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How Corona affects our business pt. 2

By Roel Wollaert; Dutch PET Recycling _________ Arnhem, 21 April 2020

Some weeks ago, we started with an article about our business during the Corona or COVID-19 crisis. In this article we will give an update on how we are dealing with the circumstances and what we see happening around us.

In our own working process, nothing has changed drastically. We are used to work in a global network where we have contact with our suppliers and customers at a distance. However, not all parties concerned have the availability of all tools. That’s why, sometimes, we have to be patient and understanding. Especially in countries where a lockdown forces you to stay at home and one is not able to contact the bank for a transaction or check upon the Chamber of commerce for a Certificate of Origin.

Using disposable gloves, syringes, insulin pens, masks, catheters etcetera reduces the risks of infections. But it also makes the work process easier and faster because less material has to be sterilized.

In non-medical industries, plastic use is also increasing. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts forbid reusable cups; the food industry is using more plastic to extend the shelf life and now uses the argument that plastic is more hygienic and easier to use. Restaurants try to survive by offering take away food in…(rPET-made) plastic boxes. Plastic protection screens are used for cashiers in supermarkets. Everywhere around you, more plastic is used due to COVID-19!

One may be worried about the limited volumes entering collection systems. Consumers (recycling) behavior is changing. People are buying bottles, but they don’t bring them back, they store it. Collectors in Asian and African countries are facing restrictions to do their job. Many will be looking at how used PET bottles are returned to the recycling stream during the outbreak. The availability of rPET might become scarce.

Demand for virgin PET has already increased significantly in March as Europeans began to buy food and other necessities in higher volumes. Plans of using more recycled plastic and reduce plastic waste, sometimes, seem to be no longer a top priority.

Cashiers behind plastic screens.

Another concern is the impact on logistics. Several countries have closed their borders and restricted the movement of goods and people, getting material to and from harbors and recycling units. Until now we only had some minor problems but recently most transport was running smoothly again.

Social distancing will become a way of life the coming months and maybe years. What this will do to our business is not easy to predict. For the time being, the majority of the recycling industry continues to operate without too much problems. Sudden local problems we will be able to handle, as our network is diversified. We will see what the future will bring us.

For now: Stay safe, healthy, and take care of the environment!

On behalf of all employees and agents at Dutch PET Recycling.

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How Corona affects our business

By Roel Wollaert; Dutch PET Recycling _________ Arnhem, 27 March 2020

Normally our posts are about market developments and news within the rPET or circular plastic industry. But the news nowadays is of course about the Corona virus. It affects all of us around the world. In this article we will give a brief overview how it has affected us so far and we will share some thoughts with you.

At Dutch PET Recycling everybody is working at home. Communication still goes rapidly with video calls and mailing. What we do miss is the face-to-face contact with our suppliers and customers. We are convinced that seeing is believing. That’s why we normally visit our suppliers and their production facilities. The time saved by not travelling we now use online. For example to promote our new website: www.dutchpetrecycling.com

At the beginning of 2020 the prospects for the recycling industry were very promising. Awareness about waste reduction and reducing CO2 emission is constantly growing. People do sort their waste more and more. Collection of waste becomes more efficient. Governments are setting targets for recycling and industries are thinking more about sustainable product designs and commit themselves to use more recycled material.

That all is good news for our suppliers. Some of them are relatively small companies, where quite a lot of families depend on. As far as we know now, the virus hasn’t caught them. Besides the health threat of Corona also an economic crisis is coming. Collecting waste might become more difficult. That will differ per region and luckily for us and our customers we have a great network of suppliers.

Sea transport is already facing some problems. Some ports do have restrictions or are locked down for a period. But most of the ports are still operating and must do that to keep the necessary (food) chains working. Also here people are working out of their home (office). This sometimes causes  delay in communication. Also prices fluctuate a lot. Overall we are very satisfied with our freight forwarders who constantly think along with us to keep the service as high as possible.

The good news in relation to our customers is that most of them operate within the food chain. Plastic packaging for confectionery or fresh food. Being an essential producer means that you don’t need to go in a lock down.

