Lightweight Recycled Content Milk Bottle from Nampak Hits 500 Million Sales

The following article the highlights the success of the UK dairy industry’s use of recycled HDPE plastic in milk jugs.  The technology is commercially available here in the U.S., but there is no desire or incentive for the dairy industry here to include recycled content in our milk jugs.  Milk jugs are the gold standard of “recyclability” and are used extensively as feedstock for recycled HDPE products.  It would be the ultimate in sustainability if the circle could be completed and milk jugs turned back into milk jugs, instead of into detergent or shampoo bottles.  Envision produces EcoPrime, food grade recycled HDPE resin, which would be ideal for use in the production of milk jugs. - Ed.

Reprinted from Resource Efficient Business

Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 | Author: Paul Sanderson

Nampak’s Infini milk bottle has sold 500 million units in the UK in supermarkets such as Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

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Since its launch in 2012, the Infini HDPE bottle has saved 34,000 tonnes of carbon and 16,000 tonnes of material.

According to Nampak, the bottle is the strongest and lightest on the British market.

In the last 12 months, Nampak has also pushed up the recycled content in the form of rHDPE in the four pint bottle to 30 per cent and has created a four pint bottle weighing just 32g, representing a 20 per cent saving on the standard bottle.

Nampak Plastics managing director Eric Collins said: “This is a very exciting time for Nampak. For the last six years, the team has been focused on continuously innovating and pushing boundaries where possible with Infini, and this is now showing exceptional tangible results, reducing the carbon footprint of the plastic milk bottle.”

Marks & Spencer commercial and environmental packaging manager Andrew Speck added: “Since Nampak helped us launch the first milk bottles with post-consumer recycled content in 2007 it has continued to deliver innovative packaging solutions for us, most recently this year’s 30 per cent recycled content bottles that we are currently trialling.

“Nampak continues to push the barriers around performance and sustainability, and we look forward to working with it on more ground-breaking innovations into the future.”

Recycled plastics: What Goes Where and How

An article featuring us this Sunday in the local paper…

Greensboro News & Record  | Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2014 1:15 pm   

http://www.news-record.com/opinion/columns/article_422ce71a-b2ac-11e3-add5-001a4bcf6878.html          

By Mary McClellan

Ah, plastics. We meet again.

To some, figuring out which plastics to recycle is more confusing than filling out a tax return. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What really happens to Greensboro’s plastic bottles?

ReCommunity Greensboro, the city’s recycling processor, sorts plastics into several categories. Each is baled and sent to different reprocessing facilities. Any plastic container, no matter what it becomes later, first must be chopped into pieces, called flake. The flake is then sent through a sterilization and decontamination process that uses water flotation to remove pathogens, food waste and other objects.

The flake is dried and a special fan removes the tiny pieces of label that are mixed with the flake. What’s left is clean plastic, ready to be melted and reformed into new products.

After cleaning, what happens next varies. As the different numbers on plastic containers would suggest, there are chemical differences in plastics. The number on the bottom, called a Resin Identification Code, is an industry standard that tells manufacturers the chemical make-up of the plastic. Each number represents one of seven code categories.

Those seven resin codes can rarely, if ever, be intermixed to make products. A plastics expert once advised me to look at plastics like making pancakes and biscuits. Pancakes and biscuits have the same ingredients: Bisquick and water (sorry, the analogy doesn’t work with a made-from-scratch recipe). But each contains different amounts of those ingredients, which create very different dishes.

So, if you wanted to make biscuits, but you added the pancake mix, would you get a “biscake”? Nope. You’d get a mess. It’s the same with plastic.

Try to make No. 1 plastic with some No. 5 mixed in, or No. 2 with a pinch of No. 6, and you’ll get nothing you can use — and possibly a fire. In fact, there are even variations in the make-up of plastics within the same numerical classification that cannot be mixed, either (a No. 1 take-out box versus a No. 1 bottle, for instance). To borrow the wise words of an inexplicably popular song from the 1990s, “You gotta keep ’em separated.”

If you’re still thinking, “My bottles will just end up in the landfill anyway,” think again. If you’ve ever shopped at virtually any store here, you’ve probably come across a product made from remanufactured Greensboro plastic.

