News in Brief – 03/06/20

Princes commits to UK packaging recycling

International food and drinks group Princes has committed to recycling all of its packaging in the UK in 2020.An image of Princes products

Princes will work with compliance scheme Valpak to only purchase UK-sourced packaging recovery notes (PRNs). Funds raised by the purchase of PRNs will see Princes invest £4-5 million in the UK’s recycling infrastructure this year.

Moreover, Princes calls for “reform” of existing waste obligations for packaging and greater export PRN transparency to ensure materials are kept within a circular economy.

David McDiarmid, Princes Corporate Relations Director, said: “All of Princes current packaging obligations can be met by UK recyclers and we see it as our responsibility to do what we can to ensure our waste does not become Eastern Europe or South East Asia’s problem. We accept that increasing UK recycling capacity will take time and that some materials need to be recycled overseas but that is all the more reason why existing Packaging Waste Obligations need reform to encourage UK investment and speed up the process”.

Princes’ announcement follows the company’s progress on the use of recycled plastic in recent years. The company has rolled out shrink-wrap packaging made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled waste, and implemented 51 percent recycled plastic in its soft drinks and oils range, as well as 30 percent recycled content in its HDPE drinks range.

You can find more information on Princes’ sustainability efforts on the company’s website.

Plastic-free PPE in global first

Addressing the problem of personal protective equipment(PPE) adding to plastic pollution, international campaign group A Plastic Planet and packaging innovators Reelbrands and Transcend Packaging have developed clear plastic-free visors.An image of plastic free PPE

As demand continues as countries tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the producers claim over a million Plastic Free PPE REELshield Visors can be produced each week.

The plastic-free visor aims to address the issue of discarded plastic PPE entering waste streams or infiltrating marine environments. Some 761 million pieces of PPE, predominantly made from plastic, have been distributed across the UK alone since February 2020.

The visors are made from FSC paper board and PEFC cellulose from wood pulp to produce a visor which is recyclable and home compostable. A Plastic Planet has partnered with Terracycle where staff can use a dedicated bin after use. Terracycle will then collect the visors and recycle or compost them.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, said: “No-one wants to compromise the safety of employees and the public; but the plastic PPE visors are used once and then exist for centuries, polluting our planet.

“We wanted to lead by example and show that we can protect ourselves and protect our planet. We can no longer sacrifice nature without consequence. The public back a green recovery from the pandemic because quite simply, we cannot self-isolate or vaccinate against the climate crisis.”

Find out more information on A Plastic Planet on the campaign group’s website. 

Aldi toilet wipes become safe for sewers

Supermarket chain Aldi has been awarded Water UK’s Fine to Flush standard for its range of moist toilet tissues and toddler toilet wipes.

Given the problems that arise through the blockages and ‘fatbergs’ that form when non-biodegradable solid matter amasses in sewers not breaking down, the Fine to Flush symbol approves products that can pass safely down toilets into the sewer systems.An image of Aldi Toilet wipes

The Fine to Flush symbol will feature on packs of Aldi Moist Toilet Tissue and Mamia Sensitive Toddler Toilet Wipes.

Christine McGourty, Chief Executive of Water UK, said: “This is a big step forward in the fight against fatbergs, and Aldi should be congratulated on achieving the official ‘Fine to Flush’ standard. Improving the environment is at the core of what the water industry does, and the ‘Fine to Flush’ standard makes it easier for consumers to buy an environmentally-friendly product instead of one which clogs up drains and sewers. If a wipe isn’t ‘Fine to Flush’ it should go in the bin.”

Biowise £7m facility ready to compost in Crewe

Recycling and waste management firm Biowise has confirmed that it is now able to treat organic waste from Cheshire East Council in its £7-million new In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facility.

Cheshire East Council decided to expand its household organic waste collection service to include food waste and awarded Biowise with the £30-million contract in 2018 to lead an organic waste treatment solution.An image of a tractor

The facility has the capacity to process up to 75,000 tonnes per annum of food and garden waste. Over 95 per cent of the waste inputs will be recycled into quality BSI PAS 100-certified compost for use in horticultural, agricultural and landscaping markets. The remaining, small percentage of process outputs will be recycled or sent for energy recovery.

Biowise installed a Gicom IVC system along with associated outdoor composting and screening operations that provide a safe and cost effective method of recycling organic waste to stringent industry standards.

Commenting on the new facility Ralph Kemp, Head of Environment Services at Cheshire East Council, said: “This new facility from Biowise is an important part of our waste strategy as we seek to increase our recycling towards our 65 per cent target.

“Based within Cheshire East, the plant allows us to collect, process and recycle locally, helping residents to reduce residual food and garden waste. The plant also produces a superb, high-quality compost product whilst providing additional benefits and jobs for the local community.”

Recolight webinar held on how best to boost circularity

On 28 May, industry experts from the lighting industry came together to discuss proposals for new circular economy standards and regulations.An image of panel discussion for Recolight Webinar

The webinar hosted by Recolight, drew attention to the new product design legislation that will see new requirements for products in the EU, and underlined the UK Government’s plans to ensure a circular transition.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) representatives laid out the government’s environmental objectives in the 25 Year Environment Plan following the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU.

These included:

  • The Industrial Strategy has ambitions to double resource productivity and to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050.
  • The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how the government will promote resource efficiency and move towards a more circular economy.
  • The Environment Bill will, once passed into law, give the government a range of new powers to implement circular economy policies, such as wider use of extended producer responsibility (EPR).

The discussion also turned to government plans to update existing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations to drive reuse, increase collections, tackle online marketplace non-compliance and encourage eco-design.

Speakers included Secretary General of Lighting Europe Ourania Georgoutsakou and CEO of Recolight Nigel Harvey.
To access the recording and the full discussion from the Recolight Webinar: Lighting and the Circular Economy visit Recolight’s website.