Global food and beverage company Danone has announced a three-year partnership with Ecosurety that will see the compliance scheme manage its packaging and waste recycling obligations in the UK.
Both companies state that they will operate to the highest possible standards of transparency and traceability, and that the partnership will channel investment into recycling innovation and education in order to help expand in the UK’s recycling capacity.
The UK’s packaging recycling system is a market-based system based on the purchase of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) and Packaging Export Recovery Notes (PERNs), which demonstrate compliance when they are purchased from a UK-based reprocessor, or a recycler exporting materials abroad, as proof that packaging has been recycled.
Ecosurety will purchase Danone’s PRNs from UK reprocessors, to ensure that funding is reinvested in the UK recycling system. Such investment will allow for the reshoring of waste and increase the UK’s capacity to recycle its packaging waste, including problematic types of packaging.
The UK’s packaging recycling system has come in for criticism in recent times, with a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) stating that flaws in the monitoring and oversight of the system could be leading to packaging recycling rates being overestimated. In addition, the Environment Agency is currently investigating claims of widespread fraud and system abuse in the plastics recycling industry.
Currently, the UK reports a 64 per cent recycling rate for all types of packaging and a 39 per cent recycling rate for plastic packaging. However, a large part of what is recorded as recycled is being exported – the UK exports some 66 per cent of its recycling – through the use of PERNs. When waste is exported to overseas markets, it is harder to monitor environmental standards and to guarantee that the waste has been recycled or disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.
Commenting on the new partnership with Ecosurety, Caroline Winters, Director of Public Affairs at Danone, said: “As a multinational business with an ambition to lead in the sustainability sector, recycling is an area that we are particularly focused on improving. Ecosurety’s approach to traceability and tangible reinvestment in the recycling sector resonated with our own environmental business objectives. This is the start of an impactful new partnership and we look forward to working with Ecosurety.”
James Piper, Managing Director of Ecosurety, added: “Ecosurety are determined to show that recycling compliance doesn’t need to be perceived of as a tax but, rather, a positive feedback system that benefits producer, consumer and planet. We’re delighted that Danone recognise this, and the long-term potential of our business approach. Danone is a company that shares many of our sustainability objectives and it is great to have them on board.”
This is not the first time Danone and Ecosurety have collaborated in a bid to improve recycling in the UK, with Danone backing the #LeedsByExample recycling campaign in Leeds, which was set up by Ecosurety and behaviour change specialists Hubbub.