Greensboro’s No. 1 plastics (PETE, or polyethelyne terephthalate, which I can’t pronounce, either) such as soda, juice and water bottles, are sold to Mohawk Industries and Shaw Industries, which melt and spin the PETE into fibers to weave into carpeting. You’ll see these recycled carpet lines for sale at Lowes, Home Depot and other major carpet distributors.

Envision Plastics, housed in nearby Reidsville, remanufactures our No. 2 plastic (HDPE, or high-density polyethylene) into recycled-content resin, essentially turning it back into raw material.

What’s cool about Envision is the optical color-sorting technology used to create specific resin colors from the random mix of flake that runs through its system. Brands such as Downy, Tide and Method use Envision’s pre-colored resin to make their bottles and jugs (bypassing the plastic dying process). Envision also supplies plastic resin to the popular Green Toys line, sold by Amazon and Target and Toys and Co. in Greensboro.

The remainder of the city’s plastics, No. 3-No. 7 containers and bulky, rigid plastic, comprise a pretty small portion (10 percent or less). ReCommunity sells bales of No. 3-7 plastic to a re-processor, where they are broken open, further sorted, re-baled and sold again. It’s difficult to know exactly what each of these plastics is made into, but the products include batteries, plastic dock floats and even fuels.

These plastics have little value on the market, partly because they are lightweight, inconsistent and generated in low volumes by municipal recycling programs. But there’s hope that more uses for them will develop in the future, particularly in the energy arena.

The next time you meet a plastic you’re not sure about, just take a deep breath and use this simple rule: If it’s a hard plastic container, recycle it. And if you’re ever in doubt, call the city at 373-2489.

As for whether obsessing over numbers on the bottom of a shampoo bottle is worth it? The city earns close to $1 million a year from the sale of recyclables and avoids spending another $1 million in landfill tipping fees.

As with anything else, knowledge is the key to making the best choices.

Mary McClellan (mary.mcclellan@recommunity.com) is recycling program coordinator, ReCommunity Recycling (www.recommunity.com).

 
 

Aptar Unveils New Recycling Friendly Valve and Liner Systems

Orlando, FL

Last week at the Association of Post-consumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) Technical Committee meeting, we had a major breakthrough for recycling.  For years the PET bottle recycling stream, and often the HDPE stream, has been contaminated by silicone used in valves and liners of dispensing closure systems.

Recently Aptar, a major global closure manufacturer, learned of this issue.  Since the silicone contamination is often caused by the closure valves and liners in items such as ketchup and mustard containers and swivel caps used in some sports drinks; Aptar searched for alternative materials that would not threaten the recycling stream but work equally as well in all applications.   They are promoting a polyolefin based thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) replacement for silicone which will solve the problem.

We, at Envision, have experienced silicone contamination at least six times in our recycled resin production resulting in a $20,000 plus loss in revenue per event.  We are extremely grateful for a solution.  Even though silicone is primarily used in PET bottle applications as an ingredient in closures, many HDPE bales are speckled with PET bottles that have the silicone closures with them.  So, if we miss sorting out the PET bottles prior to our grinding and washing; (although the PET we will sink out), the closure will float along with the silicon valve and liners.

Silicone is a thermoset resin.  It will soften in our extrusion process, go through the screen pack and then reform into the original ground shape.  Often at the HDPE bottle blow molder this ground silicone will go through their extruder, soften in the heat, go through their screen pack, resolidify, and create a hole where the piece of silicone contaminates the wall of the bottle, creating a hole.  Just one ground valve or liner can cause 100’s of blow outs and create major production issues for our customers, causing them to shut down their system, purge out the recycled resin, and reject the silicone contaminated resin.  We will never be able to remove the pieces of silicone once they are our HDPE recycled pellets, making them worthless to our customers.

Having a major closure manufacturer, such as Aptar, come up with an alternative that is no longer a contaminant, but can act as a compatabilizer, (such as TPE is known to be), is music to our ears.  The PET recyclers must be even happier because they often see the silicone contamination in the floatable polyolefin’s that they try to sell.  Let’s hope the Consumer Product Companies; which rely primarily on cost savings when evaluating component material changes, will yet embrace this new technology as a method to improve sustainability.  Kudos to Aptar for creating this fix and bringing it to APR Technical Committee’s attention.

