Author Archives: Pranay Jain

EcoBlue’s 3D Pure rPET gets LNO from US FDA

EcoBlue’s 3D Pure rPET range includes high IV rPET which is suitable for PET Bottle application and Amorphous rPET that is suitable for PET Film and Polyester Filament applications. The LNO has been given for the following use conditions:

  • 3D Pure Bottle Grade rPET (High IV): Can be used at levels up to 100% recycled content in the manufacture of articles for contact with all food types under Conditions of Use (COU) B through H.
  • 3D Pure Regular rPET (Amorphous): Can be used at levels up to 100% recycled content in the manufacture of articles for contact with all food types under Conditions of Use (COU) C through G.

We are the first recycling company in Thailand with U.S. FDA approval. 3D Pure rPET is a perfect solution the Consumer Product and Apparel companies to meet their sustainability pledges!

EcoBlue @ Workshop on Plastics Circularity: Opportunities and Barriers for the Private Sector organized by The Pollution Control Department of Thailand and the World Bank

EcoBlue’s Managing Director, Mr. Pranay Jain took part in a consultation workshop on Plastics Circularity: Opportunities and Barriers for the Private Sector organized by The Pollution Control Department of Thailand and the World Bank. The findings from the workshop would be used to inform a market study on plastics circularity, opportunities and barriers in Thailand, a study commissioned by the World Bank. GA Circular has been engaged to conduct the market study and had facilitated the consultation workshop in Bangkok on 28th February, 2020.

At this workshop, Pranay made a presentation on Recycling – Challenges and Solutions. He spoke about how only about 12% of the 300 million tons of plastics being used gets recycled at a global level. Thailand has a plastic production about 10 million tons with a recycling rate of about 5%.

Recycling has been identified as the backbone of a sustainable economy. However, currently the demand for recycled plastics is limited to bottles and apparels which do not improve the overall recycling rates.

The recycling rates have been declining in the recent 6 months due to the decline in oil prices and virgin resin prices making recycling not an economically lucrative activity. Apart from economic challenges, recycling is facing many challenges from other fronts like government policies that are deterrent for recycling industry and poorly designed packaging which reduces the output of recycling. Use of PVC labels, printing on bottles and cups, PP cups with PET Caps, full body labels, pumps etc. are some examples of poorly designed packaging which reduces the recyclability of the same. Design for recyclability has to be a key focus area for packaging industry!

A drop in recycling rate means more and more plastic waste is being land filled, littered or reaching our oceans. Only voluntary measures cannot bring about the desired change. A policy framework needs to be put in place. For example, the 10 million tons of pledge for recycled content by EU is prompting companies to make commitments that can be measured. Studies have shown that Extended Producer Responsibility & Landfill restrictions are the most effective measures for improving the recycling rates.

We have to work towards creating an environment where recycling can thrive. It would need:

  • Design for recycling guidelines
  • Creating a market for recycled polymers so that recycled plastics can survive even when the virgin prices are low
  • Permit use of recycled materials in food contact applications
  • Conduct risk assessment studies for single use plastics to categorize and prioritize actions to be taken
  •  Redefine BOI policies to include washing etc as a promoted activity.

Ecoblue’s 3D-Pure rPET resin made from Post-Consumer PET waste material is now Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified!

We are proud to share that our 3D-Pure rPET resin grades with source material of Post-Consumer PET Bottle waste are now Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified. A GRS certification indicates that an organization follows responsible social, environmental and chemical practices in production.

This is EcoBlue’s commitment towards sustainability and our environment by not only providing high quality rPET that can replace virgin PET but also ensuring that the material is produced in safe and equitable working conditions with no harmful impact of production to people and the environment. EcoBlue’s rPET has been established for use in producing 90% rPET content biaxially-oriented films and is suitable for use in filament yarn.

The Global Recycled Standard is a holistic certification for products with recycled content. The desired effect of the GRS is to provide brands with a tool for more accurate labeling, to encourage innovation in the use of reclaimed materials, to establish more transparency in the supply chain, and to provide better information to consumers. GRS certification is administered by the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit dedicated to driving changes in sourcing and manufacturing and ultimately reducing the textile industry’s impact on the world’s water, soil, air, and people.

GRS certification ensures that when companies like us claim that we are sustainable, it is no false claim!

EcoBlue emphasizes on Liner recycling at The Global Release Liner Industry Conference and Exhibition, 2019 at Charlotte, USA.

