Project reclaims plastic packaging from oceans
Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor -- Packaging Digest, 3/8/2013 9:04:00 AM
This week sees the official launch of a highly innovative initiative supported by Ecover and Closed Loop Recycling, which sees waste plastic being collected from the seas around the UK by EU fishermen and sent to the UK for recycling at Closed Loop's Dagenham facility and re-used in new packaging.
This initiative has led to Closed Loop Recycling undertaking trials with Ecover for a new type of plastic using rHDPE, plantastic and the waste marine plastic that is collected as part of the project.
Ecover is working with Closed Loop Recycling to develop the material because it is the only factory to recycle both PET and HDPE, so has an excellent understanding of the challenges involved in developing new types of packaging using recycled content.
Says Closed Loop Recycling CEO, Chris Dow: "It's great that a large producer such as Ecover is taking such a futuristic view on packaging, showing true commitment to designing on shelf product with recycling in mind."
Both Closed Loop Recycling and Ecover are supporting the Waste Free Oceans initiative which aims to reduce floating marine debris on Europe's coastlines, as well as sending an important anti-litter message to consumers, highlighting the importance of recycling and the value of used plastic as a resource. The scheme is already backed by several MEPs including Danish MEP Anna Rosbach who is chairwoman of the WFO Foundation.
Using existing fishing trawls and new technology, WFO will engage Europe's fishing community in cleaning up floating marine debris and bring it back to land for recycling and sorting. Boats outfitted with a special trawl will be able to collect between 2-8 tonnes of waste (per trawl) for cleaning & recycling. Using the knowledge of fishermen and home-grown technology, the project aims to educate all stakeholders in tackling debris on Europe's coastlines and waters by 2020. Similar initiatives with a range of corporate sponsors, NGOs, and local and European politicians have already been launched in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece and Austria.
Chris Dow, CEO of Closed Loop Recycling says: "The Waste Free Oceans initiative is not simply about cleaning up our oceans of unwanted litter, which is of course important in itself environmentally. It's about the industry taking responsibility for plastic litter and educating people to take responsibility for their own waste and recycle as much of it as possible, in the knowledge that recyclers like us can maximise this resource and enable it to re-used in new food and drink packaging, thus reducing our reliance on oil-rich virgin materials."
Ecover's involvement in the initiative is part its ‘Message in our Bottle' campaign, also launched today, which will see the ecological innovator using an entirely new form of fully sustainable and recyclable plastic in 2014 made from 100% sugarcane and plastic fished from the sea which has been processed at Closed Loop Recycling's facility in Dagenham. Ecover's campaign includes a sustainability pledge to deliver continual innovation in tackling the multiple issues linked to plastic packaging.
Ecover's Chief Executive, Philip Malmberg comments: "As manufacturers we've got to take responsibility for sustainability very seriously - to take real action on climate change and the damage done by our over-reliance on fossil fuels, creating ‘green' products that deliver more than a nod to sustainability."
Admirable goal to get the stuff out of the oceans. I do not believe it can ever be a cost effective approach. You would have to cover too much area to pick up several tons of plastic I would think. It will be very interesting to see a status report after one year of operation.
Robert Esse - 2013-8-3 14:19:37 EST
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