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May 27, 2021

UK companies introduce fund to encourage flexible plastic recycling

Five major UK consumer goods manufacturers have collaborated to launch a $1.4m Flexible Plastic Fund.

UK consumer goods manufacturers Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever have collaborated to introduce the Flexible Plastic Fund.

The £1m ($1.4m) initiative, financed by the five companies, aims to drive flexible plastic recycling in the country.

The companies will work closely with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution.

To incentivise recyclers to process flexible plastic, a minimum value of £100 ($141) will be guaranteed for each tonne of recycled product.

The Fund will offer complete audited transparency, with at least 80% of the plastics collected being recycled in the UK. This figure is due to increase to 100% by 2023.

Plastic recycled under the initiative will be turned into various products, including non-food grade plastic, non-food-grade film and food-grade film.

Producer compliance scheme Ecosurety will lead the Fund, while environmental charity Hubbub will support it.

Ecosurety innovation and policy head Robbie Staniforth said: “The UK’s recycling system has historically not provided enough motivation to recycle flexible plastics.

“By creating a sustainable market for this material, longer-term improvements can be made to ensure the flexible plastic that remains necessary for packaging is reliably recycled and eventually contributes to a circular economy, thereby tackling plastic pollution.”

“We hope that by boosting this infrastructure, government and local authorities will be motivated to quickly facilitate flexible plastic recycling in the UK by making it easy for consumers to recycle via household collections in the future.”

Hubbub CEO and co-founder Trewin Restorick said: “The Flexible Plastic Fund is a really important initiative to show that flexible plastics can be recycled and be financially sustainable.

“People are ready and willing to recycle their flexible plastics, so we just have to make the infrastructure work.

“Collaboration is key to making this a success and we are urging more manufacturers to invest in the Fund, more retailers to collect flexible plastic for recycling and more recyclers to recycle flexible plastics.”

The British Plastics Federation, Bunzl and the Waitrose and Partners Plan Plastic Fund are offering additional communications funding support to the Fund.

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