The future of circular packaging for soft plastics

The future of circular packaging for soft plastics

Easy to say “let’s ban plastic”, but almost impossible to do. Every time someone says this, I wonder how deeply they have considered their encounters of plastic throughout their day.

A consumer’s use of plastic goes beyond banning the rubbish bags at home and replacing them with newspaper linings. Have they ever wondered how the vegetables got to their plate? From the use of the plastic carton liners protecting and holding their veggies during transport, to the pallet wrap that secured their coffee tins during transit from the factory to retail.

Dive into the backend operations and full transport chain of food and consumer goods and you’ll see that soft plastics are not all ‘bad’.

Ok so, there’s a role for soft plastics but where do we go from here to make it more sustainable?

The future

One of the 2025 National Packaging Targets is to have 70% of plastic packaging to be recycled or composted. For plastic packaging to be recycled, one of the key indicators that we need to look at is the recovery rate.

Recent reports have demonstrated that the recovery rates for plastics have remained relatively stable at 16-18% for the 3 year periods of 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Modelling predicts a recovery rate of 36% with the current planned infrastructure and capacity improvements. Although it’s a progress that we should applaud, it’s still a long way off from the 2025 target of 70%.

It is clear that there is more work to be done.

The solution

We at Thinkpac believe that every major brand owner needs to adopt a ‘buy recycled’ approach in their procurement policy to promote the increased use of post-consumer recycled in packaging.

This will increase the value of recovered packaging waste that would otherwise end up in landfill, which will in turn drive more investment and resources in the industry to develop further innovation in products made from post-consumer recycled content.

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