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Supply chain stumps up for disposable plastics recycling

A plastic ‘closed loop’ cup made from recycled polymers and paid for by contributions from the supply chain is being launched in the new year.



Plastico, which supplies polypropylene glasses and catering disposables to the foodservice and retail sectors, says the payments will be directly invested into a collection and recycling system, with a long-term goal of recovering all cups placed on the market. 

Each purchase of the cup from January 2018 will include a contribution from the supply chain, and Plastico says it is a viable alternative to the current clamour for a tax on single-use plastics. 

The company is working with Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, which specialises in customer and market programmes, and has particular expertise in recycling plastic bottles and paper cups.

Initially, material from recovered cups will be manufactured into non-food related plastic products. But the aim is to incorporate the recycled material into Plastico’s range of catering products.

“It is a myth that our industry does not want to be responsible for the materials with which we manufacture,” said John Reeves, head of UK and European sales at Plastico. “We see real value in these used materials, and have a responsibility to put in place closed loop schemes that transform these assets in a number of innovative ways.”

Peter Goodwin, director of Closed Loop ES, said: “We have said for a long time that a tax on disposable packaging will be inevitable if the foodservice sector continues to drag its heels. Following similar agreements we have signed recently in Australia, with 7-Eleven and Qantas, we are delighted that Plastico has taken the lead in the UK that will now set the precedent for others to follow.

“This self-regulated scheme should also mitigate the need for taxation – and at a dramatically reduced cost to all parties than the 25p per cup currently being suggested, for example, with paper cups.”

Closed Loop ES aims to make the application of its ‘Closed Loop’ logo on packaging the recognised industry standard, which demonstrates that organisations in the supply chain are contributing to the investment in collection systems and reprocessing infrastructure. The expectation is that once the initial investment has been made, it will become self-funding.

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