Enval, a UK-based recycling organisation, has put the world’s largest FMCG companies on notice for their inaction as the global problem of plastic aluminium laminate waste grows.
Enval CEO Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox has sent an open letter to the CEOs of companies that benefit from laminate packaging, including Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé Mars, Colgate, Campbell’s, GSK and Hain-Celestial, calling on them to support efforts to process post-consumer waste and investment in new processing capacity.
“We believe the time for complacency is over,” he said. “FMCG brands are using laminate packaging because of its exceptional characteristics and cost and environmental benefits, yet the fact remains that more than 10 billion pouches, tubes and sachets end up being thrown away in the UK alone. This is inexcusable now that we have an environmentally sustainable and economically viable solution.”
Enval claims to be responsible for the world’s only solution for recycling laminates such as food pouches, pet food pouches, toothpaste tubes, and sachets. To process these types of waste, the organisation has developed a commercial-scale plant that uses a microwave heating method to recover the aluminium into reusable ingots and process the plastic into reclaimed oil.
“Consumers are buying laminate packaging in good faith – often either thinking it can be recycled or because there’s no other choice,” Dr Ludlow-Palafox said. “Big brands have reaped the benefits of advancements in packaging technology while delivering no certainty to consumers.
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“The problem of single-use laminates dwarfs that of coffee cups. Brands and regulators now need to put their money where their mouth is and ensure that laminates can be genuinely reprocessed and these materials brought into a circular economy that benefits both the market and the planet.”