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Mondelēz International joins forces to launch UK’s biggest flexible plastic household collection and recycling pilot
Participation in a new Flexible Plastic Fund FlexCollect project
Thursday, May 19, 2022
Mondelēz International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) today announces its participation in a new Flexible Plastic Fund FlexCollect project, the largest pilot undertaken in the UK for household collections and recycling of flexible plastic. Mondelēz International has co-funded this multi-million-pound project through the Flexible Plastic Fund, DEFRA, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP) and Zero Waste Scotland and is a coalition comprising the project co-founders, Ecosurety, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, RECOUP and WRAP.
The pilot, which will run for the next three years, will also benefit from a cross-section of industry stakeholders including Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO), Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Environmental Services Association (ESA) are also involved to ensure the views of all parts of the value chain involved in the collection and recycling of this material are considered.
Mondelēz International is a member of several leading initiatives that share a collective ambition to tackle plastic waste and create a circular economy - aiming to keep plastic within the economy and out of the environment. In 2021 its UK business co-founded the Flexible Plastic Fund, financing a £1 million fund to make flexible plastic recycling economically viable for recyclers and easier for consumers through retailer collections.
Mondelēz International UK Managing Director, Louise Stigant, said “Packaging plays an important role; from protecting the food we buy to preventing it from becoming food waste. A high proportion of our packaging on the UK market is already designed to be recyclable, and consumers can recycle it at home. Increasing the recycling rates of our flexible packaging and creating a circular economy for this material so our packaging does not end its life in the environment is a priority for us and something we know is important to our consumers. We are excited to take this next step on this journey as part of the FlexCollect initiative.”
At Mondelēz International making snacks sustainably and in the right way is at the heart of the business’ purpose – Snacking Made Right. The FPF FlexCollect project is the next step on the UK business’ journey to create a future where people and planet thrive. Both flexible packaging initiatives are part of Mondelēz International’s ‘Pack Light and Pack Right’ strategy - supporting its 2025 global goals to achieve 100% designed to be recyclable packaging, reduce the use of virgin plastic material in its overall plastic packaging portfolio by 5% (assuming constant portfolio mix), and provide consumers with recycling information.
Since 2013 Mondelēz International has removed 72,100 metric tons of packaging globally - the UK business has removed 192 tonnes of plastic and cardboard packaging since 2020. Recycling flexible plastic is a considerable challenge: it represented 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020 but only 8%1 was recycled. The FPF FlexCollect project provides a crucial opportunity for government, local authorities, packaging producers and the waste industry to build vital understanding of how to incorporate flexibles into existing household collections across different geographies, demographics and collection formats. It will develop best practices with key insights into the operational issues, yields and recyclability of flexible packaging, effective communications with residents and the costs of incorporating it into the UK’s current recycling collection systems.
The project will also build an evidence base and share learnings to support Government’s decision to introduce recyclable plastic film and flexible packaging household collections across the UK by March 20272. The data and insights provided will be shared publicly and will help support local authorities introducing new collections, as well as stimulate the development of end markets and domestic reprocessing infrastructure. It is also fully aligned with the WRAP led UK Plastics Pact ‘Roadmap 2025: Creating a circular economy for flexible plastic packaging’3
Commenting on the initiative, Resources and Waste Minister Jo Churchill said: “Plastic films and flexible packaging make up a huge proportion of our waste and we all want to see more of this material recycled. Our plans to introduce consistency in recycling and encourage more recyclable packaging through extended producer responsibility will significantly reduce the amount of plastic polluting our natural environment.
“This innovative project will provide valuable evidence to support our proposals to roll out nationwide collections of plastic film from all households and businesses.” Read the full press release here.