Facilitating the circular economy
What is a circular economy?
In contrast to the linear economy, where we “take – make – consume – dispose”, a circular economy aims to keep the products, their components and materials in use as long as possible.
To achieve this, our system must encourage:
- maintenance, repair and reuse of products,
- ecodesign (to allow repair, reuse or use of end-of-life components),
- the recycling of all types of waste,
- the efficient use of resources at all stages of the production or the consumption
The circular economy in images (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
“At sea, what you have is all you have… When I stepped back ashore, I began to see that our world was not any different….” – Ellen MacArthur
The circular economy gets its inspiration from Michael Braungart and William McDonough, more specifically from their “Cradle to Cradle” design philosophy
The Ellen Macarthur Foundation was launched in 2010 by the navigator of the same name with the aim to raise awareness of the general public and the industrial world to the issues of the circular economy. In the circular economy, biological nutrients are intented to re-enter the biosphere safely and technical nutrients are designed to be recycled.
Valipac at your service
You want to optimize the use of packaging in your company, but don’t know where to start? Call upon our tailor-made packaging diagnoses !
During a half-day audit, we will take a closer look at the household and industrial packaging you use to market your products in search of “quick-wins”
- Are your packaging sustainable?
- How can the use of appropriate packaging optimize your logistics?
- Is all your packaging necessary?
- Are there more sustainable alternatives?
Through these and many other questions, our advisors will help you to have a clearer view on your packaging choices.
The packaging diagnoses are conducted in collaboration with Fost Plus and the Verpakkingscentrum of Hasselt University. They are free for Fost Plus and Valipac clients.
Our projects related to circular economy
One of Valipac’s ambitions is to stimulate the transition to a circular economy. We are at the center of the value chain of materials, an ideal position to bring together the different actors in this chain.
We are currently working on a series of projects to improve the circularity of transport packaging.
Click on the pictures below to find out more.
Circular shrink hoods
Shrink hoods, are « covers » made of plastic film which – after being pulled over a pallet – shrink by heating, to ensure the stability of the goods during transport.
Today, these plastic hoods are made from virgin material. To prove the feasability of integrating recycled material in shrink hoods, Valipac has partnered with Wienerberger, Total, Rymoplast, Oerlemans, Fema and Go4Circle.
On February 15, 2019, this partnership gave birth to the first shrink hood made from 50% recycled material.
Selective collection of solid plastic
The sorting of waste on construction sites is very often hampered by a lack of space and the fact that many different craftsmen are working on the site.
However, as far as plastic film is concerned, Valipac has managed to introduce a separate collection system, based on reverse logistics, that is both simple and effective. The Clean Site System is the answer. Builders purchase collection bags from their construction materials wholesaler, participating in the system. Once on site, they fill the bags, and on the next visit to their wholesaler leave them there for free collection. This system has been widend to the collection of solid plastics waste from construction sites.
Since May 1st builders are able to collect their solid plastic waste by following the same system as for plastic film.
Once collected, solid plastic waste is transported to specialised sorting centres where it is separated into different polymer types before being used as secondary raw material for the production of new items made of plastic.
Design 4 Circularity
Without the right specialist knowledge, all too often businesses are still choosing their packaging materials without reference to their circularity indicators. This is especially true for industrial packaging
Coming to their aid, Valipac is currently developing a tool designed to evaluate the circularity of industrial packaging (especially for plastic film). This evaluation, based on objective criteria, allocates a circularity score to packaging materials, in the same way that energy consumption ratings are given to domestic appliances.
This tool takes several different parameters into account, such as finding different types of material in the same packaging, colouring agents, adhesives, etc. It also considers the inclusion of recycled materials (recycled content), as well as the possibilities available for recycling the packaging material once it enters the waste stream and reusing the recycled material in new products.
This tool should be available at the end of this year. Our long-term goal is to evolve towards having guidelines on the circularity of packaging at a European level. For this purpose, we collaborate with EPRO, the European Association of Plastics Recycling.
Selective collection of EPS
Even though sorting is mandatory, it is still rare for businesses to sort their polystyrene foam (styrofoam) waste. To encourage its collection, Valipac is currently evaluating the feasibility of a collection system using bags of woven polypropylene (PP). When these bags are full, they can be collected at the same time as the paper/cardboard collection rounds, and this brings down the logistical cost. In contrast with PE bags (perforated or not), woven PP bags do not tear in the lorry’s compacting mechanism, which means they do not cause any contamination of the collected paper/cardboard.
Valipac is currently working with several operator affiliates on promoting this system on the ground and, of course, on the logistical aspects of this trial. The operators distribute a free starter kit of three woven PE bags and an information leaflet to businesses that generate this waste stream but are not yet sorting it. The material collected by this starter kit is recycled into insulating mortar or foam insulation board.
You are an affiliated operator and you would like to offer your customers this extra service? Contact us at + 32 2 456 83 10 or firstname.lastname@example.org