Ecopartners Group and Unilever tested the recycling capabilities of new mono-structured flexible plastic packaging
28 July 2021
In February 2021, Unilever presented the Compass sustainable development plan. So, in the direction of a plan to improve the health of the planet, the company is committed to replace all plastic used in packaging of goods with recyclable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To achieve this goal, the company is reducing the number of flexible packaging structures used so that the processor can process the packaging into pellets and transfer it to the manufacture of new products.
To confirm the possibility of recycling such packaging, the company initiated an experiment with new monopolypropylene structures of flexible plastic packaging of various types (one, two and three layers) intended for packaging food products (ice cream, seasonings and spices) and cosmetic products (cloth masks, promo bags, etc. etc.). All types of flexible plastic packaging of the company participated in the test processing. The tests were carried out on the basis of the Tver Polymer Recycling Plant, the largest Russian recycler of plastic packaging waste with a recycling volume of more than 25,000 tons per year, which is part of EcoPartners Group of Companies.
Based on the test results, the experts concluded that the processing of these structures into a granule is possible, and the resulting regranulate is suitable in different proportions for the production of trays, buckets, scoops, hangers and other household and other products manufactured by injection molding. ... As part of the experiment, parts for a cars and shoe hangers were made from the obtained granule.
Unilever is already transitioning to a recyclable monomaterial sachet with the Knorr brand and will soon begin using the new monomaterial structure for the Dove, Chistaya Linia, Black Pearl, 100 Recipes of Beauty and Love Beauty and Planet sachets for fabric masks. So, in September 2021, Dove masks in recyclable packaging labeled 5 / PP - a sachet made of several types of polypropylene without an aluminum layer, which was previously widely used to impart the desired barrier properties to such packaging, will be the first to appear on store shelves. You can hand it over for recycling in the Ecocenter «Sborka», the separate waste collection point of the Sphere of Ecology at ARTPLAY in Moscow and in Pererabotkinskaya in the ecotaxi format in St. Petersburg, as well as in other centers that accept soft (flexible) polypropylene.
Although the collection of this type of packaging is just beginning to develop in Russia, several initiatives already launched make it possible to judge how much consumers are interested in the possibility of handing over flexible plastic packaging. For example, the pilot project for the collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging, which is being implemented by Unilever and «EcoPartners» GC together with other partners (RusPRO represented by PepsiCo and Nestle, as well as Mars, Mondelez International), shows a high activity of visitors to eco-centers and stores where the collection infrastructure is installed. The gradual scaling of the infrastructure and the further development of the recycling industry of soft plastics will only be possible if the majority of flexible packaging consists of mono-solutions - in particular, polypropylene, polyethylene and their combinations. In this regard, the transition to mono-solutions for complex types of packaging is the most important step towards a circular economy.