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Coke and Pepsi To Leave Plastics Industry Association

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have told Greenpeace USA of their decision to withdraw from the Plastics Industry Association. Greenpeace highlights the dichotomy of pledging to end plastic pollution at the same time as supporting bodies that lobby for continued reliance on single-use plastic. Greenpeace says that The Plastics Industry Association uses the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) as a front to advocate against plastic bans in the US. Greenpeace says 15 states have to date passed “pro-pollution preemption laws”. 

"Industry giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo ditching pro-plastics lobbying association", Greenpeace, August 23, 2019

Kimberly-Clark Outlines Its Efforts To Reduce Plastics Use

Kimberly-Clark’s global sustainability lead for products and packaging, Daniel Locke, discussed the company’s Sustainability 2022 strategy, launched in 2016. The goals included diverting 150,000 metric tonnes of waste materials from landfill by recycling or upcycling, without specifying composition of the waste. Locke said that the company used to focus on packaging efficiency and light-weighting but, although that remains a laudable aim, it is moving to making it more recyclable, degradable or reusable. The company has not yet issued a specific “multi-pronged plastics strategy”, but it has created a dedicated UK Plastics Pact team in the UK, tasked with finding non-recyclable packaging and developing formats that are lightweight and made from recyclable plastics or alternative materials. In the UK, it’s scaling its ‘RightCycle’ scheme, launched in the US in 2011, that enables business clients to recycle disposable hygiene products, such as gloves and shoe covers, into inflexible ...  More

"Inside Kimberly-Clark's plastics packaging strategy", edie newsroom, August 17, 2019

Proposed Legislation In California Addresses Public Concern But Meets Industry Resistance

Three proposed pieces of legislation in California seek to support the state’s struggling recycling industry and shift pressure to manufacturers that use plastic. Recyclers are battling with the consequences of China’s decision to restrict imports of unsorted paper and certain plastics, which has caused oversupply of recyclable material and lowered the price of recycled materials in the US. Also, low gas prices mean plastic is relatively cheap to produce and reduced California State subsidies mean recycling is becoming uneconomic. In one illustration of the difficulties the industry faces, rePlanet, a large collector of beverage bottles and cans, announced it would close its 284 collection centers in California, due to deteriorating economics.

Two of the proposed bills would require manufacturers to reduce waste from packaging as well as certain plastic products, while the third would require manufacturers to progressively boost minimum recycled content in plastic beverage bottles over ...  More

"Tired of plastic junk? California’s recycling bills propose dramatic new rules", CalMatters, August 08, 2019

Unilever’s Magnum Ice Cream Launches Some Plastic Jars Made With Recycled Plastic

Magnum said it would be the first ice cream brand to use recycled polypropylene plastic for its packaging. In a limited trial it will launch 600,000 new Magnum jars in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, then release over 3 million in 2020 as it goes worldwide. Recycled polypropylene (rPP) has been used before for beauty and hygiene care applications but not for food packaging. To develop a solution, Unilever has worked with chemicals company SABIC since early 2018. Unilever did not indicate the percentage of plastic that is recycled, but acknowledged it uses a ‘mass balancing’ approach. It proclaimed the effort as part of its plan to ensure that by 2025 25% of plastic used in its packaging is recycled.

"Magnum launches the first recycled plastic jars", Unilever France, August 08, 2019

Lidl Introduces Reusable Bags For Fruit And Vegetables

To help prevent use of flimsy disposable plastic bags used to hold fruit and vegetables, Lidl has introduced reusable bags that cost 69p (~$1) for two. It claims to be the first supermarket in the UK to introduce such bags. The effort is part of Lidl’s plan to reduce plastic packaging by 20% by 2022. The move follows similar action by other retailers such as Morrisons and Sainsbury’s that have removed plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables, encouraging consumers to use their own bags.

"Lidl Becomes First Uk Supermarket To Introduce Reusable Fruit And Veg Bags Nationwide ", Lidl , August 08, 2019

Survey Shows UK Consumers Have Poor Understanding Of Film Recycling

A survey of over 1,000 consumers in the UK by bpi protect, a manufacturer of plain and printed flexible packaging, found that just half were aware that plastic film could be recycled. Recycling plastic film is possible but somewhat problematic and needs special processing. Although 47% thought it could be recycled at their council recycling centre, only one in 10 local authorities actually recycle plastic film and only 18% recycle carrier bags. Yet 93% said they would like to be able to recycle plastic films more easily. The survey highlighted general confusion about which plastics can be recycled and how, and which can’t. It also surfaced the importance of packaging in consumer choice, with over half saying they’d prefer to purchase a product with recyclable or with recycled content over one that didn’t.

"Research shows consumers’ understanding of plastic film recycling has a long way to go", RPC bpi protect, August 05, 2019

P&G Rethinking Brands Around Power Of Purpose

In April, P&G announced its “Ambition 2030” goals that would “enable and inspire positive impact on the environment and society.” As part of this effort, the company set out its “Brand 2030” criteria that outline actions brands can take to become a “force for good and force for growth.” In an August interview with Forbes, P&G's Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias, gave some details, saying the process starts with the brand defining its specific ambition: “What is their social or environmental commitment that they are going to choose? It needs to be measurable, it needs to authentically fit with the brand equity so there is no ‘greenwashing,’ and it needs to be brought to life with tangible acts.”

