Did you know that a set of stickers attached to a magazine can cause trouble in the recycling process of the paper? UPM businesses joined forces in developing a new adhesive that allows paper labels to become high-quality paper again after being recycled. Sticker attachments have recently seen a rise in popularity. However, the glues used in stickers have caused problems in the paper recycling process. The problem is not a new one but has become more notable as the quantity of sticker material attached to printed products has increased. Enhancing recyclability was a key target when UPM Raflatac, UPM Communication Papers and UPM’s Central European Research Centre joined forces. Click Read More below for additional detail.
For the first time, more than 100 businesses in the packaging value chain, together with more than 50 other organisations, publicly recognise that without Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) packaging collection and recycling is unlikely to be meaningfully scaled and tens of millions of tonnes of packaging will continue to end up in the environment every year.
The statement, published today by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has been signed by leading brands and retailers (including Beiersdorf, Danone, Diageo, Ferrero, FrieslandCampina, H&M, Henkel, Inditex, L’Oréal, Mars, Mondi, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Pick n Pay, Reckitt, Schwarz Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever and Walmart), manufacturers and recyclers (including Borealis, Berry Global, DS Smith, Mondi, Tetra Pak, Indorama Ventures and Veolia), investors such as European Investment Bank and Closed Loop Partners, and NGOs including WWF, The Recycling Partnership, The Pew Charitable Trusts and As You Sow.
For a circular economy, packaging that can’t be eliminated or reused must be collected, sorted and recycled or composted after use. But currently the economics do not stack up: collection, sorting and recycling or processing packaging costs more than the revenues made from selling the recycled materials.
We need dedicated, ongoing and sufficient funding to make the economics of recycling work. This statement and the supporting position paper set out why mandatory, fee-based EPR is the only proven and likely way to provide this funding.
By signing the statement, endorser organisations recognise this need and make three firm commitments:
- Ensure their entire organisation is aligned on, and their actions are in line with this statement;
- Be constructive in their engagement with governments and other stakeholders: advocating for the establishment of well-designed EPR policies and being supportive in working out how to implement and continuously improve EPR schemes in the local context;
- Engage with their peers and the relevant associations and collaborations we are part of to work towards aligning their positions and actions accordingly.
While they might not have all the answers on how best to implement EPR for packaging in different geographies around the world, the endorsers of this statement are sending a strong signal that not making EPR work is not an option, and they are willing to step up and be part of the solution.