A new scheme launched by plastic waste specialist Vanden aims to help sheet manufacturers find new and reliable sources of high-quality recovered polymers.
Vanden explained that these sources can be used in the manufacture of new sheets, meeting demand from product manufacturers to close the loop by using more recycled content.
According to the company, rather than relying on nationally and internationally traded recovered polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with its incumbent price fluctuations and quality variations, its scheme looks to the sheet manufacturer's client base for these valuable feedstocks.
"Manufacturers and printers who make products from sheet plastic always end up with skeletal waste. These include bank and loyalty cards, telecoms sim cards, hotel key cards and gift cards,” explained Scott Archibald, Business Development Manager at Vanden.
"While the skeletal waste is often separated and sent for recycling, it could end up anywhere, often being traded globally,” he continued. "Under our new scheme, we are taking that same skeletal waste, reprocessing it and then returning it to the original sheet manufacturer."
The company said that the programme directly responds to brand and retailer demands for increased transparency within the recycling supply chain.
"Retailers are looking closely at their product supply chains and partnerships to ensure that they comply with their sustainability expectations," said Archibald. "They want to know how waste plastic is being managed, who's doing it, and where it's ending up. Furthermore, they want that process fully validated.
He added that the programme's transparency provides both the evidence and security required by retailers and brands that are at the forefront of the plastic debate.
"But it doesn't just work for the retailer,” he said. “For the sheet producer, it's a reliable source of cost-effective material that has already met their specification. For the card manufacturer, it's a transparent way to recycle.”
Vanden said that its new scheme is not only circular and mutually beneficial, it also aims to keep material in the UK. In doing so, the miles travelled by the recovered materials will reduce, having a positive impact on the process' carbon emissions.
There are two entry points for the scheme: via the sheet manufacturer or via the card producer.
If instigated by the sheet manufacturer, Vanden will identify which clients can produce the most viable skeletal waste, test the material and then put in place a closed-loop collections, reprocessing and delivery programme.
If instigated by the card producer, Vanden will test the waste and then approach the sheet producer to discuss whether the material can be used in the current production process.
"Industry has been talking about closed loop and circular solutions for many years now. By taking a specialist approach to plastics, we can design these loops to fit specific industries. It really is a win-win solution," concluded Archibald.
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