The Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (Ceflex) initiative, a fast-growing consortium of companies, associations and organisations collaborating to enhance the performance of flexible packaging in the circular economy in Europe, has announced that it has published its first Position Paper.
Ceflex is committed to avoiding waste and pollution by redesigning consumer flexible packaging, with the ultimate goal of making all flexible packaging in Europe circular by the year 2025.
“Ensuring packaging is designed to be recycled into new, valuable materials, or flows back into the economy, is a cornerstone condition for creating a circular economy,” explained CEFLEX project coordinator Graham Houlder.
Ceflex stakeholders represent a collective of over 150 companies, which in Europe alone employ more than 500,000 people at over five and a half thousand locations.
In collaboration with Swiss University ETH, the consortium has launched an ‘Issue Alignment’ process to collect and assess topics which are essential to realising a circular economy for flexible packaging. These issues are being tackled individually in order to arrive at ‘considered and aligned positions’ on each topic.
In this first paper, Ceflex, taking into account the current best-practice technologies established in Europe, strongly recommends the use of flexible packaging made from recyclable mono-materials. It clearly states the need to evaluate functional requirements of packaging and, when possible, to redesign existing flexible packaging to a recyclable mono-material.
“Quality mono-material inputs are key criteria for building a circular economy for flexible packaging,” says Arne Jost of mtm plastics, member of the Borealis Group. “Implementing the Ceflex ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines and this position paper work to increase the mono-material content in a bale of post-consumer film. This will be a welcome improvement for all recyclers and help accelerate end markets.”
Other alignment topics Identified include collection models and recyclate quality. The next priority for Ceflex stakeholders is to examine collection models for flexible packaging in a circular economy and produce another position paper, after analysis of separate collection and post sorting of residual waste.
After first being shared with stakeholders and the Ceflex steering committee, 'Accelerating the circular economy for flexible packaging - a recommendation for recyclable mono-materials' is now being made available to the wider industry as part of a coordinated release along with future positions on alignment issues.