LDPE coffee pouch packaging offers upcycling opportunities
Each month, the Packaging Collective reveals the Inside Story from one of our members. This month, Stephanie Egee, Senior Consultant at Anthesis UK Ltd has selected her favourite packaging innovation.
UK-based private-label coffee sourcing, roasting and packing firm Lincoln & York is setting a good example for sustainable packaging in the coffee industry with its commitment to make all of its packaging recyclable by 2024. The sustainability strategy of the business centres around recyclable packaging using low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastics. The material can be upcycled into numerous new types of products and can also be recycled at kerbside collection in many places. The new packaging currently has a nine-month shelf life with the business undertaking on-going product testing with a view to extending this. Lincoln & York had looked at various sustainable options for its packaging formats before pushing forward with a recyclable strategy including compostable packaging, where they identified a lack of consumer understanding in where to compost and what ‘industrially compostable’ meant.
This product is an example of where innovation has increased recyclability by establishing a mono-material (mono-PE in this example, but film manufacturers also focus on mono-PP films). Its launch is timely given future regulations on single-use plastics and EPR changes from 2023, and current discussions around consistency of collections from householders for recycling and the potential inclusion of flexible packaging. It is one sign of the packaging sector’s rapid responses to the growing desire to reduce plastic waste and set targets for recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.
Across the supply chain, collaborative working is helping to develop a circular economy for flexible materials. Where this can be achieved without either increasing the carbon footprint of the packaging or reducing the product shelf life, it represents a win-win situation.
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