Processors Pressured to Adopt Recyclable Bags
Earlier this month, the EU announced plans to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030. Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, with less than 30% being recycled.
The decision is bound to impact potato chips makers which tend to package their products in lightweight, tiny bags that are made of a fusion of plastic film and aluminum foil. Manufacturers use this packaging method to prevent the chips, which are high in fat content, to go rancid if exposed to oxygen.
According to specialists, the problem is that chips bags are very difficult to recycle. Being so lightweight, there’s no real value in collecting them for recycling. Even more, technically, separating the different linings is a very complex procedure.
While innovations in plastic packaging are being made, there’s still a lot of work to be done within the plastic supply chain, and among public authorities in charge of waste collection in order to reach the goal imposed by the EU.
Joining in the efforts are companies like Walkers, Britain’s largest chips manufacturers, which in October launched a new scheme to recycle its chips bags. Additionally, producers of lightweight plastics have said they can produce recyclable bags, although they pointed out that a greater investment in collection and sorting processes will increase the potential for recycling.
“If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. We must stop plastics getting into our water, our food, and even our bodies. The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more. This is a challenge that citizens, industry, and governments must tackle together”, said Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, responsible for sustainable development.