Black plastic circular economy is sustainable, proves UK collaboration

636658565599737914packaging prepared foods.jpg

29 Jun 2018 --- Innovative UK packaging supplier Faerch Plast has been working collaboratively with Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s and leading UK waste re-processor Viridor to convert recycled black plastic into new food grade packaging. The result is a circular economy solution to a previously challenging material, which will initially see 120 tons of black plastic (eight million items) recycled each month starting in July, the company claims.

The project has proved to be a commercial success and has the potential to be extended across the UK: the more plastic collected, the more there is made available to be recycled and put back into the circular economy. Faerch Plast provides the packaging solution to this project with the retailers creating the sustained demand for the recycled material.

From next month, Viridor will start putting this material through the new process, adding black plastic to the colored plastic stream already recycled, and it will be used in new packaging for M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco products.

The project is welcomed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove: “This global leading scheme has the potential to mean the UK exports less of its waste, could divert huge amounts of plastic away from landfill and prevent virgin plastic entering the market in the first place.”

UK Plastics Pact and the circular economy
WRAP announced in April 2017 that black plastics were not being recycled by local authorities but were instead being sent to landfill.

Faerch Plast sees the collaboration with major retailers and Viridor as evidence of the goals of the UK Plastics Pact – of which the company was a founding signatory – being put into action to achieve the real change the public had been calling for.

Click to Enlarge
The Circular Plastics Economy, as defined by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The UK Plastics Pact, led by WRAP, is aligned with and supporting The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global initiative. It is a collaborative initiative that aims to create a circular economy for plastics and ensure that plastics do not end up polluting the environment.

The circular economy concept as defined by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is based around stimulating innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging. It aims to build a stronger recycling system where the industry takes more responsibility for its own waste while ensuring that plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and made into new products and packaging.

Andrew Osborne-Smith, Regional CEO of Faerch Plast UK & Ireland says: “We are very proud to be part of the WRAP UK Plastics Pact. We see this as an extremely positive step forward and confirms our alignment with the European circular economy.”

“Faerch Plast is one of the leading manufacturers of recyclable plastic packaging for the food industry and through our support of the UK Plastics Pact we can continue our long-standing policy of helping to reduce the environmental impact through product innovation and material development,” he says.

This month, meat-free food producer Quorn announced plans to remove 297 tons of non-recyclable black plastic from its supply chain. The move comes as part of the brand’s ambitions to achieve 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. Quorn claims that their elimination of black plastics is a UK first from a major food brand and one that will help reinforce their identity as a leader in sustainable nutrition.

By Joshua Poole

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst's sister website, PackagingInsights.

To contact our editorial team please email us at


Polyol ambitions: Sunar Misir invests in sorbitol and maltitol capacity

24 Sep 2018 Sunar Misir plans to reach an installed capacity ...


Plant-based protein growth: Hydrosol’s new stabilizing systems for dairy alternatives

24 Sep 2018 Hydrosol is tapping in the growing demand for ...


Water lentils: Parabel’s tiny plants with huge potential, LENTEIN’s disruptive promise

24 Sep 2018 There is much debate in the food industry that ...


Stevia leaf marketing intensifies amid North and Latin American NPD boom

21 Sep 2018 Stevia application continues to grow in food and ...