Last week marked the official launch of an innovative initiative supported by Ecover, maker of non-toxic cleaning products, and Closed Loop Recycling (CLR), a UK operation that takes discarded soda and water bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and milk bottles made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and recycles them back into food-grade plastic for use in new packaging (rHDPE). The collaboration will use waste plastic collected from the seas around the UK by EU fishermen and recycled at Closed Loop’s Dagenham facility for reuse in new packaging.
The two companies are conducting trials to develop a new type of plastic using rHDPE; Ecover’s 100 percent renewable, reusable and recyclable “plantastic;” and the waste marine plastic that is collected as part of the project.
Ecover is developing the material with CLR because it is the only factory to recycle both PET and HDPE and has an excellent understanding of the challenges involved in developing new types of packaging using recycled content.
“It’s great that a large producer such as Ecover is taking such a futuristic view on packaging, showing true commitment to designing on shelf product with recycling in mind,” says Closed Loop Recycling CEO Chris Dow.
Both CLR and Ecover are supporting the Waste Free Oceans initiative (WFO), which aims to reduce floating marine debris on Europe’s coastlines by engaging Europe’s fishing community to bring floating marine debris back to land for recycling and sorting, as well as sending an important anti-litter message to consumers, highlighting the importance of recycling and the value of used plastic as a resource. The project aims to educate all stakeholders in tackling debris on Europe’s coastlines and waters by 2020. Similar initiatives with a range of corporate sponsors, NGOs, and local and European politicians have already been launched in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece and Austria.
Ecover’s involvement in the initiative is part of its “Message in our Bottle” campaign, also launched last week, which includes a pledge to deliver continual innovation in tackling issues linked to plastic packaging, and will see the company using an entirely new form of fully recyclable plastic in 2014 made from 100% sugarcane and marine plastic.
Ecover CEO Philip Malmberg says: “As manufacturers we’ve got to take responsibility for sustainability very seriously – to take real action on climate change and the damage done by our over-reliance on fossil fuels, creating ‘green’ products that deliver more than a nod to sustainability.”
Last fall, Ecover bought its U.S. competitor Method and became the world's largest green cleaning company.