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Mondelēz International is contributing to the £3m Flexible Plastic Fund FlexCollect project, the largest pilot for household collections and recycling of flexible plastic packaging ever undertaken in the UK

Monday, January 02, 2023

  • Over 6,500 homes in Maldon, Essex to start collecting flexible plastic packaging in home collections from January 2023
  • Pilot will inform how to incorporate flexibles into existing collection services across different geographies and demographics, developing best practice
  • This industry led project, initiated, and led by the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF) benefits from cross- industry expertise of leading industry and government partners, including DEFRA, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), SUEZ, RECOUP, LARAC & WRAP
  • FlexCollect pilot is another example of how Mondelēz International is investing in the UK’s recycling infrastructure as part of its ‘Pack Light and Right’ sustainable packaging strategy

Maldon District Council is the third local authority to participate in the FPF FlexCollect project to pilot the collection of ‘flexible’ plastics such as plastic bags, confectionery wrappers, foil-lined packaging, plastic film and more from approximately 6,500 households, as part of normal fortnightly recycling collections.

The new service began in January 2023 in selected areas and covers a variety of family sizes and housing types. Those households selected to take part have received information on how to use the new plastic bags and wrapping collection service together with special collection bags before the new service begins.

This is the first year of a three-year trial which, will eventually roll out to all households across the district by the end of 2024.

Flexible plastics are a considerable challenge as they represented 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020 but only 8% were recycled from kerbside collections. Supermarket front-of-store collection points recycle plastic bags and wrapping. This trial will help to change that by helping to inform government and industry on how flexible plastics should be added to existing household recycling collection services ahead of the introduction of consistent collections for all households in England in 2027.

The FPF FlexCollect project was launched in May 2022 and is the most extensive pilot for household collection and recycling of plastic bags and wrapping packaging to be undertaken in the UK. Maldon District Council joins the first two pilots in Cheltenham and South Gloucestershire which started in October 2022. They will be part of nine pilots across England that will help to make recycling plastic bags and wrapping more convenient for everyone, which will increase the amount of packaging that the UK recycles.

The £3m FlexCollect project is co-managed by a consortium comprising the project co-funders, Ecosurety, Recoup, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and WRAP. It is funded by a number of organisations, such as the Flexible Plastic Fund composed of a number of UK’s leading manufacturers: Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever. Partners of the Fund now also include Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, The Collective, Kiddylicious, Koninklijke Douwe Egberts, KP Snacks, McCain Foods, Tilda, United Biscuits, Vitaflo, Yeo Valley Farms, Lotus Bakeries, Natural Balance Foods, Ocado Retail and WARP Snacks. Also supporting the project are Defra, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP) and Zero Waste Scotland.

Gareth Morton, Flexible Plastic Fund spokesperson and Discovery Manager at Ecosurety, said: “We are really pleased to usher in the new year with Maldon District Council’s participation in the FPF FlexCollect project.

“It is really exciting and encouraging to have local authorities coming on board and see the project momentum building. Ultimately, this project will benefit communities right across England.

Councillor Penny Channer, Leader of Maldon District Council, said: “I am extremely pleased that our District has been chosen to be part of this trial, and the only authority in Essex to be chosen so far. This trial is another step towards making the District more environmentally sustainable and reducing our carbon footprint through the reduction of plastics going to landfill.

“While this is only a trial at the moment, I look forward to seeing this scheme rolled out to all residents by the end of 2024. I would like to thank officers in our Waste Services team at Maldon District Council, our waste collection contractor, SUEZ UK, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), for their work in bringing this exciting scheme to the Maldon District.”

Thomas Merry, Technical Development Manager for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and FPF Project Director, said: "As a pilot, the project needs to consider how flexible plastics can be incorporated into different collection systems, in different areas. Recruiting Maldon for the project allows us to expand the pilot into the south east and twin-stream recycling collections, at the same time as giving participating residents the opportunity to recycle more of their waste."

’For more information visit www.recyclenow.com/plastic-wrapping.

Notes to Editors

A selection of images relating to the project can be downloaded here:

For more information please contact press@ecosurety.com or call on 0333 4330 370

About Mondelēz International

Mondelēz International, Inc. (Nasdaq: MDLZ) empowers people to snack right in over 150 countries around the world. With 2021 net revenues of approximately $29 billion, MDLZ is leading the future of snacking with iconic global and local brands such as Oreo, belVita and LU biscuits; Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Sour Patch Kids candy and Trident gum. Mondelēz International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor’s 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com or follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MDLZ

About FPF FlexCollect

FPF FlexCollect is a £3m pilot to collect and recycle flexible plastic packaging from households in the UK. Initiated and led by the Flexible Plastic Fund (FPF), and including some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, the project benefits from the cross-industry expertise of leading industry and government partners, including Defra, Ecosurety, UK Research and Innovation Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (UKRI SSPP), SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, RECOUP, LARAC, WRAP and Zero Waste Scotland.

The other local authorities that are part of the project announced to date include Cheltenham Borough Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

About The Flexible Plastic Fund

The Flexible Plastic Fund is a collaborative fund giving value to flexible plastic films, so they are properly recycled. Managed by market-leading producer responsibility compliance scheme Ecosurety and supported by environmental charity Hubbub, the Fund was established in May 2021 by five founding partners: Mars UK, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever. Partners of the Fund now also include Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, The Collective, Kiddylicious, Koninklijke Douwe Egberts, KP Snacks, McCain Foods, Tilda, United Biscuits, Vitaflo, Yeo Valley Farms, Lotus Bakeries, Natural Balance Foods, Ocado Retail and WARP Snacks. In collaboration with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers, the Fund intends to improve flexible plastic recycling and reduce plastic pollution by giving the material a stable value. This will in turn increase the supply of recycled plastic for the industry to become more ‘circular’. This will motivate investment in much-needed jobs and infrastructure to make flexible plastic recycling a financially sustainable system in the UK. Through supporting the Flexible Plastic Fund, partners will contribute to system-wide progress driving towards household collection of this valuable material and ultimately closing the loop on flexible plastic production. Find out more: www.flexibleplasticfund.org.uk.