Chris Bruijnes chair reuse and recycling European Plastics Pact
This week, Chris Bruijnes (CEO of The Netherlands Institute for Sustainable Packaging, KIDK) has been elected as chairman of the 'Reusability and Recyclability' working group of the European Plastics Pact. He is responsible for ensuring - together with the participants of the Plastics Pact - that all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products are designed to be at least recyclable and, where possible, reusable by 2025.
"I realise this is quite a challenge, but I’m convinced that an international approach offers great added value," says Bruijnes. "This is also apparent from the PackForward movement KIDV has started and from the KIDV publication The State of Sustainable Packaging. This publication takes a strategic view of the international cooperation and innovations needed in the field of sustainable packaging in the short, medium and long term." The first innovation track in The State of Sustainable Packaging focuses on more and better recycling. "Making packaging recyclable plays an important role in this."
The Reusability and Recyclability working group of the European Plastics Pact is initially focusing on:
- Harmonisation of the criteria used to prioritise problematic and unnecessary items.
- Cross-border cooperation to agree the list of problematic and unnecessary items to eliminate (in phase 1).
- Analyse and identify best practices in Design Guidelines.
- Analyse and identify best practices in Labelling, to inform users of the product/packaging about the recyclability.
"KIDV advises companies every day on how to make packaging more sustainable, with recyclability and reusability being recurring themes. We have, for example, developed Recycle Checks with which a company can assess whether its plastic packaging is recyclable in the current sorting and recycling system. We are also currently carrying out sorting tests at the National Test Centre Circular Plastics (NTCP) to find out more about the effect of labels and glues on the sorting and recycling of packaging," Bruijnes says. Furthermore, the KIDV has established a Community of Practice for reusable packaging. "With more than a hundred participating companies by now, we are scrutinising the challenges and solutions for reusable packaging concepts. I will take this knowledge to the working group of the European Plastics Pact."
On 6 March 2020, Bruijnes attended the kick-off of the European Plastics Pact in Brussels and, on behalf of the KIDV, was one of the first ninety participants to sign the Pact. "In the past year, much has been said about setting up the working groups and monitoring. I am looking forward to translating these words into action and working with the participants to achieve the objective," concludes Bruijnes.
The European Plastics Pact consists of agreements between plastics producers, large companies, governments and recyclers. The pact contains four substantive goals:
- Make plastic packaging completely recyclable and, where possible, suitable for reuse.
- Reduce unnecessary plastic consumption and the use of petroleum-based plastics by at least 20 per cent.
- Improve the current capacity of collection, sorting and recycling by at least 25%.
- Use at least 30 per cent recycled plastic in new packaging and products.