The Global Release Liner Industry Conference and Exhibition took place in Charlotte, NC, USA on 1- 3 May 2019. The theme of the conference was “Collaborating Across The Value Chain”.  EcoBlue’s Managing Director, Mr. Pranay Jain, spoke on the topic “Moving Towards Sustainable PET Liners” and participated in a panel discussion regarding Sustainability in the Liner industry.

Labels form an intergral part of packaging. However, from a sustainability perspective they not only hinder the recycling process of containers but also generate more waste during the process of production in their supply chain than the final end-product. At this point of time, almost all the filmic liner waste is diverted to landfill. In order to make the label sustainable, it is important to give the liner a proper end-of-life solution by recycling. EcoBlue would like to bring together the Label supply chain to ensure that the Liner waste is collected and recycled in a responsible manner.  EcoBlue’s CircuLiner Recycling Program offers such a solution for recycling the PET Liner waste and thereby promoting circular economy. As an industry, we also need to push for incorporating recycled content in the PET Liners which has been successfully proven now.

EcoBlue’s CircuLiner Program: Promoting a Circular Economy

A number of interactive expert panel discussions also took place throughout the conference. Mr. Pranay Jain participated in the panel discussion:  The Good, The Bad and The Opportunity. The central essence of this discussion was the importance of bringing together all stakeholders involved in the Label supply chain – Film producers, Label Stock companies, Label Producers, Brand Owners and Recyclers to be committed to ensure that the Liner Waste is collected and recycled in a responsible manner.

Avery Dennison Collaborates with EcoBlue to Divert PET Label Liner Waste from Landfills

Global materials science and manufacturing company, Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) announces the extension of its liner recycling program to include polyethylene terephthalate (PET) label liners through its collaboration with EcoBlue Limited, a Thailand-based company that specialises in recycling PET label liner to create recycled PET (rPET) materials for use in other polyester applications.

“The Avery Dennison PET liner recycling program is a much-needed solution to the issue of liner  waste,” said Johnny Gao, Senior Director and General Manager, Label and Graphic Materials, Avery Dennison ASEAN. “Our goal is to help customers reduce waste in  safe, sustainable, and ethical manner. In collaboration with EcoBlue, converters and brand owners have an easy way to collect PET liner waste and transform it into various recycled PET products.”

“Labels, a critical aspect of packaging, generate liner waste during the process of application. With the launch of our CircuLiner program, our endeavour has been to bring the PET Liner into the circular economy.  The goal of our CircuLiner program is to give a second life to PET liner waste that would otherwise wind up in a landfill or an incinerator. We are excited to partner with a sustainability-minded company like Avery Dennison to reach converters and brands that are interested in circular use for their packaging materials,”  said Pranay Jain, Managing Director, EcoBlue Limited.

This Avery Dennison PET liner recycling program, powered by EcoBue, will begin in Thailand with an aim to expand across the South Asia Pacific region in the future. “This program is a natural extension of our pioneering efforts to deliver label materials that can elevate brands, improve productivity, and help products become more sustainable,” said Marcel Cote, Strategic Marketing Director, Avery Dennison, South Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.

UPM Raflatac partners with EcoBlue Limited for expanding its RafCycle™ recycling solution to Thailand

UPM Raflatac, the global leader in sustainable pressure sensitive labeling solutions, is pleased to announce that its RafCycle recycling solution is now also available in Thailand. RafCycle services were launched in Bangkok on November 16, 2018 during an end-user event with an announcement of EcoBlue Limited being the first RafCycle partner in the area.

 

EcoBlue Limited gives a new life to PET label liner waste at its recycling facility in Rayong, Thailand, that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. The PET liner waste is collected from RafCycle partners and recycled into new materials providing numerous benefits to printers, packers, brand-owners, and, of course, the environment. Turning waste into a resource is a key concept in the circular economy and an important part of UPM Raflatac’s approach to labeling a smarter future beyond fossils.

“The goal of 100% recyclable packaging set out by the consumer product companies requires us to find solutions for waste materials beyond PET bottles. Our CircuLiner Program intends to achieve this by providing a recycling solution for the PET liner waste. We are excited about partnering with an environmentally conscious organization like UPM Raflatac and hope to grow this program through RafCycle,” says Pranay Jain, Managing Director, EcoBlue Limited.  

 

“We are delighted to be able to introduce RafCycle in Thailand in partnership with Ecoblue. Our local team of experts can offer our customers and brands a range of sustainable products and services that will deliver benefits in the local market and beyond,” says Tanarrato Tanaka, Country Manager, Thailand, UPM Raflatac.

