Not only products and production systems have to be safe and recyclable, but also packaging.
Ceflex (Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging) is an initiative of a consortium of 160 companies and associations related to the entire value chain of flexible packaging. Its aim is to improve the flexible packaging performance by designing and promoting solutions through the collaborations between the companies engaged in the value chain. This consortium recently published the Designing For A Circular Economy (D4ACE) guidelines for flexible packaging in order to increase recyclable solutions and develop circular economy.
The purposes of the guidelines are:
• Indicating to brand owners, retailers, converters, film producers and other members in the value chain what structures they should innovate in order to achieve a circular economy for packaging production.
• Increasing the volume of collection, sorting and recycling.
• Producing high quality recycled materials that can be used in a wide number of sustainable markets.
Ceflex’s guidelines help the entire value chain members to build understanding of the end-of-life processes and give practical advice to build a circular economy, such as suggesting sustainable design principles and choices. For example, there can be found indications regarding materials, linings, barriers, dimensions, shapes and inkjets, focusing especially on polyolefins (polypropylene, polyethylene and PO structures) and the necessity to use mono-material solutions.
Many companies are developing their packaging production following Ceflex guidelines:
One of the first companies that is adopting Ceflex’s guidelines is Amcor, English firm leader in packaging production. Through AmLite HeatFlex’ solution it has created a flexible retort pouch whit high-barrier and heath-resistance that will be easier to recycle than common retort pouches. Its structure is mono-material and it is composed by a polypropylene film with a ultra-thin, transparent and metal-less barrier, which replaces aluminium and metallization. This solution is not only heath-resistant and high protective, but it can also be totally recycled in plastic bins in most of European countries. Thanks to this particular aspect it is estimated that Amcor’s retort pouches will reduce carbon footprint up to 60% compared to multi-layers packages. This pouch will be released in October 2020 in the Netherlands and will be used for pet food.
Nestlé is one of most famous Ceflex stakeholders and in 2018 the Swiss company announced the decision to make 100% of its packaging
recyclable or reusable by 2025. In order to achieve this goal, it has started reducing virgin-plastic and is cooperating with the value chain members and other companies to reduce plastic waste. This announcement is just one step to realize company’s main goal: to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In order to reduce virgin-plastic and achieve functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solution, in 2019 Nestlé established the Institute of Packaging Sciences.
Another challenge to achieve waste-free production goal is packaging innovation, including new materials, refill systems and recycling solutions, therefore Nestlé announced it will set up CHF 250 million sustainable packaging venture fund to invest in start-up companies that focus on these areas.