AARC Webinar Shines Spotlight on Use of Recycled Plastic in Food & Beverage Packaging

The Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) recently organized a pivotal webinar titled “Use of Recycled Plastic Content in Food & Beverage Packaging.” The event gathered a diverse array of stakeholders, including industry leaders, regulatory bodies, sustainability experts, and environmental enthusiasts from several countries. This webinar was particularly significant in light of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Guidelines mandating the use of recycled plastic content in packaging.

AARC Webinar Shines Spotlight on Use of Recycled Plastic in Food & Beverage Packaging

The webinar witnessed a panel of diverse, distinguished speakers including, Surojit Bose, Head Sustainability, Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd., Aditi Ramola, Technical Director, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), Mr. K D Bhardwaj, Group Head – Environment and Energy Management, International Services, National Productivity Council, Jose Manuel Moller, Founder and Chairman of Algramo, Chile – a key innovator in the sustainable technology and climate tech sectors, Mr. Nikhil Patkar, Packaging Portfolio Manager, Tetra Pak South Asia team including India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh, Valeria Branca, Project Manager Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance, Brussels, Levent Akici, Zero Waste Foundation, Turkey, and Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, CEO, AARC.

In collaboration with the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), United Nations Global Compact Network India, International Academy of Environmental Sanitation and Public Health (IAESPH), and 3R WASTE Foundation, the webinar aimed to foster dialogue on the recyclability of plastic packaging with a focus on use of recycled plastics in packaging, hence overall reduction in plastic usage. It provided a platform for sharing best practices, exploring innovative recycling methods, and discussing cutting-edge solutions in plastic packaging.

The esteemed panel was moderated by Dr. Kulwant Singh – CEO, 3R Waste Foundation, and co-moderated by Dr. N B Mazumdar, Hon. Chairman, International Academy of Environmental Sanitation & Public Health (IAESPH).

The event witnessed an insightful discussion where panelists shared successful international strategies for integrating recycled content into packaging, offering valuable insights for the stakeholders. Speakers further highlighted the obstacles in sourcing and utilizing recycled materials, proposing practical solutions like chemical recycling based on global experiences. The panel further discussed the necessity of chemical recycling processes and mass balance approaches for validating recycled content to meet the upcoming EPR targets.

Moderating the panel, Dr. Kulwant Singh outlined the webinars focus on global practices in using recycled plastic in food and beverage packaging, the key provisions of Indias Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2022, and the challenges in sourcing and incorporating recycled content. Co-moderator, Dr. Mazumdar emphasized the necessity of detailed dialogue among authorities, industries, health bodies, and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to come up with the right standards for Category II and III in food contact applications i.e. flexible and Multi Layered Packaging (MLP) on lines similar to RPet standards in Category I.

Further to the discussions, Mr. Nikhil Patkar explained the chemical recycling process, which involves converting collected recycled material into pyrolysis oil. This oil is then used to produce polyethylene granules, blending recycled and virgin oil, a process approved by EFSA and the USFDA.

Adding to the discussions, Ms. Valeria Branca, from EXPRA shed light on the regulations of the European Union, which provides that by January 1, 2030, the packaging will only be allowed on the EU market if it is recyclable within grades A, B, or C. Ms. Branca further also highlighted Art. 7 of EU, as per which the plastic parts of packaging must contain a minimum percentage of recycled content by a certain date in the future, which will increase the use of recycled content in packaging and will create a market for recycled materials in Europe, targeting specific recycling content goals for packaging by 2030 and 2040, differentiated by contact sensitivity.

The event concluded with closing remarks of Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, where he highlighted the importance of managing plastic waste in compliance with FSSAI regulations, ensuring that recycled plastic content is safe for food and beverage products, and consulting the entire value chain before setting standards, and need to expedite the formulation of the standard for the use of recycled plastics. He further extended his heartfelt gratitude to all participants, including industry leaders, officials, and environmental advocates, for their active involvement in the event. The webinar successfully advanced discussions on recycled plastic in food & beverage packaging, serving as a platform for building connections, sharing knowledge, and fostering a collective commitment to a sustainable and circular future.

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