Across the globe, businesses have adopted circularity as a measure to offer sustainable solutions, as a company’s sustainability commitment is becoming a more vital part of business and production. This has been done not only to boost efficiency and bring down costs, but to address one of the biggest global problems we are facing now: our depleting reserves of raw resources.
In attaining sustainability and circularity, using a more circular business model and implementing a circular economy is an achievable way to make an impact on the sustainability of life on the planet, as well as preserving the Earth.
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) developed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), aimed at promoting sustainable development across the world. The SDGs cover everything from access to clean water and sanitation, to economic growth, infrastructure and development. The realisation of these goals lies in the last goal, Goal 17 – Partnerships for the Goals.
The UN explains that “A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the centre, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.” Goal 17 places and identifies the significance everyone – public and private sector – plays in achieving the goals.
As part of the Visionscape Group, we – as a body – have committed to doing business responsibly, committing to 11 out of the 17 SDGs and operating within a circular economy. At Vision Petlon Polymers (VPP), we believe Goal 17 to be a vital target in order to achieve our commitment towards responsible consumption and production – Goal 12 – further attaining circularity.
Today, the industrial and consumer products manufacturing industries are moving at a fast pace, with advancements and progress occurring every day. With the addition of consumer behaviour changing across the world, this has left to a rise in demand in consumer products, resulting in an increase in waste generation globally, further leading to a series of environmental issues.
Highlighted in Servicing Municipalities, Promoting Recycling, and Closing the Loop, a circular economy ensures businesses don’t just recycle, but maintain ownership of their manufactured products throughout the product lifecycle, allowing the pattern to go from ‘take, make, dispose’ to ‘make, use, return’ – making the goods of today the products of tomorrow.
Goal 17 has shown the importance of partnering with our clients and suppliers, not just because working with partners speeds up a process to a common goal, but it has enabled us as a business and recyclers to standardise our processes, ensuring steady post-consumer and recovered feedstock, while also providing sustainable solutions for our clients.
Closing the Loop with Vision Petlon Polymers
At VPP, one of our focuses is working alongside our clients. From our toll compounding services, to our bespoke solutions, we see our clients as partners, allowing us not only to provide a facility and equipment, but allowing to share resources, expertise, processes, as well as developing custom processes to meet unique requirements.
The work we have done with our plastic manufacturing partners has enabled us to develop a model focused on standardising our recycling processes, which have helped us develop circularity with our partners, clients and suppliers.
The diagram illustrates how we have implemented a circular economy within our services, as we strive towards operating a truly sustainable business. We are working with as many recycling partners as possible, where we are supplied post-consumer use products that have been processed and recovered for reuse and recycling.
The diagram shows the lifecycle of a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) toner cartridge made from recovered post-consumer resins (PCR) once it goes through our circular model. Illustrated in the diagram, the rejected and difficult polymer to handle bottles and used toner cartridges are then pelletised and taken through an extrusion process to make recycled PET fibre, which can be used in the carpet manufacturing. Further by-products of the PET fibre are subsequently used in a wide range of applications, such as automotive assembly.
For over six years, VPP has been operating a closed loop recovery process with one of our largest clients, Ricoh Products UK Ltd. Not only are the original toner cartridges produced from a compounded post-use bottle source, but all internal production waste and returned toner cartridges are returned to VPP for further processing. VPP has heavily supported Ricoh in the UK to achieve their Zero to Landfill policy.
This closed loop recovery process is being used as a benchmark for boosting resource management and recycling solutions, ensuring we at VPP offer a sustainable feedstock for various industrial and consumer applications across the world.
As the process is still being developed, and as we advance our systems on an ongoing basis, we aim to improve post product life solutions, allowing us to keep the loop going, in order to achieve zero waste. With time, and the constant advancement of models like this, we envision a world where virgin polymer is complemented with a range of recovered materials.
Partnerships for the Earth
Our commitment to operating a sustainable business, in line with the SDGs, is found in the backbone of our parent group, Visionscape. It is important to understand the negative effects today’s consumption and disposal habits have on the Earth. Making a difference isn’t just the responsibility of the consumer, and it is important we start to solve this problem as manufacturers.
The success of our standardised recycling system has proven effective in resource management and as an environmentally friendly solution, addressing a series of environmental issues, from greenhouse gasses to ocean pollution, currently plaguing the world today.
Closing the loop with VPP encourages and promotes effective partnerships, and with sustainable processes such as our standardised recycling process, we have designed a system that is built on experience and resources within the partnering organisations.
Closing the loop and achieving circularity with VPP also allows industrial and consumer application manufacturers to enhance participation towards sustainable development by providing a multi-stakeholder partnership designed to mobilise and share resources, from knowledge and expertise to technology and financials, further supporting the achievement of the SDGs.