We are in the age of the plastics crisis, and from consumers to legislators, there is a rapidly increasing demand to act now. Despite this, and aside from all the recent media attention, trends have shown that plastic packaging demand isn’t slowing down. For example, according to the German industry association, IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen, Germany is expecting a 5.1% growth in its plastics packaging market value to €15.5bn this year, with films, bottles and closures leading this growth. And according to CNBC, only an estimated 22% of UK businesses are trying to create value from products that are returned for reusing, recycling and refurbishing.
It is clear that there is still a demand to service, however, the big question is “What is being done to alleviate environmental related problems?”
As part of the Visionscape Group, we – as a body – have committed to doing business responsibly, championing a Circular Economy across the Group.
So, what does this mean?
To understand this is to understand the traditional business model of ‘take, make, dispose’, a system relying on natural resources such as fossil fuels. Resources that we have been aware of for at least a few decades are finite and have resulted in problematic waste generation. Traditionally, this really didn’t harm us, or at least we did not see the harm. However, today, our consumption patterns across the globe have changed. Across the developed world, products are more disposable and short term, due to rapidly changing – or advancing – fast paced trends and technology development. In the developing world, there is a rise of the middle class and people growing out of poverty at a very fast rate due to a population boom, and with this, their consumption patterns, which businesses are exploiting to their own ends.
These changes of consumption have led to a waste surplus, and what we are seeing now is that this is not long-term, as it has resulted in a negative impact on the planet. From ocean plastics detrimentally affecting marine life and the actual future of the earth, to soil contamination from toxic waste seeping into the earth from land dumps across the world, to the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, where a significant amount comes from waste and manufacturing, resulting in global warming – the issues seem to be endless.
Now, the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue across the world is, “How do we solve this?”
Think of this – what if you never had to buy the natural resources for your manufacturing again? Or what if you never have to buy the product again, and in a sort of way, you are only leasing it? The process where manufacturers and retailers remain the owners of the products, like you lease a car or an apartment – it is already done in the automobile and mobile phone industries.
It is about changing our way of thinking and consuming. It’s about innovative thinking and thinking differently and this is where the performance based Circular Economy comes in.
So, what exactly is a Circular Economy?
Circular Economy is also known as ‘Re-thinking Progress’. The 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’. A system that makes the goods of today the products of tomorrow, not only has environmental benefits, but economical benefits as well. This concept was adopted by the European Union in 2015, aiming to make supply chains more circular, targeting consumption, manufacturing, production, repair, and waste management.
Our two-dimensional approach:
As experts in engineering solutions for the plastics packaging, we work with an array of substances for our blending component and the development of our high-quality polyethylene products used to make films, bags, sacks, sheets and tubing. To achieve a Circular Economy, we have adapted the ‘make, use, return’ pattern into our everyday business by working with other partners to acquire recycled polymers, as well as using our own in-house waste and recycled material for our manufacturing processes. Our refuse sacks meet environmental regulations and contributes to reducing our customers carbon footprint by providing products made from up to 90% recycled polymers, and 50% for our high-performance waste sacks range.
We are proud to service municipalities by adopting a two-dimensional approach to tackling these issues, thereby closing the loop. As the world is currently focusing on effective waste management practices, we are providing municipalities and local authorities – as well as large-scale businesses – with a customisable range of high-quality bin liners, refuse sacks, and recycling sacks for the collection process of the waste management value chain, servicing both the waste management industry and the recycling industry.