UK Plastics Pact data partner, Valpak: “Many signatories not meeting targets, data-driven collaboration key”

UK Plastics Pact data partner, Valpak: “Many signatories not meeting targets, data-driven collaboration key”

26 Nov 2018 --- Valpak – the UK’s largest packaging compliance scheme – claims that innovation and collaboration will be essential if companies are to meet the challenging targets of the UK’s voluntary Plastics Pact agreement. The target to recycle or compost 70 percent of plastic waste by 2025 has been described as especially challenging given that the UK currently recycles an estimated 47 percent. In its role of data partner to the pact, Valpak aims to help signatories use their packaging data to identify actions to meet this and other specified targets.

The PACT agreement, which came into effect in April, sets demanding targets in areas such as increasing recyclability and the inclusion of recycled content. WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Program) recently published “A Roadmap to 2025 – The UK Plastics Pact,” which outlines key outcomes and activities that will help businesses to meet the targets.

Valpak’s Principal Consultant, Kathy Illingworth, describes meeting the target to recycle or compost 70 percent of plastic waste as one of the greatest challenges for producers. “The UK currently recycles 47 percent, so meeting 70 percent by 2025 is a big step up. The target relates to recycling levels across the UK, so although pact members may meet their own ambitions, hitting the target will also rely on others in the market, and on the consumer’s willingness to recycle,” she says,

“Innovation and truly collaborative working will be essential. There won’t be one single answer – we need to see a blend of different innovations – but the signatories have set a joint goal, so hopefully they will complement each other and work collaboratively instead of pulling in different directions.”

Companies that sign up to the pact will be required to submit annual data to WRAP . Valpak then collects the data through its Data Insight Platform, enabling it to monitor progress.

Existing Valpak data management customers already have access to the platform, which allows them to scrutinize supply chain data and compare products against metrics such as recycled content or use of colored plastics. Pact members are able to access a dedicated tab within the platform, which automatically flags up the items which meet targets and those which do not.

Valpak also supports retailers and manufacturers through its Plastic Matters events. These specialist seminars are designed to update businesses on topics such as design for recyclability, dealing with hard to recycle plastics, bioplastics and extended producer responsibility. Recent events have covered technological developments and opportunities, disposal routes and the suitability of alternatives to plastics.

Illingworth adds: “Evidence-based data is the key to assessing progress. At this stage, most signatories are not meeting the target, so they need a baseline to identify target areas for change.”

She added: “Meeting the targets will be demanding, but there is plenty of support available. Signatories have access to WRAP guidance and Valpak’s data tools but, in addition, it’s the partnership element of working towards the same end goal that makes the agreement unique.”

The UK Plastics Pact is a world-first initiative to tackle the issue of plastic waste, led by WRAP. It unites key actors from across the supply chain, working collaboratively to achieve four ambitious objectives:

  • To eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models;
  • For 100 percent of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  • For 70 percent of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled or composted; and,
  • To achieve 30 percent average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

So far, 67 businesses have signed up to the pact, including Asda, Arla Foods, Coca-Cola, M&S, Morrisons, Ocado and Tesco.

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