A collaborative fund giving value to flexible plastics so they are properly recycled.
The Flexible Plastic Fund is a UK industry first, founded by Ecosurety with support from environmental charity, Hubbub.
In collaboration with retailers, recyclers and manufacturers the Fund intends to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by giving the material a stable value.
A problem that needs solving
Flexible plastic represented 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020, but according to the RECOUP Household Plastics Collection Survey 2021, only 8% of it was recycled.
Flexible plastic is unrivalled in its function and performance, but the vast majority is used only once and discarded. This is because there has traditionally been no clear way for the majority of consumers to recycle it, despite it being such a valuable material.
The Flexible Plastic Fund is a cross-industry collaboration managed by Ecosurety. It was established in May 2021 by five founding partners - Mars, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.
The fund now boasts 20 manufacturers and retailers contributing to the fund, major retailers hosting flexible plastic collection points in stores across the UK, and local authorities pioneering kerbside collection of flexibles to inform best practices.
A key objective of the Fund is to improve and increase flexible plastic recycling infrastructure.
Recyclers can benefit from the security and stability of the Flexible Plastic Fund’s guaranteed minimum pricing structure, which can be used to invest in expanding or improving their flexible plastic recycling capabilities, enabling even more material to be recycled. In turn, transparent reporting and auditing of material recycled provides reassurance to Fund partners.
In May 2022 the Fund launched FPF FlexCollect, the most extensive pilot for household collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging ever undertaken in the UK.
The £2.9m project is co-funded by the Flexible Plastic Fund, Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP) and Zero Waste Scotland. Through collaboration with participating local authorities, the project will help to understand how to incorporate flexibles into existing collection services across different geographies and demographics, developing best practices ahead of the introduction of consistent collections across the UK in 2027.
Before UK-wide flexible plastic kerbside collections are in place by 2027, the Fund is working with retailers to make it easy for their customers to access high-quality flexible plastic collection points in-store.
Participating retailers can also partner with audited recyclers, who in turn can access the Fund’s guaranteed minimum pricing structure to recycle flexible plastic into the highest quality materials possible.
“Our plans to introduce consistency in recycling and encourage more recyclable packaging through extended producer responsibility will significantly reduce the amount of plastic polluting our natural environment. The innovative FPF FlexCollect project will provide valuable evidence to support our proposals to roll out nationwide collections of plastic film from all households and businesses.”Jo ChurchillResources and Waste Minister, DEFRA
Join the Fund
It is only by collaborating that we can create a cross-industry approach that actually makes a difference. Partners of the Fund will be part of an accountable organisation that is incentivising the best possible recycling outcomes for flexible plastics.
If you are a manufacturer, retailer, recycler or local authority involved in flexible plastic packaging, we want to hear from you.