Tag Archives: Plastics

PepsiCo aims for 50% rPET by 2030

PepsiCo has announced its goal to achieve 50% recycled plastic (rPET) by 2030 across the European Union.

PepsiCo aims for 50% rPET by 2030

The soft drinks firm has an interim target of 45% by 2025.  Through this target, the company will more than triple the amount of recycled plastic it uses, equating to over 50,000 tonnes of rPET.

The announcement comes in support of the European Commission’s voluntary recycled plastics pledging campaign to ensure that by 2025, ten million tonnes of recycled plastics are used to make new products in the EU market.  PepsiCo’s goal covers all countries expected to be members of the EU in 2025, and all the company’s beverage brands in PET (the primary plastic used in its bottles) including Pepsi, Pepsi MAX, 7Up, Tropicana and Naked.  The goal will apply across PepsiCo’s Beverage operations, including company-owned and franchise.

Today’s announcement builds on PepsiCo’s broader, global Performance with Purpose vision, which includes a goal to design 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and to reduce its packaging’s carbon impact by 2025.  The company estimates that currently, 90% of its beverage packaging worldwide is fully recyclable.

PepsiCo is already a significant user of food-grade recycled plastic (rPET) in the EU, using approximately 13% rPET in its EU beverage operations in 2017.

Silviu Popovici, president, PepsiCo Europe Sub-Saharan Africa commented:  “At PepsiCo, we take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously and are steadfast in our commitment to finding sustainable ways to create our products.  We have been on a mission in the European Union to advance a culture that encourages and supports recovery and recycling of packaging.  Today, I am very happy to announce that we will now go much further in the use of recycled plastics in our packaging, as we work to meet and exceed this new target in the years ahead.

“Developing an effective, long-term approach to sustainable packaging requires a multifaceted effort, and PepsiCo is committed to collaborating with the many stakeholders involved to ensure it succeeds in developing a Circular Economy for plastics into the future.  With serious under-capacity in the supply of affordable recycled plastics suitable for food packaging, we call on public and private stakeholders in the recycling system, including the European Commission, to join us and make the needed investments to expand recycling capacity.  Provided the right progress is made in increasing packaging recovery rates, and improving reprocessing technology, we will look to go even further than our current commitment.”

The company also works with multiple stakeholders to support packaging sustainability, including being a member of the New Plastics Economy, a three-year initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to build momentum towards a plastics system that works.

A critical part of increasing the availability of recycled plastics, suitable for re-use in packaging, is ensuring that bottles are placed in the recycling system, rather than littering the environment.  In addition to participating in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes across the EU, PepsiCo is partnering on programmes to increase recovery and recycling rates.  These include initiatives to promote and educate consumers on recycling, including on-pack labelling campaigns, such as “jede Dose zaehlt”/ Every Can Counts in Austria and “Vous triez, nous recyclons”, a consumer campaign in France, promoting the importance of sorting waste to ensure recyclability of plastic bottles.

Unease over governments plastic packaging plan

Critics have hit back at the government’s 25-year plan with concerns over its litter strategy and a lack of praise for packaging’s role in combating food waste.

Unease over governments plastic packaging plan

Prime Minister Theresa May set out the government’s vision on the environment and wanted to end the “scourge” of plastic packaging in waterways and oceans. She outlined plans for a tax or charge on single-use packaging and urged retailers to introduce plastic-free aisles.

However, in a statement, the British Plastic Federation (BPF) said that it was “very disturbed” at the tone of the Prime Minister’s language and it did not recognise the 170,000 jobs that the plastics industry brings to the UK.

The BPF added: “To stop plastics entering the sea from the West, the plastics industry would like to see a tougher stance on littering. It is highly doubtful that simply providing alternative materials will actually reduce littering in the UK, as this is an issue of personal behavior. It should be noted that the types of products that enter the marine environment from the UK tend to be those that have been irresponsibly littered — not packaging materials for fresh produce that are typically consumed at home and then disposed of responsibly.

“Plastics should not be in the sea and it is right that the UK, alongside other developed nations, should set an example of best practice. As has been pointed out, the vast quantity of plastics in the seas arrive there from the less developed economies of Asia, which have rudimentary waste management systems. Plastics get into the seas by a number of routes and each route needs to be dealt with separately.”

