One of the dominant news themes at the start of 2018 has been the impact of plastic waste on the marine environment.
The global problem was illustrated locally by the quantity of plastic waste whipped up from the seabed by Storm Eleanor, with rockpools and beaches in Cornwall covered with plastic debris. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) has warned that there could – by weight – be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. It has created the New Plastics Economy initiative, challenging us all to drive greater recovery and reuse of plastics, an approach we at Cambrian endorse wholeheartedly.
One solution being explored is the commercial re-use of plastic collected by environmental clear ups as well as through established recycling schemes, to help crack down on plastic waste.
What are brands doing to tackle plastic waste?
The Body Shop, inspired by its late founder Anita Roddick’s commitment to environmental issues, offered products in 100% PCR (post-consumer recyclate) as early as 2008. Their early lead is now being followed by much larger companies like Procter & Gamble, who are launching the Fairy Ocean Plastic bottle, made completely from PCR plastic and ocean plastic, with an initial UK production run of 320,000. They have also modified Head & Shoulders shampoo packaging to contain up to 25% PCR plastic, changing the packaging from white to dark grey to accommodate the new materials. Procter & Gamble’s aim is to double its use of PCR in packaging by 2020.
Another big brand, PepsiCo, uses 70,000 tons annually of recycled PET (also known as ‘rPET’) across all its brands, with one – Naked Juice – packaged in 100% PCR. As well as being made from environmentally friendly material, its green credentials are bolstered by PepsiCo using 25% less energy to produce the packaging than would typically be used in conventional manufacturing processes.
What are we doing to reduce plastic waste?
The increased use of recycled material to help reduce plastic waste will no doubt accelerate this year and beyond. Here at Cambrian we are developing our new 'Ecycle' packaging, manufactured in 100% rHDPE. We would be very interested to hear from any companies that would like to be able to help their customers with what looks to be the challenge in 2018.