Big firms partner for soft plastic recycling project
Canadian PlasticsPackaging Recycling Sustainability
The U.K. recycling trial involves Sabic, Heinz, Tesco, Berry Global, and Plastic Energy.
Chemical maker Sabic has partnered with Heinz, British grocery store chain Tesco, packaging supplier Berry Global, and recycling technology experts Plastic Energy in a recycling trial in the U.K. designed to close the loop on soft plastic food packaging.
Flexible plastic packaging collected from Tesco stores has been used to produce certified circular polypropylene (PP) from Sabic’s TruCircle portfolio for microwavable Heinz Beanz Snap Pots, made from 39 per cent recycled soft plastic.
Consumers are being encouraged to return soft plastic packaging to collection points set up at Tesco stores. A portion of this collected plastic packaging is converted into recycled oils – called Tacoil – through a thermal anaerobic conversion process. Sabic uses the oil to produce certified circular PP of the same quality as virgin resin, and Berry then manufactures the new Beanz Snap Pots and sends them to Heinz for filling with Beanz and delivery to Tesco. Once emptied, the pots and sleeves can be returned to curbside collection points.
The Snap Pots recycling trial is part of Heinz’s global pledge aimed at making 100 per cent of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 and also part of Berry’s target of achieving 30 per cent circular plastic use across its fast-moving consumer goods packaging by 2030.
In a June 16 news release, Sabic officials note that, to date, flexible packaging has been difficult to recycle, and until 2020 just six per cent of soft plastic packaging was being recycled in the U.K. “Tesco started collecting soft plastic in all its large stores in 2021 to help plug this recycling gap in the U.K.,” Sabic said. “The Heinz and Tesco project with certified circular polymer from [our company] is considered a breakthrough with the potential of a real game changer.”
The new Heinz Beanz microwavable pots are made with 39 per cent of certified circular Sabic PP homopolymer suitable for injection molded or thermoformed food packaging products. The material meets the requirements of food-contact safety regulations and is intended as a drop-in solution to replace virgin PP in this thin-wall application without compromising processability or mechanical performance. “The recycled content in the Snap Pots is validated by mass balance according to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS program,” Sabic said.