Actions are built around this brand ambition, with innovation to change packaging, communication to promote responsible consumption and reductions in the environmental impact across the supply chain. Helias gives Herbal Essences as an example. It defined its ambition as ‘enabling ...  More

"The Power Of Purpose: How Virginie Helias And P&G Are Making Sustainability 'Irresistible'", Forbes Media , August 05, 2019

A Push To Avoid Vague Environmental Terms Like ‘Biodegradable’

Language around plastics is getting tighter and retailers and suppliers may find themselves on the back foot. In an opinion piece in Grocer, Karen Bird rails against brands that describe packaging as ‘degradable’ or ‘biodegradable’ when such plastics do not fully degrade but pollute with long-lasting microplastics. She calls for precision in labeling to better inform rather than confuse consumers, saying that it is “irresponsible to use equivocal language.” A shift to clearer langue on plastics would reflect broader developments in the description of environmental and climate concerns. For example, in May, The Guardian updated its style guide, pointing to a range of scientific and professional commentary that suggests previous terms are inadequate or misleading. The media company will switch ‘climate change’ for ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global warming’ for ‘global heating’. 

"Fmcg should stop using vague environmental terms like ‘biodegradable’", The Grocer, July 31, 2019

Henkel Shares Easyd4r, A Software Tool For Evaluating Recyclability Of Packaging

Henkel is making available for download a tool it developed to quickly assess the recyclability of packaging. It’s intended to be used during the early stages of packaging development and help guide developers to more sustainable solutions. It holds data about packaging material drawn from Plastics Recyclers Europe and Henkel says it’s used throughout the company.  Independent tests by Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT affirmed the tool’s accuracy. Henkel says it’s been well received and German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt has set EasyD4R as a standard for all its suppliers. It can be downloaded here:

"Henkel shares software tool for evaluating the recyclability of packaging", Henkel , July 30, 2019

Sainsbury’s To Remove Hard-To-Recycle Black Plastic Trays From The Chiller Cabinets

The UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s said it will be first among retailers to eliminate the black plastic trays often used for chilled ready meals, in favour of a recyclable tray made from natural CPET. Sainsbury’s says the move, to be completed by November 2019, will reduce the volume of hard-to-recycle plastic by over 1,000 metric tonnes a year. Earlier in the same week, the company announced a trial to take away the single use plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetable, and replace them with reusable drawstring bags.

"Sainsbury's becomes first retailer to remove all black plastic from chilled ready meals", Sainsbury’s, July 25, 2019

Seeing Plastic As An Asset, Managed By Blockchain, Could Help Solve The Plastic Problem

In a blog post from INSEAD, the authors argue that it’s still early days in the use of blockchain in the war against plastic waste and the environmental and financial costs that entails. Raising public awareness has been a start, but the solution will require a shift in consumer behavior as well as significant resources and collaboration to speed joined up innovation from a range of stakeholders. It will also require a change in perception, seeing plastic packaging as an asset rather than trash, and a market framework to manage the assets. This, the authors argue, could be based on “crypto-credits or blockchain tokens”. The technology is being developed. Plastic Bank, a Canadian company, has established schemes in a number of developing and emerging countries that enable people to drop plastic waste at a collection center in exchange for credits on a blockchain-based app. Dutch start-up Circularise has developed a blockchain platform to accurately price recycled material and identify ...  More

"How Blockchain Can Win the War Against Plastic Waste", INSEAD Knowledge, July 24, 2019

UK Government Teams Up With Businesses To Seek Alternative Plastic Options

As part of the UK's Clean Growth Challenge, a joint initiative between the UK government and private business aims to invest some GBP200 million in research into alternative packaging options to help cut single-use plastic packaging. The government’s contribution is GBP60 million. The expectation is that plant-based options will replace oil-based plastics. Companies signed up to the effort include Unilever and Sainsbury’s. 

"UK sets out investment project to cut single-use plastics in packaging",, July 22, 2019

ProAmpac Develops FDA-Compliant Flexible Pouch With 25% Post-Consumer Recycled Content

ProAmpac collaborated with purveyor of flavored nut butters, Justin’s, to develop a plastic pouch made of 25% post-consumer recycled (PCR) that is FDA-compliant. PCR is used for 40% of the sealant film, which equates to 25% of the total packet. The pouch will be used for a new line of almond butter covered almonds and cashew butter covered cashews. The packaging ensures product freshness with high oxygen- and moisture-barrier properties. ProAmpac overcame hazy printing common with use of high PCR by combining flexographic inks and coating technologies, and changing the lamination processes.

"JUSTIN’S® and ProAmpac Pioneer Sustainable High-Barrier FDA-Compliant Flexible Pouch Using Post-Consumer Recycled Content ", Business Wire, June 05, 2019

Developed by Yuri Ingultsov Software Lab.