The company's long-term desire has always been to reduce virgin material levels in products, encouraging customers to embrace Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) content. To back up this desire, they continue to put solid and robust supply chains in place to support customer demand.
Since then, the firm has seen more and more customers appreciate the environmental benefits of recycled content in their packaging, with many taking levels beyond 10%, in many instances as high as 100%.
Joe Maynard, Spectra’s Managing Director, said, “One could argue, we have successfully achieved our original objective of actively encouraging our customers to take the recycled leap. However, we will continue to support and advise those customers looking to do the right thing”.
He added, “Although considered radical at the time, our mandatory approach was aimed at removing the onus from the customer, with us taking the lead as a responsible and supportive manufacturer”.
As widely reported, a new tax introduced by the UK Government will come into force in April 2022 to try and raise the minimum level of recycled content in plastic packaging to 30%. As an established champion of recycled plastics, Spectra supports the latest move with the rollout of the new PCR30 initiative.
PCR30 will see all new quoted projects include a minimum of 30% PCR as standard in all the company's HDPE and PET containers. The new initiative also considers additional masterbatch colourant content to ensure the pack still satisfies the regulatory minimum recycled content limit.
Any customers not wishing to include a minimum of 30% recycled content in their bottles will need to advise the company on their opt-out wishes; however, such opt-out arrangements will take into account the Government’s new levy.
Despite the Government’s best intentions, it is widely anticipated that feedstocks of recycled materials will come under pressure as everyone adjusts to the new legislation bringing new challenges to the industry.
People are all yet to see any fine details of the Government’s new Plastic Packaging Tax; however, a recent study revealed that significant numbers of businesses were not even aware of the imminent levy when asked.
Undoubtedly, there are several benefits to the Government’s new tax; however, there are also some potential challenges to consider.
For instance, consumers will need educating about responsible practices to support recycling, including drastically reducing current littering behaviours. Conversely, initial demand could also see the limited availability of recyclate. That said, despite some of the potential challenges, Spectra believes they should support any attempts by the Government to encourage the use of recycled materials.
Indeed, PCR provides several unquestionable benefits for brands looking to minimise their environmental impact.
For example, replacing virgin materials with recycled content can help the company move towards a circular economy instead of an environmentally harmful ‘take, make and waste’ linear model, where products can potentially end their lives in landfill sites or the environment. A circular approach helps redirect discarded, often single-use, items away from landfills to help close the loop.
PCR usage also helps lessen greenhouse gas emissions which are harmful to the environment. Plastic production processes typically incur lower greenhouse gas emissions when recycled feedstocks are used instead of virgin feedstocks. The reduction of CO2 levels is achievable because the systems used to produce those recycled feedstocks are less carbon-intensive than conventional raw material extraction processes.
There is no denying that increased consumer awareness has fueled public demand for recycled packaging, which, in itself, will provide real opportunities for brands to share their environmental values, build brand loyalty and change customer perception. By using recycled content in their packaging, brands can demonstrate voluntary responsibility around supply chain practices, showing genuine, responsible leadership.
Joe said, “Our original PCR10 initiative provided the perfect launchpad for brands looking to embrace recycled content, and we anticipate that PCR30 will further incentivise customers to ramp up their responsible packaging practices for the benefit of the environment”.