SUEZ advises on extended producer responsibility at large FMCG manufacturer's Sustainability Conference

Our customer is a multinational food, snack, and beverage company that has many different brands consumed across continents around the world. Sustainability is top of their agenda and they are aware of the effect imminent legislative changes such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) will have on the sector's operations. They are pro-active in the approach to their packaging design and material choice of the products, putting sustainability and recyclability at the forefront of the designs across their brand portfolio.
The mission

With sustainability defined as a priority to implement further in their business, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK were approached to explore and discuss how they could make their flexible packaging more recyclable.

 

Currently, our customer has many different products in the UK market made of different materials, plastic polymers and varying grades. They welcomed the opportunity to gain greater understanding of how each of their products is processed within the UK and Western Europe in current recycling technology.

Our solution

SUEZ was asked to be a part of the Sustainability Conference that took place in the South East. Dr Adam Read, External Affairs Director at SUEZ, attended the event to share his expert knowledge, covering an array of topics on and around sustainability. He discussed some potential amendments, additions, and changes that will be needed on their products to ensure they are recyclable within the UK's current infrastructure.

 

In addition, SUEZ offered guidance from the perspective of the collection side of the value chain to inform the manufacturer's employees of how recycling and waste collection happens, as well as how the collected materials go on to be processed ready to be made into new products.

 

Dr Adam Read shed some light during his presentation of how recycling processing facilities typically operate within the UK and Europe, which included a detailed explanation of each stage of the process that materials go through at a material recycling facility (MRF). In addition to this, he discussed how flexible products such as crisp packets are dealt with in today's recycling infrastructure and what will be needed from them in the future to ensure better rates of recycling.

 

A unique element of the conference was the opportunity to see prototypes of newly designed packaging, where Director of SUEZ Connect, Ben Harding and Business Improvement Assistant, Luther Hinga, were on-hand to offer considerations for further development and packaging design alignment to available recycling infrastructure.

The results

The conference gave SUEZ the opportunity to support the manufacturer with the reality of how their products are processed in the UK at the end of life and what the limitations are with some packaging materials.

 

This meant the manufacturer now has increased awareness of the developments they could make to their packaging design to improve recyclability, ensuring factors of extended producer responsibility (EPR) are considered, in order for it to align with UK recycling technology.

Dr Adam Read closed his presentation with a Q&A session where delegates had the opportunity to ask packaging and other specific questions such as 'how different materials are processed', 'what is the best way to present different types of materials prior to entering a MRF' and 'how best to design them to ensure a high rate of recycling'?

 

This collaborative conference allowed SUEZ to understand and advise from the perspective of this large FMCG company in their efforts to achieve better recyclability across their product range.

It was great to have Dr Adam Read present at our Sustainability Conference, he provided an important perspective of how materials are collected and their requirements. We can now incorporate this view into how we design our...

FMCG manufacturerR&D Packaging Director

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