Robinson – the manufacturer specialising in value-added custom packaging – has joined forces with NEXTLOOPP to deliver for the first time a supply chain model to close the loop on food-grade recycled polypropylene (rPP).
PP is the ultimate multi-functional, protective material – rigid, high strength, lightweight, versatile – a perfect plastic for packaging. In Europe, PP consumption accounts for 10 million tonnes per year with 40% used for consumer packaging. About 70% of this consumer packaging is for food packaging which typically gets recycled into non-food applications as currently there is no viable solution for the generation development of food-grade rPP material from mechanical recycling.
Our sustainability pledge and legislative targets for recycling and increasing recycled content in packaging will only be met if we make transformational changes and create a clear pathway to a circular PP model in which we are producing PP food packaging that includes sustainability sourced rPP derived from mechanically recycled food packaging. That is why NEXTLOOPP is so critical. Managed by leading environmental consultants Nextek, the consortium is a team of expert organisations across the PP and food supply chain, including Robinson.
Nextek Managing Director Professor Edward Kosior says:
“NEXTLOOPP shares the vision of our members to create a supply chain model for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of food-grade PP packaging. Our focus is on the efficient manufacturing of high-quality, food-grade rPP for use in a wide range of processes and packaging. We are delighted that Robinson has joined the project which will benefit from their technical knowledge and expertise in injection and blow moulded PP packaging”.
The objectives of the 2-year NEXTLOOPP project are: demonstration of innovative sorting technology; preparation of protocols for EFSA and US FDA; implementation of sorting requirements for packaging in the recycling stream; mechanical reprocessing facilities for rPP food-grade as raw material in packaging.
Robinson is a major user of PP and will be involved in trials and tests to ensure the recyclate produced meets the technical specifications and functional needs of packaging products and manufacturing processes.
Lubna Edwards, Sustainability and Marketing Director, Robinson says:
“This project is absolutely aligned with our goals and those of our customers for closed-loop solutions, as well as governmental circular economy targets. Demand for this high value recycled material will continue to rise as we continue to transition away from using virgin material. Much of our UK business depends upon PP and this project gives us the opportunity to tap into cutting edge technology, learn from industry partners and trial the material for use in our packaging. It is particularly ground-breaking in that we are working towards ensuring a secure, stable, and cost-effective supply of high-quality rPP while increasing consumer recycling and preventing the leakage of plastics into the sea or going to landfill”.