News in Brief – 27/09/22

ALDI launches soft plastic collection points in almost all UK stores

ALDI soft plastic collection pointSupermarket giant Aldi is set to roll out recycling bins for soft plastics across over 800 stores nationwide, aiming to help customers recycle tonnes of ‘problem materials’ annually.

After a successful trial last year, Aldi will introduce collection points so that customers can return all types of clean, soft plastic packaging – including crisp packets, salad bags, bread bags and carrier bags – regardless of where the items were originally bought.

Estimating collection rates, the supermarket expects to accumulate ‘up to 1,000 tonnes of plastic a year’ once the bins are fully installed by the end of this year.

Aldi aims to see the collection points make it easy for customers to recycle their waste, as UK local authorities do not currently collect soft plastics.

Richard Gorman, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “We are always striving to reduce plastic waste wherever possible, and we know how important this is to our customers. This rollout is a step in the right direction and provides our shoppers with an easy option to recycle their problematic soft plastic packaging in the UK.

“We hope customers utilise our collection bins to help us make a positive change by recycling more waste.”

Helen Bird, Head of Business Collaboration, WRAP, added: “A fifth of the plastic packaging that we’re all left with at home is plastic bags and wrapping. There are opportunities to reduce this, but where plastic is used, packaging design needs to be simplified and recycling systems are needed.

In future years, this packaging will be collected directly from people’s homes and places of work, but solutions are urgently needed today to tackle the growing mountain of waste.”

“Many citizens have shown that they are willing to take plastic bags and wrapping to their local food stores for recycling, and this move by Aldi means that more people across the UK will be able to do just that. We have seen trials and regional [rollouts] of similar schemes by other supermarkets working towards The UK Plastics Pact goal for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2025, this move by Aldi is a great achievement and one we fully support.”

TIPA launches compostable barrier film for crisps and nuts

Biodegradable plastic packaging company TIPA has introduced its new ‘312MET’ compostable film for crisps and nuts.

TIPA says that its new film has improved ‘sealing properties’ and a high barrier that enables quick conversion without the need for an additional sealing layer. As a result, the product is thinner than is typical in the industry.

Salt and oil content that is present in products such as crisps and nuts can act as a corrosive, with the company highlighting that this is often a barrier against using compostable materials to package them.

As stated by climate action body WRAP, the UK disposes of 290,000 tonnes of plastic bags and wrapping each year – including crisp packets. Only six per cent of this is recycled, and the remainder often ends up in general waste and landfill. TIPA adds that Britain is the third highest consumer of crisps and salty snacks worldwide, eating six billion packets each year.

Its packaging solution has been designed to substitute conventional plastic, giving the same benefits but being able to decompose in compost, ‘leaving no waste behind’.

Dr. Eli Lancry, TIPA’s Chief Technology Officer, said: "TIPA endeavours to always remain on the forefront of developing innovative, planet-friendly technology.

“We are proud to launch a film that performs just like traditional plastic with an extremely high barrier, offering customers convenience and reassurance that the quality of their product will be protected. This is only one of many novelty products we have and will produce in our R&D centre.”

DS Smith and Krones partner to launch fibre-based alternative to plastic shrink-wrap

DS Smith ECO Carrier 6 PackPackaging company DS Smith has announced a partnership with packaging machinery and systems provider Krones to create a fibre-based alternative to shrink-wrap, for use in PET bottle multipacks.

According to the companies, ‘ECO Carrier’ can be applied using the Krones mechanisation system for its LitePac Top range, which uses corrugated board clips to hold PET bottles together.

Environmental benefits of the product beyond plastic replacement include its production which employs Circular Design Metrics – this, the partnership says, gives it the potential for a 71 per cent reduction in carbon footprint compared to plastic shrink-wrap, 100 per cent recyclability, and makes it both 100 per cent a renewable source and ‘100 per cent planet safe’.

Marc Chiron, Sales, Marketing and Innovation Director, Packaging at DS Smith said: “Our customers and consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions to replace problem plastic while integrating seamlessly with their production lines.

“Through our work with Krones, we are able to help our customers reduce their plastic usage, increase recyclability and transition to the circular economy by providing fully-recyclable fibre-based alternatives through an easy-to-implement solution.”

Wolfgang Huber, Head of Order Center and Assembly, Packaging Technology at Krones, added: “Our collaboration with DS Smith represents our shared sustainability ambitions which seek to provide products that align with consumers’ increasing desire for climate- and environment-friendly lifestyles.

“As a turnkey supplier with customers in every corner of the world, we have the expertise, the technologies, and the reach to contribute substantially to the complex sustainability challenges of today and tomorrow by making use of proven and state of the art packaging machinery made by Krones.”

Closing the Loop project announces second plastic waste recycling facility in Ghana

As part of a project co-funded with the European Union, the ASASE Foundation – in partnership with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) – has announced the ‘CASH IT! Tema West Plastic Waste Reprocessing Plant’ in the capital city of Accra, Ghana.

With a processing capacity of ‘up to 2,000 metric tons per year’ when fully operational, ASAE and Alliance say that the plant could double the project’s total recycling capacity. It will become the second facility established through the partnership.

The Alliance and the ASASE Foundation say that their collaboration, which began in 2020, has provided technical expertise and financial support to assist in the scaling up of ‘operations over 100-fold’ – from an initial annual processing capacity of 35 tons to 4,000 metric tons.

The organisations highlight the success of the project's first recycling plant in the Kpone Katamanso district. Here, plastic waste collected from the catchment areas of the two communities is washed and processed into high and low-density polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE) flakes and soft polyethylene pellets which is then sold to recyclers and turned into various household items or as construction liners and waste bins.

Over 350 individuals, more than half of which are women, are now supported with employment – both directly and indirectly – as a result of the ASASE Foundation. This incorporates various roles, such as technicians, skilled operators, warehouse managers, aggregators, and waste pickers. 

Oliver Boachie, Special Advisor to the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) for the Republic of Ghana, said: "The work by the ASASE Foundation is helping Ghana to increase recycling rates and is creating more value for plastic waste while keeping it out of the environment.”

Clemens Beckers, representative of the European Union Delegation in Ghana, added: "This project is helping to generate solutions that drive Ghana's circular economy while also creating jobs for women and uplifting communities.

Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President of Projects at the Alliance, commented: "The Alliance believes in funding solutions, circular business models for plastic and partners that deliver impact at scale. Through our partnership with the ASASE Foundation, we are helping to expand operations, continuing to support the diversion of plastic waste out of the environment, and unlock its value through recycling.

“We are proud to support the ASASE Foundation as they continue to move from strength to strength, guided by a strong team with an unwavering vision for their environment and community."

Dana Mosora, co-founder and Managing Director of ASASE Foundation, also added: "The ASASE Foundation was founded with the aim of demonstrating a scalable solution to address the problem of plastic waste in Ghana, starting from my experience in Europe. Empowering women from underprivileged regions to play a key role was a natural fit, especially in an emerging economy like Ghana.

"It has been through the support of organisations like the European Union and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste that we have been able to grow our impact on the community and help transform lives of the people we are serving."