UPM Raflatac has detailed the progress toward a more circular economy for plastics and a future beyond fossils in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment 2021 Progress Report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
As highlighted in the report, UPM Raflatac has continued to develop its SmartChoice and SmartCircle product ranges and increased the sales volumes of these products. SmartChoice label materials are designed to reduce material usage and promote recycled content and renewable materials. SmartCircle label materials support packaging recyclability and reuse and so promote the circular economy.
According to the report, reducing unnecessary plastic packaging is a priority for UPM Raflatac, and through raw material optimization, it has reduced more than 450 tones of plastic film raw materials. The company’s signature products, such as PP Lite, have a strong reduce element, but it also applies the reduced principle to its standard films. In addition, the company supports the switch to renewable materials by enlarging and promoting its Rafnxt+ product range, as well as bio-based plastic product range.
UPM Raflatac says that the demand for recycled content and solutions enabling recyclability has increased significantly. The company is committed to developing wash-off technologies and labels with more recycled content suitable and safe for different end-uses. The company introduced new and improved RW85C wash-off label materials for PET containers and supported the circular use of materials by launching new PE PCR White TC 85 label material made with recycled plastic. UPM Raflatac has also launched LabelLoop range which is a closed-loop option for paper materials.
Turning label waste into a resource is a crucial component of the circular economy. UPM Raflatac has further developed its RafCycle recycling service which now has 250 partners globally. The company is one of the key contributors in the industry-wide consortium CELAB (Creating the Circular Economy for Labeling) in enhancing the recycling of both liner and matrix waste in the pressure-sensitive labeling industry.
The company is also taking steps to make its production facilities more sustainable. At present, six of its ten factories are fully powered with renewable electricity, and three of its factories and nine distribution terminals have achieved sustainability certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Scheme ISCC PLUS. The company’s ISCC PLUS certified products via mass-balance approach include UPM Raflatac Forest Film and PP C-PCR.
‘As a supplier in the packaging value chain, we are proud to transparently report the steps we have taken to provide solutions for brands and designers as they aim for more circular packaging. As a signatory to the global commitment, the progress described in the 2021 Global Commitment Progress Report is a milestone,’ said Robert Taylor, sustainability director at UPM Raflatac. ‘But we know we have a lot more work to do to achieve our targets by 2025 and that a substantial acceleration of progress is needed to achieve the 2025 ambition. We look forward to the challenge ahead.’