Danes produce 216,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste each year. The past year, many different operators within the packaging value-chain have worked intensively on the innovation project ‘Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging’. The basis of the project is an ambitious vision to make Denmark an international role model in future plastic packaging - in a circular economy. Now the forum has launched its recommendations on how to do this in practice.
The forum released a manual on how to design packaging in the future. It includes a specific example on how waste collected from households can be recycled and used for new packaging, and a recommendation on how Denmark should standardise the sorting of waste.
The way ahead for circular plastic packaging, according to the forum:
Design and production
- We want to design plastic packaging for the purpose of recycling and reuse
- We will share knowledge on bio-based and bio-degradable plastic for plastic packaging in Denmark
- We want unbiased communication with more transparency, to make the eco-friendly choice easier
- We will initiate recall systems to obtain cleaner plastic fractions for recycling
- We want an increased effort in quality for recycling plastic packaging from Danish households
- We will increase the recycling through declarations from retailing regarding the choice of material, increased recycling and reuse
The Head of Environmental Politics in the Plastics Industry, Christina Busk, said:
-There is a large unexploited potential in getting better at recycling the plastic from our packaging – both environmental and business wise. However, it is not something you just do. It needs cooperation to succeed – and that is what formed the basis of the initiative that started the forum for circular plastic packaging. I am very proud of the amount of effort, which the different operators have put in the work of the forum, and of the results.
216,000 tonnes of waste put to better use
One who shares Christina Busk’s approach is Stine Beuse Fauerby, Energy and Environmental Politics Senior Advisor in the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, who is in the forum’s decision group and participated in the sub working groups.
-Denmark produces 216,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste each year, and we recycle far too little. We need to get better, and I am convinced that we have taken the first step in the right direction with Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging. I believe that especially our design guide and our recommendation for standardising the Danish waste sorting, can make a difference if we succeed with the implementation, said Stine Beuse Fauerby.
Value for the environment and for the business sector
The focus on minimising plastic packaging’s environmental impact is not only for the good of the environment. The demand for green solutions is growing and it creates an opportunity for economical gain, explains COOP, which are among the retail businesses who have been active in the forum’s work.
Director of CSR in COOP, Signe Didde Freese says:
-We know from our research that the costumers in our stores are specifically aware of plastic packaging. There is a clear demand for minimising the packaging’s environmental impact. The demand creates healthy economic incentives for everyone in the value-chain to develop green packaging. Further, it indicates that going green has economic benefits.
COOP has, as a direct offshoot of their involvement in the Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging, signed a declaration on demanding selected packaging’s in specific types of plastic to make the recycling easier.
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Source: The Danish plastics industry
About the Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging
The plastics industry took the initiative to establish the forum, where both packaging companies, manufacturers of goods, designers, supermarkets, NGOs, knowledge institutions, recyclers, politicians, and more have participated. They were presented at a launch event on 17 May at the Confederation of Danish Industry, with presentations from the Minister of Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and a number of the participating companies, organisations and politicians.
The “Forum for Circular Plastic Packaging” aims to make Denmark a green front-runner in the area of packaging by ensuring recycling of the plastic waste and using it for new products.