Cleaning operators are asked to support a new era in how products are packaged to give immediate visibility of virgin plastic content in what they are buying.
In a landmark move, ‘Generation Z’ children, their parents and business united on 20 September, alongside Greta Thunberg’s London Global Climate Strike, to lobby industry and consumers alongside the Government to get behind the ‘Recycled Plastic Rating’ – a campaign which sees the launch of a new trust mark enabling us to take back control of what plastic actually gets recycled, versus what gets dumped into the oceans.
There is total confusion amongst operators and consumers with over 28 different marks on what is, and what is not, recyclable. And, a total breakdown in trust in what is segregated at home for recycling yet gets chucked into the same dump truck and, we now know, lands up in a foreign land and most likely the sea.
A first of its kind, the move to launch the new RPR, follows research that reveals that 79 per cent of people support clearer labelling of plastic packaging to help them determine its impact on the environment and allow them to vote with their pockets when it comes to purchasing behaviour.
The entrepreneur and philanthropist who is behind the RPR, Mark Jankovich, stated: “There is more micro plastic in the ocean than stars believed to be in the galaxy! Eight million tons of plastic, a dump truck a minute, ends up in our oceans each year, (and has a material impact on climate change through waste processes and new production of single life plastic). We’ve got to stop this.
“Having a rating which shows the amount of recycled plastic content in the packaging we buy will instantly give caterers, retailers and consumers the power to vote with their wallets and chose packaging that is fundamentally diverting plastic from landfill. The RPR will enable everyone to see, at a glance, the exact plastic credentials of products they are purchasing.”
Jankovich is the driving force behind the campaign alongside his eco-cleaning product company Delphis Eco, which was the first to pioneer the use of 100 per cent recycled HDPE plastic packaging from single use plastic in 2017 across all its products.
He added: “We make the UK’s most eco-friendly cleaning products, which are also highly effective. Clearly, I buy a significant amount of plastic and it was inconceivable that I couldn’t buy UK collected and reprocessed single use plastic for my packaging. There wasn’t enough in the market to buy!
“The fact that the world only recycles nine per cent of the plastic it makes annually means that 91 per cent goes into landfill, the ocean or is incinerated. This is horrendous and the days of sending our rubbish to a far away land and forgetting about it are over.
“We need to turn this completely on its head and not talk about what might or might not be recyclable, but what percentage of the packaging we are buying HAS been recycled. When consumers do this, manufacturers will have no choice but to package their products in more responsible packaging, resulting in the waste collectors, recyclers and Government fixing the woefully under-invested infrastructure and behaving more responsibly. This will divert millions of tons of single use plastic from going into the environment and circle it back as a totally new product.
“There’s a 70 per cent carbon reduction in recycling plastic versus creating virgin material. Recycling a single plastic bottle saves enough energy to light a 60w light bulb for six hours.
“We’ve spoken to a number of companies, academic bodies and NGO’s and they all agree that there needs to be much more clarity and focus around what is recycled, and that we should unite behind one mark that consumers can trust. Like the successful Fairtrade and sustainably sourced fish marks, this will empower consumers to force shops to adopt better social and environmental behaviour.
“The overall aim of the campaign is to radically simplify, from 28 possible options to just one industry standard, the Recycled Plastic Rating which consumers need to look out for when buying goods. Giving them total control at the point of purchase – rather than relying on a third party to do the right thing. We hope the Government will take action and make the new RPR mandatory on all packaging; encourage the acceleration of how single use plastic can be given a second life; and increase scrutiny of exactly HOW plastic is recycled in the UK”.