“Labels are everywhere and an integral part of packaging. In expanding our RafCycle program to Thailand, we want to encourage brands to work with us to achieve their recycling targets and to make the plastics economy truly circular. Our ambition is to expand the RafCycle solution into other South East Asian markets in due course,” says Robert Taylor, Sustainability Director, UPM Raflatac.

UPM Raflatac recently signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment among 250 organisations including many of the world’s largest packaging producers, brands, retailers and recyclers, as well as governments and NGOs. One of UPM Raflatac’s commitments is to grow the RafCycle recycling programme to enable all end-users to return their label liners. The Global Commitment and its vision for a circular economy for plastic is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment.

For more information about UPM Raflatac’s RafCycle concept, visit www.RafCycle.com.

       

EcoBlue is a member of CEFLEX

EcoBlue is proud to be part of CEFLEX, European consortium of companies representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging.

CEFLEX is the collaborative project of a European consortium of companies representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging. Project CEFLEX has the ambition to make flexible packaging even more relevant to the circular economy by advancing better system design solutions which result from the value chain collaboration of the consortium. The CEFLEX Project will work towards the development of a collection, sorting and reprocessing infrastructure for post-consumer flexible packaging across Europe by 2025. This will be enabled by the development and application of robust Design Guidelines for both flexible packaging and the End of Cycle infrastructure to collect, sort and recycle it, due for completion by 2020.

https://ceflex.eu/

Plastic Packaging waste: Corporates and Government must work together to find solutions

Plastic Packaging waste: Corporates and Government must work together to find solutions

Most discussions around plastic waste tend to be gloomy, painting a bleak scenario with pictures of mountains of waste, marine litter and more recently, presence of microplastics in food and water. In the last few months, we have seen rays of hope with large international brands pledging to make all packaging material recyclable by 2025. Brands like Nestle, Unilever, Coca Cola, Walmart, Pepsi, Mars, Danone, Amcor and Marks & Spencer have all come out with similar pledges to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Over the last one year, Unilever announced investments in Creasolv and a partnership with Ioniqa, with intent to develop technologies which can go on to improve the recyclability of their packaging waste. Coca Cola over the last decade or so has made investments in PET recycling facilities with an objective of using recycled content in their own bottles. Coca Cola has been a champion to push for recycled content as a part of their packaging material specification for several of its brands. Several other brands have followed suit to incorporate recycled PET into their product specifications as well. The story of PET bottle recycling is well communicated and most people are aware of how bottles can be converted into products like polyester fiber for pillows, carpets, textiles and even back into bottles.

 

So at a time when we can’t ignore the alarm bells anymore about the impact of plastic packaging materials on our environment, these pledges announced by the corporates give us reassurance that the ‘Creators of Consumerism’ are acknowledging their role in this and are fully committed to taking steps that will help packaging material recyclable. But are these pledges enough? What do they actually imply? Will they be able to make an impact and will they lead to the desired outcome? These are a few questions that need to be evaluated…

 

When we look at the pledges more closely, it is to make their packaging materials recyclable. To achieve this, brand owners are working towards design options which would make the materials technically recyclable with acceptable performance. How this would result in achieving recycling on the ground is something that has not yet been addressed by the brand owners. For instance, plastic bags are the most easily recyclable material but in spite of that their recycling rate is perhaps in early single digits. The only explanation for this is that there is a lack of sufficient economic incentive to justify such business activity.

 

The scale of the problem is enormous

In order to understand the magnitude of the problem and the potential impact of the solutions one must approach the issue in an objective manner. Packaging comprises about 40% of the total plastic usage of 322 million tonnes in 2015. It has the distinction of being the largest component of ‘single use’ plastics. While different data sources point to different numbers, just about 14% of the plastic packaging is collected and recycled. Only about 40% of the 20 million tonnes of PET bottles are recycled into products. If we include all the other forms of polyester, the base polymer which is also used to make textile fabrics and films, the recycling rate would then fall drastically to about 13%. And this is the story of one of the most desirable materials for recycling, where there is a market based economic incentive to collect, wash and melt the waste and make new products like fiber. The story for the undesirable packaging materials like plastic bags, bright printed packets of potato chips with multi-layered films is quite different. There is dearth of commercial units for recycling such materials. This is due to lack of economic benefit for carrying out such an activity and an absence of proven recycling technologies which can handle such materials.

Government rightly spearheading the movement but needs to draw up a long term sustainable plan

The good intent of the brand owners cannot be questioned. However, the pledges seem to have been prompted by the European Commission, who has invited the private sector to take up substantive pledges prior to considering regulatory action. What this highlights is that Government action on the policy front can guide the industry to common goals and show a path to the industry as well. With the onus on them, the brand owners are now pushing the converters, companies which supply the packaging materials to them, to find such recyclable materials. However, the converters don’t have any other place to go back to as their suppliers are the virgin resin producers, the large petrochemical giants who have refineries to run and would not like any competition from recycled materials. Hence, simply setting a direction is not enough!

