A new scheme launched by plastic waste expert Vanden will help food packaging producers provide retailers with the evidence that plastic waste is being managed with integrity.
With plastic waste high on the public’s agenda, brands and retailers are under pressure to ensure they manage their full supply chain sustainably. And that doesn’t just include packaging and end of life consumer waste, but also plastic waste from the manufacturing process.
There are also increasing calls for recovered plastic to be managed and supplied from UK sources, with a premium being attached to this approach by high profile brands.
Under the new Vanden scheme, thermoforming companies making food packaging are being encouraged to separate their plastic waste and return it to the original sheet manufacturer for use in the manufacture of new sheets.
This closed loop solution is transparent and trackable, providing a good recovered feedstock for the sheet supplier, providing an auditable closed loop for the packaging producer, and providing peace of mind for the retailer.
Rather than relying on nationally and internationally traded recovered polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with its incumbent price fluctuations and quality variations, the Vanden scheme will identify the original source of the material and seek to return it to that supplier.
Scott Archibald, Business Development Manager at Vanden, explained:
“Thermoformed packaging producers generate waste. While this is often separated and sent for recycling, it could end up anywhere, often being traded globally.
“Under our new scheme, we are taking that material, reprocessing it and then returning it to the original sheet manufacturer.”
The programme directly responds to brand and retailer demands for increased transparency within the recycling supply chain.
“Retailers are looking closely at their product supply chains and partnerships to ensure that they comply with their sustainability expectations,” said Scott. “They want to know how waste plastic is being managed, who’s doing it, and where it’s ending up. Furthermore, they want that process fully validated.
“This programme’s transparency provides both the evidence and security required by retailers and brands that are at the forefront of the plastic debate.”
“But it doesn’t just work for the retailer. For the packaging manufacturer, it’s a transparent way to recycle, and for the plastic sheet producer it’s a reliable source of cost-effective material that has already met their specification,” he said.
Vanden’s new scheme is not only circular and mutually beneficial, it also aims to keep material in the UK. In doing so, the miles travelled by the recovered materials will reduce, having a positive impact on the process’ carbon emissions.
“Industry has been talking about closed loop and circular solutions for many years now. By taking a specialist approach to plastics, we can design these loops to fit specific industries. It really is a win-win solution,” said Scott Archibald.