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Constantia Flexibles’ way to make Circular Economy reality today
Plastic is a complex, versatile and valuable material with many benefits for consumers such as safe packing and packaging for consumer goods – like food – or ensuring highest quality care and protection for pharmaceutical products. At the same time such plastics have an impact on the environment. Current plastic packaging, for example, is functional and highly versatile but endures for centuries; a good method of storage, protection and preservation but the final destination of such packaging – often ending up in landfills or leaked into water sources – is proving damaging to ecosystems. Currently 32% of plastic packaging is leaking outside of collection systems and proving detrimental to the environment. Should this situation continue, by 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean. However, such pressing need for sustainable innovation provides an opportunity for businesses to make their mark in a new and positive manner; Constantia Flexibles is taking steps to do just that.
With 38 sites in 16 different countries, Constantia Flexibles has been operating for over 100 years and produces the packaging flexible film and foil solutions for products such as crisp packets, yoghurt lids, pet food containers and pharmaceutical packaging. As a result, the company is in a prime position for their sustainable actions to have a significant impact on their industry and beyond. Utilising new production methods, Constantia Flexibles have created a new packaging product called ‘EcoLam’ that, being mono-PE, is fully recyclable while retaining the barrier-like properties necessary to effectively protect against oxygen and moisture. In a coup for plastic innovation, the Ecolam barrier properties are equal to those of aluminium. Ecolam’s recyclable nature allows such products to become part of an effective and sustainable circular economy.
Constantia Flexibles are proving their commitment to sustainable products through their new Ecoflex Ahmedabad factory in India, a world’s first operation dedicated to producing exclusively recyclable flexible packaging. However, the company’s commitment to positive action is nothing new. Constantia Flexibles committed in 2005 to reducing their carbon emissions by 20% per square metre by 2015, they reached that target in 2011 and decided that they could take their positive action further. Signing a global commitment, Constantia Flexibles have pledged that all their food and pharmaceutical packaging will be fully recyclable by 2025. This ensures their products can stay within recycling streams to be continually reusable. Constantia Flexibles understand that they have further to go before they reach their target but, having already achieved 56% with some products already recyclable, and with the construction of their Ecoflex factory, the company is proving to the industry and its customers what can be done to be more sustainable.
In addition to working to be more sustainable, Constantia Flexibles is collaborating with other groups such as non-profit organisation Ellen McArthur in order to influence a more sustainable outlook from consumers and from the wider industry. This involves proving that packaging has value and can be incorporated further into the circular economy. Collaboration is a key factor in achieving real change and is the way to ensuring widespread positive action.
As a worldwide company, Constantia Flexibles understands its responsibility to continue to push for sustainable action. The company has a positive outlook on what is possible with regards to sustainability through innovation and, through its own targets, is continuing to work towards a more positive result. The packaging industry needs to change, Constantia Flexibles is proving that it can.