UK –Mondelēz International together with other major food manufacturing companies such as Mars UK, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever have come together to support flexible plastic recycling in the United Kingdom (UK).
According to a statement from Mondelēz, the companies have set up a £1 million fund to help make flexible plastic recycling economically viable for recyclers and easier for consumers in the UK.
To make flexible packaging a reality, the fund will collaborate with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to give the material a stable value.
This will, in turn, increase the supply of recycled plastic, enabling the industry to become more ‘circular’ and meet the forthcoming UK plastic packaging tax obligations.
Recent statistics show that only 6% of flexible plastic packaging is recycled despite the material accounting for 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging.
The reason for the low recycling rates could be the fact that flexible plastic requires a different processing method as it often contaminates rigid plastic recycling and clogs up machinery.
Without adequate incentives to recycle the material, recyclers often have no option but to sort the material from other packaging and direct it to landfills.
This is however bound to change as the fund plans to guarantee a minimum value of £100 per tonne of recycled product to incentivise recyclers to process flexible plastic.
The recycled plastic will be turned into various products, including non-food grade plastic, non-food-grade film and food-grade film.
“The Flexible Plastics Fund is an important step to ensuring packaging is collected, sorted and recycled in the UK,” Louise Stigant, UK managing director at Mondelēz International, said.
“Meaningful change can only come when everyone collaborates, from companies, governments, waste management organisations to consumers.”
A key component of the flexible recycling initiative is collection points where consumers will deposit their flexible plastic waste.
To this end, the Fund, being led by producer compliance scheme, Ecosurety, with support from the environmental charity, Hubbub has secured the support of UK retailers Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
According to Mondelēz, the two have already signed up to support the initiative and will host flexible plastic collection points in selected stores across the UK.
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