"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."
Food and drink suppliers looking to boost the sustainability of their products can now call on an extra resource, with the launch of a new initiative designed to increase the 'recyclability' of plastic. Created by Axion, the Design for Recycling service has been set up to help improve the plastic packaging value chain while also ensuring that the plastic also maintains its primary focus: protecting the product.
Aimed primarily at companies including packaging designers and retailers, Axion’s focus is to create a product that increases the recyclability of plastic packaging. The latest move by the UK-based company, which has three offices in the north of England, is significant because of the global attention placed on the incorrect disposal of plastic that makes its way into the world’s oceans. The issue was brought to the fore by BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series, which reminded viewers that plastic is responsible for the deaths of huge numbers of animals including whales, fish and turtles that ingest, or are caught up in, waste plastic.
The aim of Design for Recycling is to address the balance of a situation that, according to sustainability charity WRAP, sees 70% of the UK’s plastic waste in 2016 exported to the Far East. Alarmingly, it was reported late last year that China – the largest importer of the UK’s plastic waste – announced it intended to stop receiving it, necessitating the need for a viable alternative solution.
Axion’s service, which it says is unique to the market, also supports those working with industry plans to make plastic more sustainable, including Courtauld 2025, the Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan and the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
Axion’s head of circular economy, Richard McKinlay, was positive that a solution could be reached and said that momentum was building on the issue. “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 McKinlay.
“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,” adding that Axion can offer a bespoke product thanks to not using a “pre-defined tool” – an approach that enables it to achieve a balance between function and recyclability.
Amion has said that companies that take action now can get a head start on what it said would be a “push for producer responsibility” on the issue, helping adopters to gain a competitive edge in a more environmentally-focused consumer environment.
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