28 November 2018 by Joshua Doherty

Valpak urges more collaboration on plastics

Packaging compliance scheme Valpak has called for further “innovation and collaboration” in order to meet the targets set out in the voluntary plastics pact agreement earlier this year.

In April 2018, 67 businesses responsible for 80% of plastic packaging sold in UK supermarkets signed  WRAP’s Plastics Pact, which included aims to eliminate “problematic or unnecessary“ single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

Other targets included a 70% rate of plastic packaging “effectively” recycled or composted by 2025 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Kathy Illingworth of Valpak said a collaborative approach is ‘vital’ to hitting targets

Principal consultant at Valpak, Kathy Illingworth, said that greater collaboration will be needed to hit targets, particularly around plastic packaging waste.

“The UK currently recycles 47%, so meeting 70% by 2025 is a big step up. The target relates 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,” she explained.

Ms Illingworth added: “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.”

Data

Companies that sign up to the pact will be required to submit annual data to WRAP, and Valpak says it is able to collect the data through its ‘Data Insight’ Platform to enable it to monitor progress.

Pact members are able to access a dedicated tab within the platform, which automatically flags up the items which meet targets and those which do not.

Ms Illingworth added that “evidence-based” data will be key to assessing targets, and companies need a “baseline” to identify changes in order to meet targets.

She added: “Meeting the targets will be demanding, but there is plenty of support available. Signatories have access to WRAP guidance and Valpak’s data tools but, in addition, it’s the partnership element of working towards the same end goal that makes the agreement unique.”

Valpak works with a number of big supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, ASOS, and domestic appliance company,  Miele.

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