Our world is not only facing dwindling resources but is also practically choked by pollution and overflowing with garbage. These are problems that everyone in this world contributes to, and as we are all part of the production chain, as consumers at the very least, we are all inevitably affected by them.
In the face of these pressing problems, plastic manufacturers and businesses, which are in the upstream supply chain, can turn crisis into opportunity by shifting away from the take-make-dispose model of the linear economy towards the make-use-return model of the circular economy. While such a transition will transform production, consumption, and lifestyle, it will also maximize resources, minimize waste, and enhance the efficiency of waste recovery and management, prolonging the useful life of material in the closed-loop system.
Through appropriate processes, used plastics can be made useful again in the form of post-consumer recycled resins (PCR). This innovative trend has drawn the attention of users of plastic packaging around the world, with the majority of large companies around the world having already announced that they will use more PCR in their packaging in response to increased concern for environmental problems and demand for eco-friendly packaging among consumers.
PCR content targets for plastic packaging of various brands
- Nestlé aims to increase PCR content in plastic water bottles to 35% (and 50% in some countries) by 2025.
- SC Johnson aims to increase PCR content in bottles in North America and Europe from 20% to 40% by 2025.
- Unilever will ensure that at least 25% of the content of its plastic containers is PCR by 2025. Containers for a number of products already use 100% PCR.
- Coca Cola will have at least 50% PCR in all its packaging by 2033.
PCR is all about the material it is created from. Used plastics must be collected, sorted, cleaned, and enhanced with technology first, before they can be turned into PCR and made into products.
In response to market demand for innovative and eco-friendly products, Chemicals Business, SCG has launched innovative PCR product development initiatives. Among these is Greenovative Lube Packaging, a collaboration between Bangchak Corporation PLC and Chemicals Business, SCG, driven by the circular economy to recycle used lubricant gallons in order to reduce consumption of new material and the amount of plastic waste generated. The program is made possible through the cooperation of all parties throughout the useful life of the product, from the plastic resin manufacturer, converter and product owner to service providers, consumers, and recyclers.
PCR presents one way that the circular economy model can be applied to businesses. Examples of collaborative endeavors above demonstrate that once every party involved comes together and change how we operate today, there will be many new opportunities that will not only improve our businesses but also enhance the sustainability of the world.