Bold approach required to hit European plastic recycling targets

A more circular approach to plastic packaging will be key to hitting ambitious international plastic recycling targets, says a prominent packaging machinery supplier.

With experts calculating that demand for plastic packaging will double in the next 20 years, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy has set a target of 55% of plastics being recycled by 2030.

In response to this ambitious challenge, ULMA Packaging UK is advocating the need to step up with bold environmental initiatives, such as the #ULMAweCare project. The sustainability plan aims to increase awareness in both the packaging industry and the supply chain through environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

One such example is LeafSkin packaging, which reduces plastic usage by up to 80% and is based on a 100% recyclable flat cardboard tray. It also incorporates an ‘easy open’ corner to remove the lid and a ‘recycling’ corner to separate the material from the tray and make the recycling process easier. With a view to encouraging a more circular solution, ULMA’s machines are also compatible with recyclable materials and a ReducedScrap solution for Darfresh packing. By creating a vacuum through specially designed air holes in the bottom film, ReducedScrap can achieve film scrap reductions of up to 40 per cent.

“The introduction of these European targets is a welcome move but it is only the first step,” says Dave Berriman, Technical Manager at ULMA Packaging UK. “Doing more with less is an essential component in a circular business model, and reductions in product packaging are an integral part of this. However, in order to spark wide-ranging change on this issue, there needs to be solutions on both local and national level.

Dave continued: “By working to eliminate unnecessary plastics and innovating so that more plastics used in our solutions can be safely reused, recycled, or composted, we hope to act as an example to those in the broader circular economy and help facilitate change.”

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