Much of the production of waste consisting of plastic packaging comes from the domestic channel. Waste produced by consumers as well as most of the waste produced by industrial processes flow into this channel, and we are talking about substantial figures considering that 40% of the total plastic produced in Europe is used to make packaging (data provided by Italia del Riciclo 2020 of the Sustainable Development Foundation and Fise Unicircular).
Italy has been committed for years to reducing the sectors that use plastic materials. In 2011, it banned the use of biodegradable shopping bags and in 2018 expanded the use of these bags for fruit and vegetables. In 2019, plastic and cotton bud sticks for hygienic uses were abolished and two years ago the use of micro-plastics in rinse-off cosmetic products was banned.
Despite this, a large amount of PS is still put on the market every day, so it is necessary to develop solutions for the recycling of this material.
In addition to the environmental emergency, the world is also facing a difficult political and economic situation that is leading to an increase in the price of oil and consequently also of plastic packaging.
However, it is certain that these increases are not to be attributed exclusively to the war in Ukraine, given that Covid had already increased the cost of plastic polymers by up to 70% due to the slowdown in industrial production and the subsequent surge in market demand.
On all fronts, therefore, it is necessary to reduce the use of virgin plastics in favour of recycled materials, capable of decreasing the industry’s dependence on oil and reducing the environmental footprint of the entire production sector.
Coopbox has been working for a long time to develop green solutions to promote the circular economy, and on making decisions aimed at environmental sustainability. During March, all our production of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) trays were converted to the exclusive use of R-XPS as a raw material. In this way, all barrier products leaving our facilities will contain up to 50% of recycled material from circular economy supply chains, and in particular from domestic separate waste collection. This extensive adoption of R-XPS is the result of years of research that have led us, in the first phase, to present this new material as a “green” alternative to traditional polystyrene foam. This now allows us to extend its use for the production of all our main products, from draining trays to containers for take-away ice cream. A strong and clear choice aimed at further strengthening our commitment to a sustainable economy and our alliance with retailers and the food industry to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. Not forgetting that our commitment will help us to strengthen the economic sustainability of the PS recycling chain, thus investing in the future of all of us and of our planet.