Shopper recycling soft plastic tesco

Source: Berry Global

An initiative launched by fmcg giants and supermarkets to create a sustainable market for recycled plastic has called for more collaboration despite seeing the number of companies signed up treble in its first 12 months of operation.

Ocado, KP Snacks, McCain and United bsicuits are among new members signed up to the Flexible Plastic Fund, which was launched a year ago by companies including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Mars UK, Mondelez International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

The fund was set up to tackle the issue of wildly varying prices for recycled material by guaranteeing a minimum value of £100 per tonne for recyclers.

EcoSurety, the packaging waste compliance scheme spearheading the initiative, told The Grocer it had been making “slow but sure progress” in its aim of making soft plastic recycling the norm both in local collections and at retail stores.

It said it had been buoyed by the latest figures from Wrap showing ther were now 4,000 stores in the UK offering recycling points for products such as plastic bags, crisp packets, biscuit wrappers, frozen food bags and other types of soft plastic.

The fund also revealed it has launched a new £2.9m programme, in partnership with organisations including Defra and Wrap, which will see household collection of soft plastic materials trialled across nine different local authorities across the next three years.

The government has set out plans for all authorities to roll out flexible plastics collection from households by March 2027.

However, Gareth Morton, discovery manager at Ecosurety, said it was vital retailers and manufacturers helped drive progress and called for further co-operation.

“To accelerate our progress and make a meaningful impact on flexible plastic recycling in the UK, we need greater collaboration with recyclers and retailers in order to share more openly our learnings and challenges around end-markets, recycling solutions and supply chains,” he said.

“Confidential contractual agreements between retailers and recyclers often make open sharing of progress with the fund difficult, which in turn slows down our ability to help them to achieve our common goal.

“However, creating a proper flexible plastic recycling system in the UK is not a race that one organisation can win alone, and the perspective of getting a competitive advantage is limited and short-sighted.”