What advice can you give to CEFLEX stakeholders to really 'move the needle' and help create a circular economy for flexible packaging?
CEFLEX has created the flexibles design guidelines for polyolefin films, so step one in moving the needle is to use these guidelines to create a mono-material stream. The other critical element is to improve waste capture and recycling capabilities for flexibles, so they are recycled both in practice and at scale.
Additionally, we are working with a range of companies, partners and stakeholders such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Consumer Goods Forum, More Recycling, and CEFLEX, to implement impactful, circular measures. Such multi-stakeholder collaborations will help make circularity the norm in the industry.
As a provider of medications that often come in blister packs, what avenues are you exploring to make those blister packs recyclable? As they comprise multiple materials, this must be an area where you have many challenges.
Blisters are a challenge due to the barrier requirements to keep the medicine inside safe for consumer use, over the shelf life of the product. We have a number of exciting projects underway looking at the future of blisters; our R&D teams are working in close collaboration with our strategic suppliers and machine manufacturers.
What are your thoughts on EPR to deliver circularity for flexible packaging?
As a global healthcare company, we want to play our part in protecting and restoring the planet’s health, in order to protect and improve people’s health. We therefore welcome all efforts to achieve this, whether through promoting circularity or via public policy designed to treat and better manage the disposal of post-consumer products.
GSK CH is supportive of EPR when it’s levied to invest in improving waste capture and recycling. It can help us to move towards a circular economy by encouraging a harmonised approach and avoiding duplicating efforts across countries.
How have you and suppliers/customers used the CEFLEX design guidelines?
We have consulted the guidelines during our R&D into recyclable flexibles, and many of our direct and indirect suppliers are also members of CEFLEX. The guidelines will enable a total supply chain approach to designing for a circular economy.
How far along is Europe in achieving a circular economy for flexible packaging?
I think it’s important to recognise how far we have come in such a short space of time – industry is making good progress. It is firmly on the political agenda, with circular policies being introduced by national governments and the European Union, for example. But a lot more needs to be done. Design guidelines are available and increasingly, flexible packaging is being designed for recycling. The next big challenge is to ensure flexibles can be collected and sorted in practice, at scale, and in a way that is commercially viable.