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Thursday, March 10, 2022

  • Mondelēz International is one of five companies, alongside Mars, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever, to have created the Flexible Packaging Initiative
  • These founding companies ‎have committed to increasing investment and support for public policy interventions to accelerate the transition toward a circular economy for flexible packaging across Europe.
  • As part of this initiative, the companies also founded the Flexible Plastic Fund with £1 million to improve recycling rates of flexible plastic within the UK.
  • Both flexible packaging initiatives are part of Mondelēz International’s ‘Pack Light and Pack Right’ strategy - supporting its 2025 global goals to reduce the use of virgin plastic material in its overall plastic packaging portfolio by 5% (assuming constant portfolio mix), achieving 100% recyclable packaging and labelling with recycling information.

The five founding companies support a circular economy for flexible packaging built on the principles of resource ‎efficiency, prevention of waste and pollution, and lowering the overall environmental impact of packaging. Individually these companies are reviewing packaging designs with the aim to reduce packaging materials, improve recyclability and increase the use of recycled and renewable content[1]. To ensure packaging materials are kept within the economy, the companies aim to improve recycling infrastructure and uptake of recycled materials[2].

Flexible packaging is highly efficient as it can pack a relatively large amount of product while being low in weight which minimizes carbon emissions, whilst providing various benefits, including product protection, preservation and quality assurance. However, currently, flexible packaging is not yet widely recycled. To lead the transition toward boosting recycling, participants to the Initiative ‎ are committed to work with partners and governmental bodies to improve infrastructure, go beyond individual packaging design efforts by providing concrete proposals to help enable effective collection, improved sorting and innovative recycling of flexible packaging across Europe.

Together and through various cross-sector and public-private collaborations, the companies are focusing on action in five key areas:

  1. POLICY CHANGES TO INCENTIVISE CIRCULARITY: more ambitious recycling targets, landfill ban, minimum incineration for recyclable packaging
  2. MAXIMISED COLLECTION: intensify consumer awareness on circularity, mandatory collection of flexible packaging and harmonised packaging disposal instructions
  3. WASTE MANAGEMENT ACTORS TO CO-PILOT CIRCULARITY FOR FLEXIBLES: better sorting leads to more recycling
  4. INCENTIVES FOR ADVANCED RECYCLING: regulatory and investment predictability needed to scale recycling
  5. OUR COMMITMENT: substantial investments in realisation of fully circular flexible packaging

Participating companies are committed to increase investments; in circular packaging design, new sorting and recycling technologies and through eco-modulated EPR fees, as multiple approaches are required to ensure more flexible packaging is processed through improved infrastructure.

The scale and magnitude of the transition requires action from companies, policy makers, experts, academics and societal organisations. The Initiative wishes to step up the collaboration across the packaging value chain, with EPR-schemes and with EU and local governments, to support the implementation of these changes rapidly.

Vince Gruber (President MEU, Mondelēz International): “We strongly believe that the key to achieve these bold objectives is an efficient and effective infrastructure for packaging materials across Europe. Ambitious and enforced recycling rates will likely increase circularity and help prevent littering of packaging materials. Therefore, we are committed to support circular economy initiatives enabling recycling of flexibles.”

The link to the press release in full can be found here. The Flexible Packaging Initiative is an open initiative.

[1] Company examples on packaging reduction, reuse & refill: PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, Mars and Mondelēz International

[2] Collective projects on infrastructure investments: Holy Grail, UK Flexible Packaging Fund, Community of Practice on Flexible Packaging

For more information, please contact Loïc Gruson(lgruson@kellencompany.com) or Can Buharali – Mondelēz International (can.buharali@mdlz.com)