Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever are just three of the household names that are part of a new European project aiming to make flexible packaging more relevant to the circular economy.
Called CEFLEX the consortium consists of stakeholders from the entire value chain, who will work together to develop new systems.
Project coordinator Graham Houlder said: “[By 2020] We expect more flexible packaging to be collected and recycled in an increasing number of European countries. Also there will be recognition of the significant value this packaging format adds to the circular economy through measurable resource efficiency, waste prevention and recycling benefits.”
The consortium plans to have proper collection, sorting and reprocessing infrastructure in place by 2025. In the shorter term, by 2020, it will publish design guidelines for flexible packaging and End of Cycle infrastructure to collect, sort and recycle it
“Flexible packaging excels in terms of material efficiency and overall life cycle performance,” states Gerald Rebitzer, director of sustainability at project stakeholder Amcor. “This creates a cascade of environmental benefits throughout the entire value chain, and avoids waste at source. What is still in its infancy is an end-to-end solution for this packaging type. This project will help close that gap.”