Valpak: Collaboration is key to achieving plastics targets

Valpak: Collaboration key to achieving plastics targetsPackaging compliance scheme Valpak was one of over 40 businesses signing up to the UK Plastics Pact in April, with a pledge to help reduce plastic pollution. The organisation, which helps UK businesses meet their packaging recycling obligations, has now come forward with claims that for the Plastics Pact to be effective, collaboration and innovation between the signatory businesses must be at the top of the agenda.

The signatories in question, including major organisations such as Tesco, M&S, Veolia and Asda, together make up 80 per cent of the plastic packaging sold through the UK supermarkets. By signing up to the Pact, which is led by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the businesses agreed to work towards its four main targets for 2025:

  • 100 per cent of plastic to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging items through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery models;
  • 30 per cent average recycled content across all plastic packaging; and
  • 70 per cent of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted.

Last week (15 November), the Plastics Pact produced a roadmap which sets out a clear plan for achieving the ambitious targets, for instance clarifying which materials should be identified as ‘problematic’ packaging.

Principal Consultant at Valpak, Kathy Illingworth, said: “The UK currently recycles 47 per cent, so meeting 70 per cent by 2025 is a big step up. The targets relate to recycling levels across the UK, so although Pact members may meet their own ambitions, hitting the target will also rely on others in the market, and on the consumer’s willingness to recycle.

“Innovation and truly collaborative working will be essential. There won’t be one single answer – we need to see a blend of different innovations – but the signatories have set a joint goal, so hopefully they will complement each other and work collaboratively instead of pulling in different directions.”

Valpak has already formed an alliance with the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme to increase packaging recyclability, before joining the Packaging Scheme Forum, which unites compliance schemes across the country to discuss and drive forward reform of the UK’s producer responsibility system.

To see who else has signed up to the Plastic Pact, take a look at WRAP’s website.