Following World Recycling Day the idea of package circularity, and recycling, is high on the industry radar.

Over the years that I’ve been writing these ‘Simon Says’ posts, I would assume that sustainability has featured heavily in about half of them. This position of prominence is no coincidence. I care personally about the subject and I also have the great fortune to work in a group at BASF that brings really effective and sustainable solutions to the packaging market. I know that I’ve started many a sustainability-focused post with the phrase, ‘Sustainability is a broad and confusing subject’, and this is still the case. Do we care about bio-renewable, reusable, low carbon, recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable? The answer is invariably ‘yes’ or ‘all of the above’ and I suppose for each type of package one element of this mix fits better than others. There are a couple of these propositions that are a good fit for our Joncryl® Functional Packaging Coatings line, one that we’ve remained focused on in the last years has been recyclability.
World Recycling Day was recently observed on March 18th, a day that “was created in 2018 to help recognize, and celebrate, the importance recycling plays in preserving our precious primary resources and securing the future of our planet.” I like the use of the word ‘preserve’ in the description above because we’re often talking more about a package’s ‘end of life’ or it’s disposal. I’ve written before about recycling on the topic of resources in the past. The items we place into the recycling stream, particularly paper, is not waste…but a resource that has a financial and usable value. I like the concept of recycling because it relates to our ability to reuse and further the life of precious natural resources, and when we’re talking about recycling paper we’re also dealing with an infinitely bio-renewable resource. The global recycling landscape remains fragmented and regionally-focused. Some regions are implementing new standards while in others they remain status-quo. Our global organization does a great job in tracking the varying requirements placed onto paper-based consumer packaging and we’ve thankfully passed many recyclability standards across the globe with our Joncryl HPB line. In the formulation of effective and recyclable barrier coatings, those products are key enablers.
I had the chance to attend the recent Sustainability in Packaging US conference in Chicago in March and the breadth of industry hopes and dreams was on full display. From all corners of the industry, the attendees compared challenges and solutions over several days of valuable exchange. I’m always energized after attending industry events like Sustpack as the discussions are always forward-looking and aspirational, as if the finish line is just around the corner. History has shown that it will take us some time to address the challenges faced in the world of packaging, but based on the progress made in only these last 6 years since the inception of World Recycling Day, I feel hopeful that we’re moving in the right direction.
Let’s circle back soon,

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