Paperboard-Plastic Packaging: A New UK Recycling Recommendation

paperboard-plastic packaging

Image source: Plastic news europe

The new UK recycling recommendations introduce paperboard-plastic packaging as a recyclable alternative to all-plastic packaging.

In the last two decades, the problem of plastic waste management has only worsened. From single-use plastic mugs to bottles of beverages, we have adopted plastic as an indispensable part of our lifestyle, creating a culture of using and throwing single-use plastic products. Paperboard-plastic packaging is a step towards controlling the impacts of plastic on the environment.

Paperboard-plastic packaging is a recyclable paperboard packaging that allows the inclusion of up to 15 percent plastic. This permitted content of plastic in packaging will drop to 10 percent of packaging’s weight as of January 2023.

According to Iggesund Paperboard’s Head of Business Development, Jonas Adler, one item of this mixed-material packaging is expected to leave almost 80 percent less impact on climate than the similar item of all-plastic packaging.

As mentioned by the UK recycling recommendations, even though this newly introduced packaging contains plastic, it will still be sorted in the paper waste stream.

Advantages of paperboard-plastic packaging

– The packaging is recyclable and way more environment-friendly than all-plastic packaging.

– The emission of carbon dioxide is much less in it as compared to all-plastic packaging.

– Paperboard provides a distinct look with high-impact printed graphics along with structural stability.

– The messages of marketing can be printed on both- interior and the exterior of the packaging.

According to reports, allowing 15 percent content of plastic in fiber-based packaging was not the original plan of On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL), the UK labeling organization. The organization, instead, wanted to allow a far lesser percentage of plastic content.

OPRL stuck to 15% because the mixed material packaging already started to convince several leading brands to replace their all-plastic solutions. Even the sectors, like food where plastic packets are crucial to guard eatables against grease, moisture, or aroma, began to recognize and acknowledge the climate-favoring impacts of paperboard-plastic packaging.

Amid these positive responses, setting any limit lower than 15 percent for plastic content would have slowed down the development of the new packaging.

According to Adler, OPRL’s guidelines will impact not only the UK market but also the markets outside the British Isles. He suggested developing recycling systems and their facilities for making capable of handling the new material solutions.

With the introduction of paperboard-plastic packaging, the paper and board industry aims to decrease and then gradually stop using plastic in products, like the packaging. The work is already in progress at several places, and various new and better solutions are expected to benefit the industry in the next few years.

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