Wal-Mart Wants to Boost Recycled Packaging Content by 3 Billion Pounds

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Rob Kaplan – Walmart’s Director of Product Sustainability

From:  Plastics News – March 12, 2014  http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20140312/NEWS/140319946/wal-mart-wants-to-boost-recycled-packaging-content-by-3-billion#

ORLANDO, FLA. – America’s largest retailer wants to drive increased use of post-consumer recycled plastic in packaging.

And Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is using a pretty aggressive goal to help move the needle.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant wants to increase post-consumer recycled content in plastic packaging by 3 billion pounds by 2020.

That’s a three followed by a whole lot of zeros.

Putting the 3,000,000,000-pound goal in play, said Wal-Mart Director of Product Sustainability Rob Kaplan, is certainly meant to grab people’s attention and help steer them toward the use of post-consumer plastic content in packaging.

Wal-Mart is studying its current post-consumer recycled content in packaging to determine what it now uses, but that lack of a number is not stopping the firm from establishing a goal, which might have to be tweaked up or down once more firm data about the current benchmark is established.

“This is a way to improve the sustainability of all of the products,” Kaplan said at the Plastics Recycling Conference in Orlando. “So it’s sort of a rising tide lifts all boats-type approach. And those are things that really drive our attention.”

The cost and volatility of commodity packaging materials also is a driver for the company to seek more recycled content, he said.

“So our goal is to increase [recycled content]. And right now we’re estimating what we think the impact would be if we have a concerted effort to increase. We’re slowly trying to refine those numbers. We think the 3 billion pounds is an aggressive way to talk about it,” Kaplan said.

The large goal also serves, he said, “to signal to the industry that we’re serious about it and focused on it.

“As we go through benchmarking process, we may have to change those estimates because of information we get. They may go bigger or may go smaller,” Kaplan said.

While Wal-Mart sells plenty of products sold in plastic packaging, the retailer does not actually make any of those products or the packaging they use.

But the retailer can create demand for post-consumer recycled content simply by stating its preference and creating demand at the retail level. The company can use its buying power, across different lines of products, to seek recycled-content packaging from a variety of manufacturers of similar products.

“I would say the big value we bring to it is collective action,” Kaplan said, from different suppliers.

While Wal-Mart is keen on increasing post-consumer plastic content in packaging, the company is not viewing the idea as a charity case. “If it doesn’t pay, it’s not sustainable,” Kaplan said.

“Sustainability, for us, is not a philanthropic endeavor. It is about driving our business and creating value in our supply chain for our suppliers, our partners and our customers,” he said.

For a company the size of Wal-Mart, going large into post-consumer recycled plastic packaging is just a part of everyday life.

“For us, scale is really, really a key element for everything we do from the business side and the sustainability side,” Kaplan said.

Wal-Mart’s size also means the company needs to stay away from any potential unintended negative consequences that a push for higher post-consumer recycled content might bring. Those problems could include stripping supply, growing too fast, and pitting suppliers against one another, the product sustainability director said. “Those things we are really cautious about.”

Using more recycled content plastic packaging also will help the company reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gases, Kaplan said.

Milk Bottle Recycling Reaches Record Levels in the UK

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From Farmers Guardian, March 3, 2014

This was the claim from plastics company Nampak after a survey conducted by recycling expert Recoup on UK consumer habits.

According to the survey, levels of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic milk bottle recycling increased to an all-time high of 79 per cent in 2013.

Nampak has said plastic milk bottles are now one of the most recycled products in the UK.

The survey estimated 2012 recycling levels saw an estimates 6.9 million pounds of plastic bottles recycled, with 2.1 million pounds believed to be HDPE milk bottles.

Eric Collins, managing director of Nampak Plastics, commented: “We are thrilled with the continued progress being shown in the sector. It is something we feel is incredibly important.

But Steve Morgan, technical manager at Recoup Recycling said more could be done to further increase milk bottle recycling numbers.

Plastic milk bottles in the UK typically contain 35% to 50% recycled HDPE plastic.

