Communication is key to moving forward
Increasing collection volumes of recyclable plastic packaging, through both improved sorting and reclamation capacities, remains challenging. The industry is willing to step up to this task but packaging must be designed with recyclability in mind, turning the challenge back to brand owners and packaging producers.
To move forward, the entire supply chain needs to communicate, collaborate and cooperate to achieve their individual, and collective, goals — improved recyclability, increased recovery of all packaging material types and enhanced quality and volume of recycled products — which will ultimately allow the use of recycled content to grow.
Changing consumer and supply chain behaviour
While there is a need to educate and change the behaviour of consumers, an increased level of awareness and focus is required within the supply chain itself. Closing the information gap between the different entities within the chain, cooperation in finding solutions for the challenges faced by all, improving if not initiating communication throughout the chain.
‘I can’t see what’s coming’, one reclamation industry delegate commented, referencing how packaging producers can, at times, be detached from the downstream element of the life cycle. This clearly impacts the ability of the reclamation industry to invest for the future — be it type or volume of polymers or evolving construction of packaging.
The backdrop to all discussions was the Circular Economy, with the Roadmap related to the Strategy on Plastics, having only been recently announced by the EU Commission. Circularity of resources, minimising waste and value capture of end of life resources is now a common language, integral to all discussions and evolving strategies. It is no longer a matter of should we follow this approach, but how to make it happen.