Every time a shopper come across a plastic packed product in the supermarket aisle, they are troubled by the same questions and their conscience is stirred. There are so many truths and myths about the sustainability of some materials and we all –both consumers and manufacturers– have a responsibility, but we cannot forget that respecting the environment, like many other matters, is also a political issue.
This March, it was released that Spain has joined the European Plastics Pact, an international agreement that, in addition to shedding light on the use of this type of product, will help make it really become part of a circular economy that protects our environment.
Twelve countries are already part of the initiative (including France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Portugal and Finland), which aims to reduce the environmental impact of unrecycled waste and encourage innovation in the sector so that new recycling and manufacturing systems are developed. The Pact’s importance could be a turning point for the market and take us a step further in plastic and packaging treatment.
The European Plastics Pact sets out four goals by 2025:
Experts are not at all hesitant about the issue and state that “We shouldn’t blame plastic per se, just as we shouldn’t blame steel or paper. A general lack of awareness is to blame.” It depends on how consumers use products and recycling them is what can really make a change. The manufacturing sector already has the materials available, such as wrappers, film, resources, certificates and obligations to ensure that plastic is not the problem and consumers have the information to hand and are aware of the recycling options to them. When there is enough collective awareness, we will observe how the plastic pollution problem starts to remedy itself.
These types of political initiatives gradually become part of legislation and the resources that will help achieve this change. At IBG, we have a strict corporate social responsibility policy, which is naturally connected with our environmental awareness.
Before this pact existed, we already recycled 100% of our plastic waste and employed mineral-based additives that reduce our CO2 emissions. We continue to research new materials and processes that are more fitting with the circular economy that the world needs. Our plants and machines are examined in line with exhaustive energy efficiency audits and the environment has been part of our plans since we founded our business 30 years ago. Fruit of such is our project Regenerados Plásticos Andaluces, a registered member of the Spanish Association of Plastic Recyclers (ANARPLA) and the European Association of Plastics Recyclers (EUPR), through which we recover and transform 700 tonnes of waste each month, giving it a new lease of life.
The European Plastics Pact is part of a global network involving similar initiatives from South Africa to Chile, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). In Europe, France and Holland started the initiative and the European Commission participates as an observer to the Pact.
You can download the full original pact here.