If one of the 21st century’s social missions is to get people to recycle more waste, the messages appear to be starting to get through – if my four-year-old daughter is anything to go by. Watching me discarding some waste food in the bin this month, she said: “Good idea Daddy putting it in the recycling bin. They can turn it into something new.”

From something new to something blue – well done France for winning the soccer World Cup by the way – and even something borrowed as fashionistas at schools and colleges in the UK county of Norfolk turned designers recently as part of Recycle for Norfolk’s ‘Putting Recycled Plastic on the Catwalk!’ campaign. Promoting recycling is essential at a time when a lack of clarity of what to recycle is rife, and not just in the UK.

To illustrate this problem further, two recycling organisations have developed a global definition governing the use of the term ‘recyclable’ as it relates to plastics packaging and products. Plastics Recycling Europe (PRE) and The Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) questioned the frequent use of the term ‘recyclable’ by companies without a defined reference point. As such, they said that under their definition, materials must demonstrate that they can be collected and sorted in sufficient quantities, must be compatible with existing industrial recycling processes, or will have to be available in sufficient quantities to justify new recycling processes.

Also engaging with the masses, a recycling initiative at the Wales Airshow last month gave consumers the chance to separate their expanded polystyrene trays and cups and PET bottles and do their bit for the environment.

Backed by an awareness-raising and communications programme, a quality trademark has been launched by Pack2Go Europe, the association of food and beverage service and convenience packaging manufacturers, for use directly on products.

Several recycling initiatives are currently under way in the UK, including a project to collect and recycle black plastics into new food-grade packaging. This involves Faerch Plast, waste management firm Viridor, and retailers Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Others include a collaboration between Austrian converter Alpla and Swiss firm Fromm in the area of PET bottle recycling, and a four-way polystyrene recycling partnership in France between environmental charity Citeo, oil and gas company Total, materials manufacturer Saint Gobain, and the National Union of Manufacturers of Dairy Products (Syndifrais).

A recycling industry report has identified 200,000 tonnes of unexploited PET installed capacity in Europe, which suggests that there is significant room for growth in the European PET recycling market, says Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE). While PRE calls for improved collections, a research project by Easicomp GmbH, the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, and the Institute for Applied Ecology, is expecting to make it possible to recover PET bottle waste and convert it into high-grade industrial applications.

In addition to its black plastics initiative, Faerch Plast, which has been owned by private equity firm Advent International for more than half a year, has acquired French thermoformer CGL Pack. This month’s deals don’t end there, as Carolina Color Corporation continued its acquisition spree with the purchase of Chroma Corporation for an undisclosed sum, and rigid plastics converter Consolidated Container Company acquired Canada’s Deltapac Packaging.

Meanwhile in Italy, packaging supplier The Marchesini Group completed the acquisition of Schmucker, a producer of stickpack packaging machinery, US-based Tekni-Plex purchased part of Oracle Packaging, and Pregis entered into a deal to acquire Free-flow Packaging International.

Bosch’s packaging division is up for sale after the company admitted that it needed to transform and focus its resources on core business operations.

As Russia brought down the curtain on its hosting of the soccer World Cup, Austrian masterbatch maker Gabriel-Chemie confirmed plans to build a 27,500sqm production facility in the country. Other companies building this month include CPS Technologies, which completed its 100,000sqft expansion in Alabama, USA, to cater for growing demand in pharmaceutical packaging, and industrial packaging producer Mauser, which built a new facility in North Wales, Pennsylvania.

On the flip side, more than 100 Greiner Group employees are likely to be affected by the closure of two production facilities in Austria and Germany.

 

And finally…

Coffee giant Starbucks has unveiled a redesigned plastic lid for its cold drinks as it prepares to phase out plastics straws globally by 2020. The polypropylene lid can be widely recycled and is part of the company’s drive to make its cups compostable or recyclable.

Starbucks’ familiar motto is ‘To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighbourhood at a time’. Now it’s one straw and one recyclable lid at a time.