Monday, June 5Welcome

How global plastics industry leaders are betting big on circularity

This article is sponsored by Berry Global.

Summer 2019 changed my life for the better. I was one of over 150 NGO and corporate leaders who boarded an expedition ship to attend the Ocean Plastic Leadership Summit hosted by the Ocean Plastic Leadership Network. plastic crisis. Off the subtropical island of Bermuda, he snorkeled through the harrowing “plastic-encrusted waste” of the North Atlantic Circulation, one of five major ocean plastic hotspots. An educational, emotional, and humbling experience left everyone on that boat with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the global plastic waste crisis.

Group photo of Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit participants

As a leading plastic packaging company with approximately 46,000 employees in over 265 locations around the world, Berry recognizes the global problem and the role we play in ending it. Consumers and investors alike are demanding change and relying on brands they can trust to eliminate plastic waste. Leveraging our unmatched global capabilities, sustainability leadership and deep innovation expertise, these brands look to us to use natural resources and keep them out of the environment.

walk the talk

A multifaceted Swiss Army knife approach is needed to truly accelerate the circular economy. This includes investments in education and infrastructure to support the shift away from the outdated “lean and make” approaches.

These are difficult times, but Berry knows the future revolves around circularity. We manage in a very strategic and balanced way short-term, but we have a long-term view by prioritizing innovation for circularity as a key growth driver. In doing so, we can build an attractive portfolio for our clients while driving growth, employment and stability.

Motivated and encouraged by our customers’ ambitious sustainable packaging goals, we strive to increase the use of recycled and renewable materials, minimize waste, and improve recyclability, thereby We are dedicated to designing and developing products and materials that advance the path to Being lightweight, high performing, low carbon and cheaper than many other substrates, plastics play a key role in driving the circular economy. But instead of using virgin plastics derived from fossil fuels, we need innovative, renewable and circular products.

close the loop

By securing agreements across the advanced mechanical recycling stream, we will have access to over £600 million of recycled content annually from 2025. We will also soon open an industry-leading recycling facility at Leamington Spa in the UK. Using Berry’s proprietary closed-loop CleanStream recycling technology, our new facility not only recycles domestically collected household waste polypropylene (PP), but also cleans, sorts and sorts these post-consumer plastics. to produce food-grade materials with notable target purity standards. 99.9 percent. According to Life’s cycle analysis, packaging made with recycled materials from the Leamington Spa facility produces 35% less CO2 emissions than virgin plastic production.

This means going from cradle to cradle instead of cradle to grave by mechanically processing domestically collected household plastic waste back into packaging for cosmetics, personal care and food applications. ‘s low-carbon approach. Berry is leading the way in delivering a true value proposition for recycling and packaging, showing how companies can thrive by doing good.

From proof of concept to proof of value

Berry’s global footprint and major purchasing scale provide unique access to a supply of high-quality recycled materials, so we are continuously developing new sustainable packaging solutions to expand our proof-of-concept. testing. for example:

  • Together with Wendy’s, we are moving from choosing plastic-lined paper cups to easily recyclable plastic cups that use 20% post-consumer recycled plastic based on material balance. In his first two years alone, the transition is estimated to divert around 10 million pounds of waste from landfills.
  • We partnered with Mars Wrigley to launch a new line of treat jars that are not only lighter than previous versions, but also contain 15% post-consumer resin, saving nearly 300 tons of virgin plastic annually .
Starburst, M&M's and Skittles plastic candy jars on the counter

  • Taco Bell is testing a new plastic cup and lid set that uses 10% recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with food-grade content from products like our recycled milk jug.
  • Enforced by the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, carbonated beverage bottlers will soon have access to award-winning tethered closures designed to keep bottles scratch-free.
Water bottle with tethered lid

These advances are promising, but without far-reaching change and infrastructure investment, it will be nearly impossible to deliver enough recycled content to meet ambitious sustainable packaging goals. That is the biggest barrier, the solution of which he cannot solve with just one sector.

The wide variety of recycling collections and inconsistent education create a grossly inefficient recycling system that must be reconciled. Similarly, the plastics industry should work together across the value chain to increase access to recycling and invest in education and infrastructure designed to improve the collection and recyclability of plastic waste.

Collaboration is key

From circular resin agreements and strengthening recycling infrastructure, to joining change with industry allies, collaboration is essential to truly moving the circular economy forward. For example, it is working with food brand Heinz, retailer Tesco, advanced recycling leader Plastic Energy and Saudi-based chemical giant SABIC to close the loop on flexible plastic food packaging. We are working on an innovative recycling trial in the UK. Flexible plastic packaging collected and converted by Plastic Energy from Tesco stores is used to produce certified circular polypropylene from SABIC’s TruCircle portfolio, and microwaveable Heinz Beanz snap pots are 39% recycled soft Made from plastic. Berry manufactures a new package, sends it to Heinz, fills it with beans and delivers it to Tesco. Once empty, the pots and sleeves can be returned to the curbside collection point.

Life cycle diagram of recycled plastic packaging

Set a goal of using 30% circular plastic in rapidly changing consumer goods packaging by 2030, set science-based emissions reduction targets, and minimize waste, water and energy use. In addition, we partner with major NGOs. Succeeded in eliminating plastic waste. We signed the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment to change the way plastics are produced, used and reused, and joined the World Wildlife Fund’s Bioplastics Ingredients Alliance to promote plastics made from plant materials. We support the responsible development of plastics. It will also play a leading role with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and The Recycling Partnership to increase the use of recycled content and support the education and infrastructure investment needed to improve plastic waste collection and recyclability. doing.

Finally, the new More Together initiative, launched this fall at PACK EXPO International, uses the hashtag #Bmoretogether to encourage employees, customers and partners to share their personal passion for making a difference doing. This is more than just a marketing campaign. It’s what the industry needs now to move towards a circular, net-zero economy. This is a movement to activate personal sustainability motivation and listen to the next opportunity for action.

As long as those up and down the value chain continue to treat plastic waste with the urgency it deserves, I remain hopeful. This effort will require the buy-in and coordination of the plastics industry, retailers, brand owners, consumers, recyclers, waste management organizations, and governments at local, national and international levels, and implementation that will help us all. You need to build and maintain a viable infrastructure and business model. Reach our collective environmental obligations. It may sound like a huge burden, but I know the plastics industry is up to the task.

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