SPI says its new Zero Net Waste program provides plastics companies with a concrete set of resources they can use to pursue, and achieve, zero waste in their facilities and offices.
The cornerstone of the Zero Net Waste program is the manual, which includes real-world, step-by-step tools and resources for companies throughout the plastics value chain to ensure that plastic materials and other manufacturing byproducts are reused or recycled. The program manual also builds a business case for zero waste, includes tips for educating employees, and offers guidance on finding service providers.
Companies that participate in the program and meet requirements of the two-step qualification and verification process will be recognized for their efforts. However, “the Zero Net Waste Program isn’t just for companies looking for Zero Waste certification,” says Robert Flores, director of sustainability for Berry Plastics. “The accompanying manual is applicable to a wide variety of companies and provides the basics for how get started, as well as how to enhance existing programs that a company already may have in place.”
The Zero Net Waste program was born out of the SPI Recycling Committee’s Emerging Trends Subcommittee, chaired by Kathy Xuan, CEO of PARC Corp, and then developed by a broad workgroup of SPI members. “As chair of the subcommittee and a recycler who provides zero landfill services,” said Xuan, “we feel this program will be instrumental in providing tools and resources to accelerate the industry’s pursuit of zero waste.”
The new program follows a report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation that calls on all stakeholders across the global plastics value chain to apply circular economy principles to plastic packaging to reduce harmful environmental effects such as leakage into oceans.
The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics says that while plastics and plastic packaging are an integral part of the global economy and deliver many benefits, their value chains entail drawbacks. The report finds that most plastic packaging is used only once; 95 percent of the value of plastic packaging material, worth $80 billion to $120 billion annually, is lost to the economy.