Aimed at greatly improving the recyclability of flexible packaging and diverting more of it from landfill, the REFLEX project has taken a runner-up place in the inaugural Sustainability Awards 2015, run by Packaging Europe magazine.
The awards celebrate the packaging industry’s latest and most innovative solutions to reducing environmental impact.
The REFLEX project was recognised in the Brand category as an ‘industry-leading exemplary model of collaboration,’ according to Packaging Europe editor, Tim Sykes.
Led by resource recovery specialist Axion Consulting, the innovative collaborative project involves the high-profile global brands Nestlé UK Ltd and Unilever UK Central Resources Ltd as well as major stakeholders across the value chain. These include the Dow Chemical Company, the converters Amcor Ltd and Interflex Group; and waste management and recycling specialists SUEZ and TOMRA Sorting Ltd.
“REFLEX is addressing the crucial question of how to develop technologies that increase recycling of flexible packaging. It is a great example for the entire industry of how brand owners can join forces with leading players across the value chain to solve common problems faster,” added Tim.
Commenting on the achievement, Axion’s Principal Consultant Liz Morrish said: “We are delighted and extremely proud to have been recognised in this way; particularly in our first year of the project and competing against big-name brands. It is fantastic news and a major boost for everyone involved in this exciting project.”
Dana Mosora, Dow’s EMEA Leader for Sustainability commented: “REFLEX is a very good example of how Dow is approaching the market – by looking to collaborate with all our partners, to develop solutions for sometimes very complex issues. This method of working together is gaining prominence within our industry. It is inspiring for not just our partners and other members of the value chain, but key influencers like Packaging Europe which is excellent news.”
The Packaging Europe Awards publication, where the REFLEX project is mentioned on pages 36-37 can be accessed here.
Co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, the REFLEX project aims to create a circular economy for flexible packaging – from confectionery wrappers to detergent pouches – by involving the whole supply chain, from polymer production and packaging manufacture to waste management and recycling.
Flexible packaging such as plastic bags, confectionery wrappers, frozen food bags and pouches makes up nearly a third (32 per cent) of consumer plastic packaging in the UK. However, virtually all of the 414,000 tonnes produced annually ends up in landfill. By contrast, 58 per cent of plastic bottles are recycled.