UK packaging firm Sharpak and Richmond upon Thames-based distributor of recycled materials Bantam Materials have joined forces in what they describe as a ground-breaking recycling project aimed at reducing ocean-bound plastic waste.
As part of the project, the two companies have developed a new product line, Certified Prevented Ocean Plastics, which enables manufacturers and customers to trace plastic products from the coastline of collection to the final products on shelves.
The business model targets global locations, including countries with high plastic bottle waste such as Indonesia.
The system, according to project partners, helps develop recycling infrastructures in developing countries, “bringing bottles back [to the UK] to be recycled into food packaging”.
Local communities are paid at the point of collection and are therefore encouraged to generate income and further commit to increasing recycling.
The collected plastic bottles are ground down and converted into “a high-quality raw material” which replaces the use of virgin plastic in food packaging, said a joint press release without offering further information about the processing technology.
In addition, according to Raffi Schieir director of Bantam Materials UK, the product offers “complete traceability.”
Working with dedicated certification provider Ocean Cycle, a chain of custody is documented which gives brand owners and customers the ability to track the materials in their products back to specific coastal communities in at-risk areas.
The use of QR codes gives detailed information about the origin of the plastic and how it was recycled.
Part of the French packaging Groupe Guillin, Sharpak has committed to including significant volumes of POP in its product ranges, and in return has secured a long-term exclusive supply agreement, according to Patrick Gautier, UK division director for the Groupe Guillin.
“We have been committed for many years to sustainable development and to the promotion of an improved circular economy for our plastic packaging, in our factories, markets and communities. We now have an opportunity to bring a real, measurable contribution to the protection of our oceans, a concern we all share – even if largely originating in parts of the world the brand does not operate in,” he said.
According to Gautier, the full traceability of the material and the robust audits to ensure “fair and ethical” interaction throughout the supply chain convinced the company to commit fully to this project.