Australian multinational packaging company Amcor commissioned a report published this month that details new challenges and opportunities around flexible packaging recycling and recovery. Called “Toward Circularity of Post-consumer Flexible Packaging in Asia,” the report was introduced at the recent Responsible Business Forum in Singapore.
The publication notes that “the global flexible packaging market is growing rapidly, driven by the increasing demand in developing markets as well as the advances in technology resulting in numerous end use applications.”
By 2020, the global flexible packaging market is expected to be valued at $222 billion, up from $182 billion in 2015. In Asia, the market growth from 2015 to 2020 is projected to be 5% compared to 4% globally.
“Concerns of post-consumer flexible packaging in Asia cannot be addressed without building an unbroken value chain supported by relevant stakeholders,” the report found. “Local governments, non-governmental organizations and social enterprises, waste businesses, plastics manufacturers, and businesses that use plastic packaging are all necessary players for effective action in this space.”
Sumangali Krishnan, who compiled the report, told PackagingBR, “Our findings show that solutions need to embrace the segregation of packaging at source, support material recovery facilities, and ensure a financially viable end solution.”
Key findings and recommendations:
- Segregation of waste at source is critical to retrieval of post-consumer flexible packaging and should be supported by regulation, behavior change campaigns, and enforcement via refusal of waste collection services and fines.
- Material recovery facilities — facilities that can collect and sort dry waste into different recyclable streams — are most effective when operations are subsidized by the income generated from high value recyclables and when incentives exist for the retrieval and processing of flexible packaging waste.
- End uses for flexible packaging must be financially viable — able to generate sufficient and consistent economic value to create a market for post-consumer flexible packaging.
For its part, Amcor says the company is working to develop packaging that is more recyclable as well as incorporating more recycled plastics into their products. “Even as improvements in design and innovation in material types are being actively researched and developed, greater intervention is needed to address growing post-consumer flexible packaging waste in Asia,” Amcor says.
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