With news on: Plastics network launched; recycled polymer commitment; London plastics confusion, and; call for collection improvements.
‘Circular’ plastics network launched
Government funding will be used to support a series of events aimed at bringing together experts on plastic packaging waste and recycling.
Financed through the government’s £20 million Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (see letsrecycle.com story), the UK Circular Plastics Network will focus on reducing plastic waste volumes and ‘reducing confusion’ amongst consumers over plastics recycling.
The project will involve creating a ‘community of stakeholders’ from around the plastics sector to ‘unlock the most critical, short-term barrier to plastics circularity’. Organisers hope that around 1,000 companies will join the network.
Central to the project will be a series of more than 12 ‘networking and knowledge-sharing events’ which will take place across the UK over the next two years.
Leading the project, Dr Sally Beken, knowledge transfer manager for polymers at the Knowledge Transfer Network, said: “I feel passionate about this activity. We are dealing with a complex multifaceted problem where businesses, academia and individuals are all stakeholders.
“By bringing together the solution providers with the current plastic supply chain we can work together to find the best way forward. The UK Circular Plastics Network will facilitate changes we need to be resource efficient and preserve our planet for future generations.”
Cleaning company commits to recycled polymers
Cleaning product company Bio-D – which produces a range of ‘ethical’ and allergy friendly cleaning solutions – has announced an aim to have 100% recycled bottles across its range by the end of 2019.
The Hull-based producer uses rHDPE in around two thirds of its bottles at present, but is seeking to push this to the remainder of bottled products, including the Sanitising Hand Wash and larger refill containers by the end of the year.
According to the company, using recycled polymers in cleaning product packaging can be challenging due to the reactivity of some ingredients with certain plastics – but the company is carrying out compatibility testing to ensure it uses suitable materials across its line.
Lloyd Atkin, managing director at Bio-D, said: “As a company, we strive to be single-use plastic free, and setting a target to achieve 100% recyclability by the end of 2019 means that we are more determined than ever to reach our goal.
“Though we came up with some challenges last year when it came to sourcing the right materials, we worked with local suppliers to come up with a solution in order to achieve our aim. It’s taken a while, and a lot of testing, but now we’re well on the way to becoming even more environmentally responsible and ethically sound.”
Plastic recycling campaign for London goes live
Londoners are confused about which plastic products can be recycled at the kerbside, new research published ahead of the launch of a new plastic recycling campaign for the capital has suggested.
The #knowyourplastic digital campaign has been launched this week by London Recycles – formerly Recycle for London – featuring social media content to educate the city’s residents about ‘common plastic items’ that can be recycled in the home.
Research used to inform the project suggests while 86% of the capital’s population are ‘committed’ to reducing plastic waste, many are unaware of the different types of plastic that can be recycled.
According to the campaign organisers, one third (34%) of those polled were not sure whether spray cleaner bottles can be recycled, while others expressed confusion over plastic trays and shampoo bottles.
Ali Moore, campaign manager at London Recycles, said: “It’s fantastic to see Londoners’ commitment to reducing plastic waste, but many are missing out on simple, free steps that can be taken at home. We’re encouraging everyone in the capital to have a look at our #knowyourplastic campaign to get super-confident about what plastics can and can’t be recycled.
“With less than a quarter of Londoners having checked which plastic items they can recycle at home, it’s clear that we could definitely do more to recycle plastics and keep them out of the environment.”
Collection systems ‘key’ to recycled polymer growth
Improvements in the collection and sorting of plastic waste would help to increase the amount of recycled polymer used in new products, Europe’s plastics recyclers have claimed.
The comments emerged in a survey published by the European Plastics Converters Association. The survey was the second such study to have been published by the continental organisation looking at the use of recycled plastics materials in Europe’s plastics converting industry.
Around 376 companies from 21 countries took part in the study, which followed on from an earlier study looking at barriers to the take-up in recycled polymers.
Findings from the survey have suggested that 76% of plastics processors believe that the improvement of the collection and sorting of plastic waste would be the most suitable way to increase the quality of recycled plastics materials.
Others have responded that better recycling technologies, and the implementation of better design for recycling would help to boost the sector.