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Steam-powered recycling backed by Attenborough

In the Wrap-Up for starters this week ... Steam-powered recycling backed by Attenborough. Feasibility study for chemical recycling unit. Oxo-degradable plastics may be banned. Solution for collecting flexible plastic packaging. What the supermarkets are banning. And more …


Sir David Attenborough has given his backing to a ground-breaking technology that can recycle all types of plastic. 

The technology that uses super-heated steam to break down plastics will be applied in a new recycling facility constructed in Teesside.

The innovative system will create raw ingredients for endlessly recyclable new products and, when the plant is completed, 80,000 tonnes of previously "unrecyclable" plastic waste will be processed each year.


Recycling on the move: Chemical recycling has been showcased by the Financial Times in a new video. It features Recycling Technologies and their plans for mobile plants to recycle complex and contaminated plastic waste such as films used for food packaging.

Swede dreams: A feasibility study is underway for a chemical recycling unit to be established at the Borealis production site in Stenungsund, Sweden. Operations are expected to begin in 2024.

As good as new: Find out how chemical recycling is taking us towards a plastic waste-free future.


The outcomes of consultation on standards for biodegradable, compostable, and bio-based plastics have now been published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Key findings shared by the BPF include:

  • Government to explore a ban on oxo-degradable plastics, subject to further evidence and a public consultation.
  • Evidence suggests plastics should not be labelled as "bioplastics" as the term is ambiguous and offers little value to the public. 
  • Mixed responses regarding the potential contribution of bio-based plastics to a more circular economy. 
  • A majority view that biodegradable plastics have a limited but nonetheless valid role. 
  • Concerns regarding the extent plastics marketed as biodegradable actually biodegrade in an open environment.


A new report is being circulated to encourage the Government to support usage of compostable packaging to boost food waste recycling.

Compostable packaging – like our C Range of products – can reduce the amount of plastic-contaminated food waste often burned or sent to landfill. 

However, the report also highlights that compostables are not a blanket solution. One challenge is that while some compostable packaging can decompose in nature, others need to be subjected to industrial composting conditions.



A new report and research from the Flexible Packaging Consortium set out the solution for collecting flexible plastic packaging to increase recycling. Key findings are: 

  • Emerging chemical recycling technologies show great promise to deliver high levels of closed-loop recycling.
  • For many of the collection and treatment options, costs were equal to or less expensive than placement to landfill or energy-from-waste.
  • Flexible packaging should be included in the core set of items to be collected for recycling.
  • Collecting flexible packaging at the kerbside is both practical and affordable. 


  • Not whining: "… when I say an entire value chain is working really hard to make packaging recyclable and is recycled. That means we all have a role to play, and being a litter lout is not okay." – Kate Geraghty, Dow's Director of Sustainability and Advocacy EMEA.
  • Sin bin: Have people forgotten how to use a bin during lockdown, asked A Plastic Planet? Our home is not some planetary landfill. It's time we treated it better.
  • Droning on: Several UK beaches will be the focus of a ground-breaking pilot scheme this summer that will see drone-based technology used to tackle litter.



Usage of recycled plastic in packaging will jump by an estimated 40% with the introduction of the Plastics Packaging Tax, the Treasury has predicted. However, it also presents challenges, as we recently revealed in our "Catch-22" article and as Barry Turner, director of the BPF, has told the British Frozen Food Federation.


  • Class sealing: Proseal has launched a new feature to enable customers to achieve increased sealing capacity using their existing equipment.
  • Standard model: Audited certificates on recycled content in Faerch products has set a new standard for transparency in sustainable food packaging
  • Scarce sauce: The US is facing shortages of Heinz tomato ketchup after the coronavirus pandemic created a surge in demand for sachets.
  • Hot freezers: Gourmet frozen ready meal manufacturer Cook aims to boost production capacity by 80% thanks to the usage of new spiral freezers. 
  • Baby step: Piccolo has launched what it claims is the UK's first 100% recyclable baby food pouch.
  • Poly good: Mars Food has unveiled new mono polypropylene packaging for its rice packs 
  • Sweet paper: Nestlé is switching its entire range of Smarties products into paper packaging.


We have become a REDcycle partner. REDcycle is a recovery initiative for post-consumer soft plastic with collection points in Coles and Woolworths supermarket stores across Australia. Did you know, KM already offers grades in our K Peel lidding range that are RedCycle approved? 


  • 22nd April – Earth Day - Workshops, panel discussions, and special performances will focus on Restore Our Earth™, exploring natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. 
  • 27th April - Achieving sustainability in Plastics - BPF online seminar.

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

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