A new “design for recycling” service, aimed at helping the plastic packaging value chain ensure that placed on the market has been optimised for end of life, while maintaining its primary function of product protection, has been launched.
Circular economy company, Axion, says the new service is aimed at a range of stakeholders in the food and beverage supply chain, including packaging designers, food manufacturers, brand owners and retailers.
It also supports those working with industry initiatives to increase the recycling of plastics and develop end markets for recycled plastics. These include Courtauld 2025, the Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan (PIRAP), the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) and the new Plastics Economy Project.
In 2016, nearly 70% of the UK’s plastic packaging waste that was collected for recycling was exported, mainly to the Far East, according to latest WRAP figures. With the new National Sword initiative coming into effect in China, this level of export is unsustainable. To ensure recycling targets are met, “design for recycling” will play a vital role in developing a more robust domestic recycling infrastructure.
Richard McKinlay, Axion’s Head of Circular Economy, said: “The spotlight is very much on plastics. Momentum is building as the issue of how we manage packaging waste is climbing up the agendas of every nation.
“On the horizon, there’s going to be a push on producer responsibility that will require packaging to be collected and recycled. Brand owners taking action now on their packaging designs can future-proof them against forthcoming issues. This would help to gain a competitive edge in a more environmentally-focussed consumer environment.
“During the packaging design process, advice is given on material choices and product design aspects that affect the recyclability and value at end of life.
“Our analysis helps clients to understand how their packaging will be treated at end of life and how this is impacted by the design of the pack,” explained Richard. “By identifying the characteristics that reduce the material’s value at end of life, we can suggest alternative choices that can be more readily recycled.
Increased recycling of plastic packaging waste in the UK would, he argued, reduce the risk of it getting into the world’s oceans.