We hope and wish that everyone stays healthy. The market developments before the Corona outbreak looked very promising and we are convinced that the world will conquer the virus. It will be a matter of time. The longer it takes the worser the economic crisis will be. But at the end we think the recycling industry has a promising future ahead and that we will quickly recover from this temporarily relapse.

Wishing you and all your beloved ones a healthy and economic fruitful future.

On behalf of all employees and agents at Dutch PET Recycling.

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New initiative for a circular plastics economy

March 6th 2020 Launch of the European Plastics Pact

About the European Plastics Pact

Initially led by France, the Netherlands and Denmark, the European Plastic Pact is a public-private coalition that forms a European network of companies, states and other organisations such as NGOs on mastering single-use plastic products and packaging.

In the face of the proliferation of plastic waste, the aim of the pact is to set ambitious common objectives and to encourage cooperation, innovation and harmonisation at the European level, in order to bring about a truly circular European plastics economy.

The Pact relies on the “pioneers” in the plastics value chain and on the most committed governments, in order to create a bold movement that will pave the way for the rest of the market.

The Pact works on all levels to reduce the release of plastics into the environment: by improving the recyclability and reusability of products by design, by shifting to a more responsible use of plastics, by increasing collection, sorting and recycling, and by incorporating more recycled materials into new products and packaging.

Mastering the use of plastics in a circular economy

Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives, bringing many economic and environmental benefits. Plastics are strong, durable and versatile materials. They enhance comfort, safety and hygiene. Using plastics packaging can increase the shelf life of products and reduce fuel costs in transportation of goods, helping to cut carbon emissions. All this has resulted in a huge surge in plastics production. Over the past fifty years, the global use of plastics has increased twentyfold and is still growing.

At the same time, plastic waste is increasingly becoming a global problem, as reuse and recycling of plastics have not kept pace. This is because many products and packaging types are not designed for reuse or effective recycling. Not all use of plastics is necessary for product functionality. In addition, collection, sorting and recycling are still underdeveloped. This means a significant proportion of our plastic waste is still being incinerated or goes to landfill, which negatively affect carbon emissions. Another part ends up as litter in our environment, where it may harm wildlife or degrade into potentially harmful microplastics. While all this valuable material is being wasted, the proportion of fossil fuel being used to produce new plastics continues to grow (from 6% of oil production now to an estimated 20% by 2050).

The common vision

To tackle plastics waste and pollution at the source, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we produce, use and reuse plastics. No single organisation or individual can do this on its own. It requires a systemic shift, involving collective action by businesses from across the plastics value chain, governments, and civil society. A common vision aligns all actors on a joint understanding of what good looks like. It guides the search for solutions and aligns actions taken in the European Plastics Pact on a common sense of direction.

For plastics, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy has set out a vision for a plastics circular economy in the EU. For plastic packaging, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, has united more than 400 organisations from across the global plastics packaging value chain behind a common vision of a circular economy for plastics. These include plastic packaging producers, consumer goods companies, retailers, companies involved in the collection, sorting and recycling of plastics, as well as national, regional and city governments, NGOs, financial institutions, industry associations, universities and other international organisations such as the World Economic Forum and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). National plastics pacts, such as The French National Pact on Plastic Packaging, the Plastics Pact NL and the UK Plastics Pact have taken action towards the same common vision for a circular economy for plastics. The European Plastics Pact adopts this vision, as this provides a global framework for our actions.

Infographic European Plastics Pact

The Goals:

  • Reusability and recyclability by design
    • To design all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products brought to the market by participants to be reusable where possible, and in all cases to be recyclable by 2025.
  • Responsible use of plastics
    • To shift towards a more responsible use of plastic packaging and single-use plastic products, aiming for a reduction in virgin plastic products and packaging of at least 20% (by weight) by 2025, with half of this reduction coming from an absolute reduction of plastics.
  • Collection, sorting and recycling
    • To raise the collection, sorting and recycling capacity in the involved countries of all plastics used in packaging and single use products by at least 25 percentage points by 2025 and to reach a quality standard of the output of the collection, sorting, and recycling process that matches market demand for recycled plastics.
  • Use of recycled plastics
    • To boost recycled plastics use in new products and packaging as much as possible by 2025, with plastics-using company achieving an average of at least 30% recycled plastics (in weight) in their range of products and packaging.