Nestlé UK & Ireland, in partnership with Enval, SITA UK, LRS Consultancy, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Tesco UK, has received funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to research and trial viable options for collecting flexible packaging materials containing aluminium, such as coffee refill pouches and pet food sachets, to improve recycling and remanufacture.
Flexible laminate packaging often contains valuable aluminium and various recyclable plastics, which can be difficult to collect and separate for recycling viably. It is estimated that over 160,000 tonnes of flexible laminate packaging, enters the UK marketplace each year.
If the project proves successful, and viable collection and recycling schemes are implemented, they could lead to significant carbon emission savings and benefit the secondary commodity market. Flexible packaging is becoming increasingly widespread and the global market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.1%, from 2013 to 2018.
Aluminium based plastic laminates are important to the business to help preserve products for the required shelf lifeAlison Ingle, Group Packaging Manager, Nestlé UK & Ireland
The initial study will explore ways to increase the amount of flexible laminate packaging that is collected and recycled in England, and assess the feasibility of a range of collection and communication approaches for households and commercial premises within different regions of the country.
Dependent on the results of the study, the consortium may go on to implement trials to test collection solutions for flexible packaging and provide insight as to how consumer behaviour and attitudes influence collection models. Various collection methods would be assessed to ascertain the most effective solution for different demographics and locations.
The outcomes of the research would enable Nestlé and industry stakeholders to evaluate the potential to include flexible packaging in mainstream recycling collections and assess the cost benefit of the different approaches trialled.
Alison Ingle, Group Packaging Manager, Nestlé UK & Ireland, said, “This is a very exciting project which we are delighted to be working with all partners involved on, to find the best way to communicate to householders and finding a viable option to collect the valuable material. Aluminium based plastic laminates are important to the business to help preserve products for the required shelf life, and ‘lightweighting’ our packaging. “
Recent Nestlé UK & Ireland packaging achievements include:
- In the UK and Ireland, 92% of the packaging we use is already recyclable. We aim to achieve 95% recyclability of packaging in 2015.
- In 2012, Nestlé UK & Ireland became the first major UK confectioner to offer an entire Easter egg range with egg packaging that is 100% recyclable.
- In 2012, we launched an innovative lightweight range of BUXTON WATER® bottles. These new bottles are one of the lightest bottled water bottles produced in the UK and have a shorter neck and a sturdy, ergonomical shape that requires less plastic. Through their redesign we achieved an average 25% reduction across the range in the use of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) in their production, with a 46% reduction in PET for the smaller 25cl and 33cl bottles.