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Standardisation will be essential in effecting the required investments and creating demand for recyclate – which is why forthcoming guidelines from organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and CEFLEX have such an important role to play. These align raw material suppliers, converters, brand owners, retailers, sorting and recycling facilities and regulators on how to realise a circular economy for flexibles. The recycling blueprint, encouraging polyethylene and polypropylene while proscribing PET and PVC, illuminates the business sense behind Amcor’s resource-heavy R&D program.

“The new film has the potential to generate financial as well as environmental savings,” commented Mr Zerbini. “In markets where our customers pay Extended Producer Responsibility fees, Amcor’s new development will offer the potential to reduce these fees, especially with upcoming regulations where fees are modulated based on recyclability.”

Another repercussion of any breakthrough in struggle against unrecycled plastic waste is that it works against complacent distraction from an arguably greater threat.

“Building a circular economy is a demand that we fully accept but we also need to look at sustainability holistically,” concluded Dr Rebitzer. “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that climate change is the number one challenge. Implementation of the Paris Agreement is slow. We know that if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest CO2 emitter in the world. In parallel with our ongoing activities to make all our packaging recyclable, we continue to work on downgauging and developing packaging that reduces food waste and other damage and loss. And in bringing to market high-performance films that can meet the demand for zero waste, we enable flexible packaging to continue to deliver the resource efficiency a growing global population desperately needs.”