Martin Kersh, executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, was also disappointed that the national litter strategy wasn’t mentioned. He added that food waste should form part of the government’s strategy.

“Food waste was not referred to by the Prime Minister along with the role that packaging has played in extending shelf life,” said Kersh. “Whatever we do [in regards to plastic packaging] we must not risk increasing food waste.”

He added that May’s speech did not place enough emphasis on the recycling of all materials and said that the packaging industry would “100%” provide evidence for the proposed tax on single-use plastic packaging.

“What we would like to see is PRN reform on the terms of reference,” said Kersh. “We would be disappointed if this was not the case.”

Lorax Compliance chief operating officer Michelle Carvell said that “real opportunities” had been missed to create a joined-up policy to tackle “the UK’s mounting waste crisis”.

“As it stands, the government’s plan is little more than a kneejerk reaction which works as a placeholder prior to the looming policy changes ahead in our post-Brexit landscape,” said Carvell. “It says very little and promises to deliver even less, with no legal force included in the strategy.”

Gillian Garside-Wight, packaging technology director at Sun Branding Solutions, said that a “holistic approach is required to address a very complex issue”.

She added: “In our experience when our clients have switched to more responsible packaging solutions this has required investment from product development through to supply chain alterations which may or may not be cost neutral.  The ongoing debate remains – who will pick up this cost?

“Consumers are the catalyst driving change, now along with the government pledge (not just us), this will result in big changes to consumer behavior and the retail environment.  Brands and retailers need to move faster to respond to their customers’ demands.  This is a good start, however, there’s lots of other challenges to be resolved. For example, back of store packaging that consumers never see. We must not forget the primary function of packaging is to contain, protect, preserve and promote and we must continue to ensure it does not damage the environment we live in.”

The government’s strategy was welcomed by David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez Recycling and Recovery. He said that the plan “rightly places our environment at the heart of government strategy”.

He added: “Having invested heavily in new facilities to support the move away from landfill over the last decade, we are pleased that this plan recognises the important role energy recovery facilities have played in this transition and the ambition to make these facilities more efficient by identifying ways to increase the use of the heat they produce.

“Overall, the plan represents an important first step towards policies that will support the growth of our industry and enable it to play a pivotal role in the development of a more resource efficient, sustainable economy.  Systemic change is needed to tackle the complex issues facing us and ensure coordination with national infrastructure plans and the Industrial Strategy.  We urge Government to work with our industry on the detail of its new Resources and Waste Strategy to develop a world-leading approach for the UK.”

The Campaign to Protect Rural England. Samantha Harding, litter programme director said: “It’s impressive the government has chosen to respond so emphatically to the plastic plague that is already putting our countryside, cities, and oceans at risk of irreversible harm.

“The charge on plastic bags has shown that we easily adapt to financial incentives, so the prospect of further charges or taxes that could eliminate products like plastic straws and stirrers is really positive news. And promoting innovation amongst producers will be critical to ensuring we eliminate unnecessary single-use items, as well as making sure that they are taking financial responsibility for the impact these products have.”

Plastics companies rely heavily on EU workers

Plastics companies rely heavily on EU workers, says BPF survey. The plastics industry is highly reliant on EU workers and Brexit has pushed firms to automate some roles, according to a survey by the British Plastics Federation.

Plastics companies rely heavily on EU workers

The UK plastics industry is the third largest manufacturing sector in terms of employment, employing 166,000 people, of which, roughly 18,000 are non-UK EU citizens and 4,000 come from the rest of the world. EU workers account for roughly 11% of the entire workforce in the industry and one in five of all factory floor workers.

The survey showed that more than half of UK plastics companies rely on employing temporary workers during busy periods — and here EU citizens play a very prominent role, making up 48% of temporary workers. A quarter of the companies surveyed stated that they would like any new immigration policy to help them meet short-term, temporary needs.

Before the referendum, roughly half of UK plastics companies were having trouble recruiting. January’s BPF Business Conditions Survey showed that this has increased, with just under two-thirds of plastics companies now reporting difficulty filling key roles. The more recent survey, specifically about EU workers, shows that 10% of companies feel they are having trouble filling vacancies as a direct result of the EU referendum whereas 58% do not feel the result has affected their overall workforce.

