Stakeholders advocate innovative recycling in consumer industries

Recycling

With consumption and waste disposal patterns threatening sustainable development, large consumer goods companies that touch the lives of billions of people have been charged to promote conversations, influence attitudes, change behaviours and provide solutions by innovating on their recycling programmes.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), business as usual is no longer enough as brands must make an effort to become a force for change, a measure that is imperative for business survival.

With many states in Nigeria facing challenges with waste disposal, the Food & Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) had called on various sectors of the economy to rise to the challenge of setting up sector specific platforms to drive the recovery and recycling of waste items in their respective packaging streams to ensure the success of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy of the Federal Government.

The WEF noted that the world is already seeing the effects of excessive consumption, adding that economic losses related to extreme weather have increased by 86% to $129 billion over the last 10 years, necessitating new business models that support resource-efficient solutions.

To make this happen, we need to partner across industries, the WEF stated.

“Even basic resources like water are under threat. By 2030, the global population is projected to need 40% more water than the planet can sustainably supply.

“Every resource we use following this day is borrowed from future generations. Based on current consumption patterns, we will soon need three times the amount of natural resources. That means three more planets,” it explained.

The WEF noted that many brands have already created groundbreaking “circular” solutions, in which resources are reused at the end of their life, rather than disposed of.

“Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced the first-ever fully recyclable shampoo bottle made from recycled beach plastic at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos. Produced in collaboration with recycling company TerraCycle and waste management firm Suez, the bottle brought an industry innovation to market. It is leading the way in the conversion of packaging to Post-Consumer Recyclate (PCR).

“Collaboration by players across the value chain made the bottle possible. P&G’s retailer partner Carrefour helped engage shoppers at the point of sale, raising awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean and the role that people can play by recycling. The initiative won a UN Momentum for Change Award.

“The world’s first industrial-scale plant capable of recycling virtually 100% of used absorbent hygiene products, such as baby diapers and sanitary towels, was launched in Italy in October 2017. Its technology was developed and patented by Fater S.p.A, a joint venture set up by P&G.

“The plant takes used diapers out of landfill and transforms them into secondary raw materials such as plastic, cellulose and absorbing material. These new secondary raw materials are high-quality and can be used in many applications. One tonne of AHP waste, after being separated from human waste, yields around 150kg of cellulose, 75kg of mixed plastic and 75kg of absorbing material. These can be used in new products and processes such as school desks, biofuels and gardening equipment.

“This example of how industry can lead environmental sustainability won the European Commission “Circular Economy Champion” prize for Fater, as well as an EMBRACED grant. (The latter stands for Establishing a Multi-purpose Biorefinery for the Recycling of the organic content of AHP waste in Circular Economy Domain.)”, it added.

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WEFWorld Economic Forum
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