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Unilever and Nestle collaborate on wrapper recycling

Unilever and Nestle collaborate to improve the recyclability of their packaging.

Unilever and Nestle are part of a collaborative project that aims to improve the recyclability of 'flexible packaging' like sweet and crisp wrappers.

The two-year REFLEX project, funded by Innovate UK, aims to create a circular economy for flexible packaging, which makes up nearly a third of consumer plastic packaging in the UK.

Today the overwhelming majority of this packaging - around 556,000 tonnes - ends up in landfill.

The goal of the campaign is to match plastic-bottle recycling rates - around 56% currently - within 10 years.

"It represents a huge challenge to current recycling routes, because seemingly 'simple' packages, such as a biscuit wrapper, may incorporate several functional layers in order to deliver heat-sealable packaging with high tear strength, good puncture resistance and minimum cost," said Roger Morton, director of Axion Consulting, one of those working on the project.

The new Reflex campaign will investigate new base-materials, new designs and a new automated sorting technique. Unilever and Nestle will also take a lead by disseminating industry-wide guidelines for recyclable packaging. Unilever has recently been active in searching for new ways to recycle packaging, entering a formal alliance with the innovation centre at Northumbria University.


Robbie Staniforth

Innovation and policy director

Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.


Written by Robbie Staniforth Published 09/12/2014 Topics Sustainability

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