The survey shows that factory floor staff and engineers are the toughest roles to fill and in order to plug the potential gap left by EU workers, 61% of companies say they may employ UK workers, 39% may train existing staff, while almost a third (29%) are also looking into the possibility of automating the roles.

Commenting on the findings, chairman of the BPF Brexit Taskforce, Mike Boswell, said: “Our industry has for some time experienced difficulty in finding the right staff for key roles and unfortunately Brexit appears to have made this situation worse. This survey has underlined the importance of EU workers in our industry.

“If companies that rely on temporary workers to fulfil their orders lose access to almost half of the temporary workforce, this will pose an enormous challenge. It is important that at this point companies are exploring all feasible alternatives, including investment in upskilling the existing workforce as well as the development and implementation of technology to automate roles, for which we will require further assistance from the UK government.”

The role of EU workers in the plastics industry survey was carried out in 2017 and was completed by almost 90 companies. To access the full survey, as well as a summary of the findings, visit: http://www.bpf.co.uk/eu/home.aspx

Boomerang Plastics recycling plant shuts down

Midlands-based recycling firm Boomerang Plastics recycling plant shut down by parent group Summit Systems.Boomerang Plastics

It brings to an end four years of Boomerang Plastics recycling operations, with all creditors paid and the site being cleared and equipment sold. A spokesperson told 12 staff have been made redundant, two of whom have been transferred to other divisions.

Boomerang Plastics was established in 2011 and expanded rapidly on the back of a contract to process used Muller yogurt pots. It comprised a unique processing line developed to separate the unusual mixture of part-clean plastic pots, yogurt, printed wrappers, card and foil – Warwick University was involved in the initial line design that addressed the issues of multiple materials and colours.

A line was conceived that harnessed cutting edge density separation technology, cold washing, hot washing, chemical separation and colour picking. Specialist software was used to map out the design intricacies of the plant.

It processed 150-200 tonnes of waste per week which enabled circulation back into the packaging chain.

Mike Jordan, managing director of plastics ancillary business Summit Systems and owner of Boomerang Plastics, said the business was plagued with a number of issues ranging from a 2014 arson attack that led to a relocation, a hike in both electricity and insurance prices, the plummeting price of oil and, ultimately, a lack of incentive to recycle in the UK.

Jordan said he would now be focussing on supplying the industry with recycling equipment.

“We are of course disappointed with the outcome, but, we have learnt some valuable lessons and have walked away ensuring all our creditors were paid. We will now be focusing on driving forward our successful new recycling systems business ‘Summit Recycling Systems’ which will design and build MRF and PRF sorting plants.”

The plastic recycling industry is going through tough times, with the low price of recycled material, high insurance and a lack of incentive to recycle in the UK have left many businesses unfeasible.

Globally, the market for plastics recycling is not getting smaller as plastic usage increases. However it is cheaper to recycle internationally where labour costs are low hence the UK market is shrinking.

There is also criticism about the UK’s recycling targets, which some experts claim are not genuinely met as collecting and exporting is not the same as recycling.

The Body Shop plans to make packaging out of pollution

The Body Shop is looking to extract harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to make containers and bottle lids.

The Body Shop

It’s believed that by 2020 The Body Shop scheme could reduce the number of plastics made from oil by 70%.

The packaging would use methane, a waste product which is said to be more harmful to the atmosphere than C02 when the same amounts are compared, and customers would be encouraged to bring the bottles back to be refilled.

The California-based company which makes the new plastic, Newlight Technologies, collects methane from farms and natural gas refineries.

As explained in the video, the gas is put into a reactor with enzymes to absorb the carbon and oxygen, rearranging the particles into a solid material known as ‘Air Carbon’.

This can be melted down to make pellets which can then be shaped into containers, The packs will adorn the retailer’s range of body butters.

Founded by the late Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop became renowned for its ethical and environmental stance, being against animal testing and encouraging recycling.

For more information on The Body Shop’s unique recycled and plastic packaging projects follow the link:

HOW DOES OUR RECYCLING SCHEME WORK?

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