Coalition to close the loop on compostables

A new coalition plans to close the loop for compostable packaging by exploring the practicality of collecting and treating it via existing bio-waste collection and treatment routes.

The 10-partner coalition of industry, academia and infrastructure associations has received £1.2m in funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) flagship £60m Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge. It plans to use the funding to pilot interventions that can help transition away from single use plastic.

Hubbub and the University of Sheffield will lead research on consumer behaviour while packaging producers TIPA, Futamura, Vegware and Biome will work to support the removal of hard-to-recycle plastics from the market. EnVar, the largest composting facility in the UK, and Paper Round/Recorra, a commercial recycling company, will support the project, along with the trade associations REA and RECOUP.

Initial initiatives will see customers of online retailer Riverford Organic Farmers participate in a take-back programme for compostable packaging, while local residents of Milton Keynes along with shoppers across multiple cafeterias in London will be diverting compostable packaging with their food waste into designated food waste bins.

The project responds to Defra’s call for further evidence to support the case for wide inclusion of compostable packaging in UK bio-waste treatment streams.

“The research and innovation will further our understanding of how the best outcome for compostable packaging can be delivered in the UK and where these products fit within the sustainable packaging system which the SSPP Challenge seeks to support,” said Nick Cliffe, deputy director of the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge.

In other packaging news, Huhtamaki and Stora Enso have joined forces to launch a new European paper cup recycling initiative. The Cup Collective programme aims to recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale and will initially be implemented across the Benelux region.

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