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26.03.2024
Latest News Wrap-Up / 26.03.2024

AI powers pilot flexible tracking system

In our latest Wrap-Up … AI powers pilot flexible tracking system. Plastic tax hike. Government backs ‘carbon bomb’. Packaging meets the Pepsi challenge. New digital recycling watermark. Call to ban sachets in the UK. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

AI powers pilot flexible tracking system

Aldi is piloting a tracking system for flexible plastics in partnership with the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) and Greenback Recycling Technologies. The initiative aims to improve the recycling and recovery of flexible plastic packaging, which is currently not widely recycled.

An AI-powered evidence system called eco2Veritas is being used to track and certify the amount of flexible plastic collected, the sorting process, and the end products created from the recycled plastic.

Aldi has received its first certificate confirming the recycling of 62 tonnes of polyethylene (PE) and 25 tonnes of polypropylene (PP), with additional volumes expected to be certified.

MEANWHILE …

Plastic tax hike

The UK's Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) will increase from £210.82 to £217.85 per tonne from April 1, according to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The PPT, which aims to encourage businesses to use more recycled plastic in packaging, was introduced in 2022 and has increased annually in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Government backs ‘carbon bomb’

The UK government is providing a £600m guarantee for billionaire Jim Ratcliffe's company Ineos to build the largest petrochemical plant in Europe in 30 years, despite concerns from campaigners about its impact on plastic production and the environment.

The plant, Project One, which is being constructed in the Belgian city of Antwerp, will import fracked shale gas from the US and produce 1450 kilotons of ethylene, the building block of plastic, each year.

Campaigners fear the plant – described as a “carbon bomb” – will turbocharge plastic production on a scale not seen before in Europe and contribute to pollution and climate change.

BRAND NEW …

Packaging meets the Pepsi challenge

A collaborative effort between several partners has resulted in the launch of packaging made with 50% recycled plastic for PepsiCo's Sunbites brand in the UK and Ireland.

The packaging meets EU regulations for food contact and supports PepsiCo's sustainability goals while demonstrating the effectiveness of advanced recycling technologies.

Less is more for KP

KP Snacks has announced it will reduce plastic packaging across three popular brands: Discos, Roysters, and Frisps. The company will invest in flow wrap equipment, resulting in a 35% reduction in plastic packaging for six-packs, saving around 100 tonnes of packaging annually.

Seasonal change at Cadbury

Cadbury, in Australia, is introducing reduced-plastic packaging for its Easter range. The changes include switching from plastic crates to cardboard cartons as well as removing excess packaging from Easter gift boxes.

Cadbury recently announced plans to use 50% recycled plastic for all its wrappers in Australia.

Whitakers on the paper trail

Chocolate manufacturer Whitakers is trialling sustainable paper packaging in collaboration with Screen, Sappi, and Mercian Labels. The partnership aims to introduce recyclable barrier paper packaging for Whitakers' chocolates to meet the growing demand for sustainable packaging options.

RECYCLING NEWS …

Feeding the demand for films

Berry Global has increased the recycling capacity at three of its European facilities as part of a project to expand the production of its Sustane range of recycled polymers. The expansion will help meet the growing demand for high-performance films made with recycled content.

The increased capacity will amount to approximately 6600 metric tonnes per year across the facilities in the UK, Germany, and Poland.

Forming a flexible alliance

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) has launched the Flexible Film Recycling Alliance (FFRA) to promote the sustainability and recyclability of flexible plastic film products in the US by increasing recycling rates, access, and education.

New technology is on the mark

Digimarc has announced the availability of “Digimarc Recycle”, a technology that utilises digital watermarks on plastic packaging to improve recycling. The technology allows for more accurate plastic sorting, enabling producers to purchase and repurpose higher-quality recycled plastics.

Solution to leftovers risk

Researchers claim to have found a solution to the risk of potential residues causing non-compliance with food safety standards when using recycled plastics in food packaging.

Nextek and NEXTLOOPP have developed new technologies to sort and decontaminate post-consumer plastic packaging, specifically polypropylene (PP), for primary food contact packaging.

Funds to help divert waste

Some £1.8 million in funding is being provided for six new recycling projects in Victoria, Australia. The projects aim to divert 9600 tonnes of material from landfills each year and contribute to Victoria's recycling capabilities.

INDUSTRY SNIPPETS …

  • Tumbler of PCR: Faerch Group has launched its new Tumbler range of food service packaging, designed with a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) material.
     
  • Getting fruity with seaweed: Sustainable packaging company Kelpi has secured a contract with fresh fruit producer Blue Skies and supermarket chain Waitrose to eliminate plastic packaging for fresh-cut fruit and replace it with seaweed-derived alternatives.
     
  • Packing it in: Food processing and packaging company Tetra Pak is closing its plant in Jurong, Singapore. The company cited “changing market dynamics”.
     
  • Shelf life mushrooms: A sustainable packaging technology that can significantly extend the shelf life of mushrooms while reducing plastic has been developed by Israeli company StePac.

SUSTAINABLE TOPICS …

  • Sachet ban call: A Plastic Planet, an environmental advocacy group, is urging the UK to follow the European Union (EU) in banning single-use plastic sauce sachets. The EU recently announced plans to outlaw sachets by 2030 as part of its green packaging legislation.
     
  • Reuse is not a priority: A survey conducted by PA Consulting revealed that 78% of consumers do not prioritise purchasing products with reusable and refillable packaging.
     
  • Toxic chemicals purged: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has announced that food packaging containing toxic "forever chemicals" known as PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is no longer being sold in the country.
     
  • EU say aye: A provisional agreement has been reached in the EU on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation proposal. The agreement includes measures such as mandating deposit return schemes and exempting compostable plastic packaging from minimum recycled content targets.
     
  • Meat terms get the chop: The French government has banned the use of terms like "steak”, "fillet”, and "ham" on the packaging of plant-based products. The move, pushed for by the meat industry, aims to prevent confusion among consumers but has been criticised by plant-based producers.
     
  • State targets waste: Draft regulations have been released in California to reduce single-use plastic and packaging waste. The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act requires producers to decrease single-use plastic waste and ensure their product packaging is recyclable or compostable.

IN COMPOST …

Education boost for waste

A consumer behaviour trial conducted by the Compostable Coalition UK found that consumers disposing of compostable packaging in food waste bins increased five-fold when provided with educational material and clear labels.

ALTERNATIVELY …

  • Materials increase gas: An Environmental Science and Technology journal study shows that replacing plastics with other materials may raise greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that plastic products release 10% to 90% fewer emissions than alternatives.
     
  • Swayed by seaweed: Sway, a seaweed packaging company, has introduced TPSea Resin and TPSea Flex Film, which are compostable and made from renewable sources.

WE’RE HIRING ...

Quality Technologist

To support our growth, KM Packaging are now seeking to recruit a Quality Technologist to join our technical team.

WE'VE HIRED ...

We're delighted to welcome Matt Gilks to the KM team as Business Development Manager looking after customers and new projects in the UK & EIRE.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY …

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