Flexible packaging material suppliers, brand owners, organizations and other industry leaders have announced a collaboration that seeks to research the recovery process of packaging that ends up in a landfill. This research will be crucial to help bridge the gap between the recovery process and increase the amount of materials that can be recovered.
The first phase of research will be carried out by Resource Recycling Systems, which created the testing method. This initial stage will test the baseline of the existing recovery systems used in recovery centers. They will introduce a mix of flexible packaging to single stream recyclables, and then put through the systems sorters. The amount of flexible packaging materials that are recovered in the test batch will tell whether or not the method is effective or not, and provides a starting point for the improvement of recovery.
The flexible packaging industry has been taking over the market by storm. In the years between 2010 and 2015, the global packaging market was expected to grow at an annual average rate of 3.4%, reaching $248 billion. In addition, the flexible packaging market is responsible for thousands of jobs, which helps keep the economy strong.
What is it about flexible packaging that is making everyone switch from traditional packaging materials? According to flexible packaging organizations, there are many flexible packaging benefits that are taken for granted. Flexible packaging products typically cost less to make, extend product shelf life, and reduces the amount of waste. Thanks to these flexible materials, it now only takes 1.5 pounds of plastic to carry about 10 gallons of liquid. For example, a one-gallon plastic milk jug weighs 30% less today than it did 20 years ago thanks to advancements with flexible packaging materials such as plastic.
The industry's research efforts will continue throughout the rest of the year, and the beginning of next year. If all goes well, the results of the projects will be published in the second quarter of 2016.