Plastics and plastic waste is the environmental issue of the moment. It was at the centre of the UK’s November budget and in 2018 the EC launched its ‘European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and disposed of in the EU, as well setting the ambitious target of all plastic packaging to be recyclable or reusable* by 2030.
However, the issue is inherently complex. A plethora of legislation, targets, consumer campaigns and industry initiatives can make it difficult to define a strategic approach to sustainability and implement change. Smithers expert Martin Forrest looks at how undertaking an independent gap analysis can help companies looking to integrate sustainability into their products and operations and make improvements to reduce the impact of plastics and plastic packaging on the environment during post-consumer recycling (PCR).
Q: What does a gap analysis involve?
For each product, assessing its composition, structure, manufacturing process and properties to establish which areas could be addressed to improve its sustainability.
For those areas identified, delivering alternatives to current practices which could assist the client in achieving their sustainability goals.
Q: What are the key opportunities a gap analysis may identify?
Changes in manufacturing process that could reduce impact on the environment by reducing energy consumption, use of solvents, water consumption, waste generation etc.
Switching from fossil fuel derived materials to materials from renewable sources (e.g. biopolymers) and to materials that are biodegradable or compostable.
Redesigning the composition or structure of products to reduce their complexity and assist end-of-life sorting and post-consumer recycling (PCR).
How can Smithers help companies identify opportunities?
At Smithers we understand the importance of plastics and plastic packaging as well as the environmental issues associated with the materials. We offer pragmatic advice and support that will help you identify and define your sustainability strategy as well as develop and focus your company’s priorities.
Find out more about our sustainable packaging support.