 

Such issues are best addressed through independent scientific and economic study which is followed by policy directives. Governments across the globe have been working for some time on formulating policies to help achieve the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In 2015, the European Commission had setup a plastic packaging recycling target of 55% to be achieved by 2025 and to achieve this they would like to see 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics being used in the EU alone. With this intent, they formed programs for Extended Producer Responsibility, packaging design improvement and to drive innovation and investment in a circular economy. European Food Safety Authority and US Food and Drug Administration have clear standards permitting the use of recycled content even in direct food contact products like water bottles.

 

On the other hand, the policy action in developing countries is inadequate and not comprehensive. Unfortunately in these countries, the policy-makers have a tendency to only focus on end-of-life of plastic waste since that is a direct responsibility of the municipalities and other local bodies. In an effort to wish away its responsibility, plastic waste- its collection and recycling has been pushed back to the waste generators. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) cannot be left as wishful thinking, for a system to be devised and implemented independently by the industry. Targets have to be set and defined for the collection of waste and there is an imperative need for a mechanism for EPR to be proposed by the Governments which is uniform, measurable and auditable.

Independent scientific studies are the need of the hour. Plastic packaging usage is a subject which needs to be reviewed comprehensively along with conducting in-depth life cycle analysis studies of not just plastic but also alternate packaging materials. It should not be viewed solely based on its contribution to solid waste.

 

To bring about an impactful change, a lot more commitment is required from all stakeholders involved

We would like the brand owners to be a little more ambitious to come out there and commit to use of recycled content in their supply chain so that demand for recycled polymers is created. They need to commit to setting recycling target of say 50% of the packaging material that they place on the market. It would go on to address the financial gaps in collection and recycling of the waste. It is time that the brand owners let the buyer beware of the after-life effects created by the plastic waste in line with the principles of tobacco industry. Let the consumers make an informed choice. And as consumers we must do our bit by collecting and sorting of waste. More importantly, we should be aware of the effects of our action and we should demand a change in the way the products are served to us.

 

Author: Pranay Jain, Managing Director, EcoBlue Ltd.

Sustainability for Flexible Packaging – Our Views

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability calls for us to maintain a balance between environmental, social equity and economic needs. To promote the concept of looking at things in a holistic manner, sustainability is associated with blue colour, the colour of our planet.

Benefits of Flexible Packaging

Flexible packaging is often the target of environmentalists due to concerns with its end-of-life use. However, one must not ignore that flexible packaging is by far the most efficient form of packaging for most categories due to its light weight and ability to increase the life of the material packed. Light-weighting ensures that the least amount of energy is used in packaging and shipping of a product and at the same time the least amount of waste is generated after-use. Any alternative material with a lower carbon footprint, must not result in a reduction in the shelf-life of the products packaged in it else the losses would be far greater than the benefits achieved by changing the packaging material.

What happens to Flexible Packaging waste post-use?

Most often, flexible packaging waste ends up either in dump yards or landfill sites. In lesser developed countries, since this form of waste does not carry any economic value, there is no incentive for the rag-pickers to collect this material and hence it adds to the street litter which has a negative impact through pollution of water bodies & underground water, blockage of drainage systems, leaching and causing animal deaths by ingestion.

Our views on Flexible Packaging waste

In our perspective, if we are able to improve upon the end-of-life solutions for flexible packaging materials, we would have a truly sustainable medium for bringing food and other products from the producers to the hands of the consumers. This can come about through the development of technologies which are able to handle highly contaminated, light weight mixed plastic waste. This has to be coupled with initiatives to provide an economic incentive for the collection of such waste, which can only be sustained through Extended Producer Responsibility.

The existing technologies are mostly focusing upon waste-to-energy or plastics-to-fuel. The environmental impact of these and the overall effectiveness is subject to debate.

Eco Blue’s endeavour is to commercially develop technologies which help reduce the negative impact of flexible packaging waste.

 

Our views on Bio-Plastics and Biodegradable Plastics

A lot of resources have also been deployed in the development of biodegradable films for flexible packaging. EcoBlue does not endorse these products in their current form for use in laminates. Their biodegradability is subject to environment conditions which in most cases are not available. Bio-plastics, or plastics made from an organic source, compete with farming resources which could be used in growing food products, that may or may not be biodegradable in nature.