Everyone is talking about it: the circular economy. Packaging materials like plastic have many advantages, but their omnipresence has created a new set of challenges for us. How can we promote a responsible use of plastic within a circular economy and combat the problem of plastic waste through recycling?
CIRCULAR ECONOMY TURNING END OF LINE INTO NEW BEGINNINGS
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Circular economy FAQ
What is a circular economy?
Our understanding of a circular economy goes along with the definition of our partner the Ellen MacArthur Foundation: A circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the 'take-make-waste' linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources.
What is mechanical recycling?
Mechanical recycling of plastics is the most common form of reprocessing. It occurs by melting, filtering and degassing in an extruder. Used parts are shredded, cleaned and sorted by type. When items are very compatible and recycling streams are very pure, it is possible to recycle in a closed loop – this exists for example for PET bottles, which can be made out of 100% recycled plastic. More common is open loop recycling which accepts certain incompatibility and conta-mination.
What means chemical recycling?
Chemical recycling is a general term used to describe innovative technologies where post-consumer plastic waste is converted into valuable raw materials, to be used as feedstock by the chemical industry. It gives the possibility of removing pollutants and the potential of using waste that is difficult to recycle or heavily contaminated.
What are the benefits of bio-based plastic?
Bio-based plastic it enables more sustainable solutions. Provided they can deliver the same technical performance as conventional polymers, they could offer a good alternative and provide long-term benefits. Henkel explicitly exclude sources of raw materials that might be in competition with food. For this reason, we are testing the use of second-generation bio-based feedstock material.
Which role plays packaging in a circular economy?
Well thought-out packaging design plays a central role in the circular economy, especially when it comes to replacing new materials with recycled alternatives. With concepts that work with more sustainable materials in smaller quantities, we can significantly reduce waste and its negative impact on the environment. To transform a linear economy into a circular one, packaging concepts need to be rethought to allow materials to be preserved throughout economic cycles.