By David Wilson, managing director, Vanden UK
Logistics companies may look at the headlines from the newly published Resources and Waste Strategy and think it is mainly about households, food waste, and packaging from manufacturers and retailers.
But there is quite a lot in there that will affect the logistics sector.
As a UK plastics recycler, with our own facility in Peterborough, we are clearly a user of logistics services to both bring in material and send the recycled polymers out to our manufacturing customers. But we also recycle many plastics that are used by logistics businesses when they come to the end of their life.
One of the key things in the document that will affect us and you is the requirement for 30% recycled content in packaging from 2022.
We use a lot of stretch and pallet wrap on our bagged material. By 2022, this will need to contain this 30% recycled content as currently outlined in the Strategy. I’m not sure if there is much stretch or pallet wrap on the market that currently contains any recycled content. The requirement for strength and durability will mean that the companies that produce this film will need to investigate sources of recycled polymer that meet their specification. It will also need extensive testing to ensure there is no drop in the protective qualities of the product.
There will also need to be more consideration of how the target for 30% recycled content will affect multi-use packaging such as pallets and containers. It could be that this form of packaging may still be perfectly suitable for reuse, but will be taken out of circulation to ensure it ends up as recycled content in a new product. This isn’t sustainable and sensible, so there may need to be a mechanism to promote reuse until the product is ready for recycling.
Vanden is particularly interested in the requirement for electronic tracking of waste material movements, both at home and abroad. This has the potential to drastically reduce illegal waste shipments, while also allowing for more effective use of recycled content in the supply chain.
This is where there will be opportunities for the expertise of the logistics sector in tracking goods and how that can be applied in tracking recycled materials. In particular, how material will be tracked at deep sea destinations will be a problem that will need to be solved.
A lot of the Resources and Waste Strategy still needs to be consulted on, but whatever part of the supply chain you are in, or how you service supply chains, this strategy is likely to affect you in some way.