want not: Morrisons planned to launch six "zero waste" stores to recycle all packaging and unsold food by 2025. As part of the initiative, more unsold goods would be offered through the supermarket's Too Good To Go app, where surplus food is sold to those who want it at a heavy discount.

Dead wrong on bags for life: The way people were using "bags for life" meant unnecessary plastic consumption remained high, according to a report from Green Alliance.

Pet PET points: Dedicated recycling points for flexible pet food packaging made from PET and other plastics were introduced by Pets at Home in what was claimed to be an industry first.

 

ELSEWHERE …

PLASTIC PLAN ON THE UP DOWN UNDER

Australia launched its National Plastics Plan to:

  • Reduce plastic waste and increase recycling rates.
  • Find alternatives to the plastics that are not needed.
  • Reduce the amount of plastics impacting the environment.

Red light for problematic packaging: Supermarket giant Woolworths in Australia published a list of problematic and preferred packaging materials based on a traffic-light system of red, amber, and green.

Heap of compostable potential: A comprehensive new approach to how Australia could develop an environmentally sustainable system for compostable packaging was released by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

Circular roadmap in the loop: Australia's national science agency (CSIRO) developed a detailed circular economy roadmap for plastics, glass, paper, and tyres.

No waste with snacks: PepsiCo became the first large food business in Australia to move to 100% recyclable packaging across its entire snacks range.

Leading the pact: Aldi, Woolworths, and Coles joined a pact to radically cut down the amount of plastic used in Australian supermarkets.

Baby steps: Kraft Heinz launched its first fully-recyclable baby food pouches in Italy.

US AIM TO ELIMINATE TARGETS

A Plastic Pact was formed in the US by public and private sector stakeholders, The Recycling Partnership (TRP), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to set national strategies to create a circular economy for plastic packaging. It included defining a list of packaging to be designated as problematic or unnecessary by 2021 and taking measures to eliminate them by 2025.

 

FROM KM PACKAGING …

SUPERPOWERS OF LIDDING FILM

If foil is the superhero of packaging, K Foil lidding film is the trusted sidekick, completing the range of superpowers. We highlighted the key features that also make the lidding film ideal for the ready-meal market, including grades suitable for oven, microwave, and pasteurisation.

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

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