Henkel joins initiative focused on packaging recycling

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Henkel joins initiative focused on packaging recycling

Related tags Recycling

Henkel has backed up its aims to increase packaging recycling as part of its core sustainability strategy by joining the New Plastics Economy Initiative (NPEC).

The NPEC is a three-year initiative that aims to build momentum towards creating a plastics system based on the ‘circular economy’ principle – which will enable used plastics to be collected and then reintegrated into another production process, repeatedly.

Ultimately the process aims to reuse the materials with the ultimate goal of minimizing the use of resources and reducing the overall impact on the environment.

First focus is packaging

Led by the Ellen MacArthur foundation, the NPEC involves some of the biggest players in the plastic industry, from material suppliers, to plastic manufacturers and some of the biggest consumer goods providers in the world, including Unilever, Coca Cola and Danone.

Henkel’s head of International Packaging Development, Dr. Thorsten Leopold, has spearheaded the company’s involvement in the initiative and believes that the company’s involvement will intersect with all of its business divisions.

The company’s involvement in the fast moving goods sector, where it is also a key player in personal care products, is probably the most obvious area of the business, but it is also involved in the manufacturing of adhesives as well as advanced technologies that are used for plastics manufacturing, including glue and functional coatings.

Sharing innovation to help drive the initiative

“Henkel is delighted to be part of the New Plastics Economy, and we’re looking forward to working with partners to drive innovations that make a big impact,”​ said Leopold,

When considering all of the company’s operations and involvement in packaging, Leopold added, “…we’re able to offer expertise from both perspectives, as an FMCG manufacturer and a supplier of adhesives and other technologies: Which gives our teams a uniquely broad understanding of the challenges and possible solutions related to packaging.”

The company says its “prevent reduce and reuse” philosophy has already led to numerous advances in eco-friendly packaging that have been initiated throughout the business, and now it is hoping to share some of this as part of its partnership with the NPCE.

Henkel’s pledge for 2020

As part of its commitment to the NPCE, Henkel says its key targets that are already in place for sustainable packaging will also serve to make a valuable contribution to the initiative:

  • Reduce the weight of packaging measured against net sales to 20 percent (base year 2010).
  • Increase the proportion of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in bottles to 33 percent in Europe, and the proportion of recycled aluminum in cans to 9 percent.
  • Reach more than 300 million consumers through more targeted information on recycling.

Henkel says that these initiatives are part of a sustainability plan it implemented from the year 2010 to  make its operations three times more efficient by 2030.

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