Green packaging shifts up the priority list for brand owners and consumers

By Chris BARKER , 29-Nov-2013

100% recycled packaging logo

Increasing environmental awareness means that sustainable packaging is becoming a higher priority for both consumers and brand owners, as evidenced by the number of cosmetics firms opting for a greener option.

Elizabeth Arden this week chose the Airopack dispensing system, and this adds to the long list of brands opting for environmentally friendly packaging in order to appeal to customers.

The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide products are being produced through the Airopack Full Service Operation, which will see the dispensers produced, filled, sleeved and packed to meet the brand’s specifications.

Increasing awareness

“Brand owners become more aware of their responsibility in today’s society. As environmental awareness shifts higher up the priority list at both consumers and brand owners, sustainable products become increasingly important to express a brand message,” Airopack marketing manager Caren Kuijs tells to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com

“Over the last 10 years we have identified an enormous growth in cosmetic formulations holding natural ingredients and with this Airopack is able to enhance the total sustaining message on shelf for the consumer.”

This technology has also been adopted by other major companies in the recent past; including Procter & Gamble and Danish brand Nordictan.

As technology advances, lightweight packaging and aerosols with a low carbon footprint and CO2 impact are becoming more practical and are being adopted by larger numbers of companies.

Industry examples

Estee Lauder subsidiary Aveda recently brought a new dimension to packaging by introducing 100% recycled packaging for eye colouring in their ‘Essence of Nature Single Eye Color Refil’ line, launched earlier this year.

The company also adopted the tactic of selling refills of its most popular colors, to allow consumers to re-use the same packaging multiple times.

Copyright - Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2013 – William Reed Business Media SAS – All Rights Reserved

Closed Loop Recycling Expansion

The innovative recycler, who was the first in the world to recycle both PET and
HDPE plastic bottles into food grade material for new food and drink packaging,
is implementing a major expansion which will double the supply of recycled HDPE
to the UK market, more than meeting the expected demand from the dairy industry
as it works towards higher recycled content targets.

The investment in
new infrastructure will make Closed Loop Recycling the biggest recycler of milk
bottles in the world.  It will increase capacity at the Dagenham-based plant to
55,000 tonnes per annum, creating the most advanced plastics purification
facility in the UK and diverting a further 30,000 tonnes of carbon emissions in
the process. 

“Recycled milk bottles are a massive win for the circular
economy,” explains Chris Dow, CEO of Closed Loop Recycling.  “The increased
demand for recycled content is an example of the whole industry working together
– retailers, producers, brands and industry bodies – to implement an ambitious
plan. This has created a sustainable business model with enormous potential for
the future.

“There has been a huge commitment from the companies in this
sector, including our customers, who have invested in technology and plants to
complete the HDPE recycling loop.  I am confident that our expansion will bring
the 2020 target of 50% recycled material in plastic bottles closer,” continues
Dow.

Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive of WRAP comments: “Closed Loop
Recycling’s expansion in order to meet forecast demand for recycled content in
milk bottle packaging is the perfect example of how businesses can work together
to achieve the economic and environmental benefits of a circular economy. It’s
great to see circular economy ideas being converted into positive
action.”

Closed Loop Recycling is implementing an awareness campaign with
local authorities to increase collection rates of milk bottles. This will
support the ongoing goals of the Dairy Roadmap whereby dairy processors, farmers
and retailers are working together with government to develop a raft of
environmental improvements within the dairy industry.

Closed Loop
Recycling has been at the forefront of the UK plastic recycling industry which
has gone from almost zero to £60 million in just five years and this multi
million pound investment in new infrastructure will further enable the company
take real action to support Britain’s challenging waste stream.

As a
result of a joint agreement with the London Thames Gateway Development
Corporation (LTGDC), Closed Loop Recycling has leased an additional three acres
adjacent to its existing Dagenham site to help facilitate any future expansion,
in order to realise its ambitious growth plans and meet demand for recycled food
grade products.

Closed Loop Recycling’s Dagenham plant has been
operating since December 2008.  Its current capacity allows the production of
35,000 tonnes of mixed plastic bottles, producing 11,000 tonnes of rPET and
6,000 tonnes of rHDPE per annum. 

More info:
www.closedlooprecycling.co.uk