With society working to build a new ecosystem for the packaging sector, we have entered into an era in which players with strong environmental credentials look set to rule the global market.
PureCycle Technologies Inc., for one, has obtained recycling technology from Procter & Gamble Co. Having now finished demonstration testing for this, the company is now in the process of building its first commercial facilities in the U.S. state of Ohio, with plans here being to launch production in the back end of 2022. PureCycle is also applying to get its recycled materials approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food packaging.
Elsewhere, Nestle SA has declared that it will make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. The company also announced in January 2020 that it will invest up to 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.15 billion) into measures against plastic waste by 2025. Out of this total, 1.5 billion Swiss francs will be spent on procuring recycled plastics, with plans here to source up to 2 million tons.
Then there is Coca-Cola Co., which by 2030 aims to be collecting and recycling a bottle or can for each one it sells, and to use at least 50 percent recycled material in its packaging. As one effort toward recycling, the company is providing funds to Dutch-based venture Ioniqa Technologies BV.
Ioniqa’s technology is able to remove the likes of coloring and impurities from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste, break this PET back down to the monomer level and create recycled materials that are on par with virgin materials. The company is currently running demonstration facilities in the Netherlands with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons.
Chemical recycling is another trend on the rise among Western chemical companies. German-based BASF SE’s ChemCycling technology sees plastic-waste-derived pyrolysis oil and gas introduced into petrochemical facilities and used to make plastic and chemical products, which can then be marketed as using recycled materials. If customers so desire, they can even purchase 100 percent recycled products made using this technology.
U.S. chemical giant Dow Chemical Co. is then looking as part of its sustainability strategy to have 100 percent of its products sold into packaging applications be reusable or recyclable by 2035, and to recover 1 million tons of plastic waste by 2030. As part of this, the company last year introduced a polyethylene (PE) material that enables monomaterial product design, targeting this toward use in stand-up pouches and other such packaging. Satoru Mori, chief researcher at Dow Chemical Japan Ltd., said that Dow will work with players throughout its entire supply chain to meet these goals.
Then there are a range of efforts to simply not create waste in the first place – with U.S.-based TerraCycle Inc. garnering attention here for Loop, a project that recovers and reuses packaging. Partner companies participating in the project deliver their products to customers in durable packaging, which after use is then recovered, cleaned, refilled with product and sent back out to another customer, forming a cycle. Trial operations here are already under way in the West, and a proper rollout is set to begin in Japan this spring.
Part 4 in this series coming soon.