Chicago — Increasing the use of recycled plastics in consumer product packaging isn't going to happen in a vacuum, Berry Global Group Inc. believes.
That's why the company is out with a new line of containers called Verdant, which uses up to 100 percent recycled post-consumer resin.
Driving demand for PCR and creating an opportunity for brand owners to consider its use are parts of a holistic approach that will ultimately drive the market, CEO Tom Salmon said. For a processor as large as Berry, with 140 manufacturing sites, placing an importance on PCR will also help bolster recyclers.
"It's a readily available raw material that we can design and incorporate into our products," Salmon said during an interview on the floor of the recent Pack Expo in Chicago. "It simply makes good sense for the environment. We continue to be steadfast that plastic is the most versatile raw material on the planet. It makes people's lives better every day.
"For us to ultimately make good use of that valuable resource and reuse it where appropriate, it makes all the sense in the world," he said.
Verdant includes bottles, tubes, jars and closures, all with PCR content. The line is designed to have the same characteristics as packaging made from virgin resin.
"Our belief is, clearly, let's go out and find ways to promote the use of [PCR], build a business case for reinvestment so that we can convert more otherwise landfillable scrap into products to increase the amount of material available," Salmon said. This, in turn, will bring down costs and promote additional use.
"The marketplace wants a better recyclable story," he said.
Berry, which has grown into an $8 billion company, can now offer 100 percent of its product portfolio with at least some level of PCR content.
"That's an exciting position to be in. We continue to look to expand that line and work with our customers to see what they want, what their customers want in the marketplace, because that's where it starts," he said.
Berry's customers are brand owners who hire the firm to make packaging. And their customers' customers are the folks who buy those products.
"We're actively promoting PCRs to our end customers. We want to build the investment capabilities for our [recycling] partners to invest in the capability to reprocess materials. They get a bonafide ROI that is acceptable that they will investment more money," Salmon said.
"We think it's a great advantage for us going forward," he said.
Verdant features products with recycled content ranging from 25-100 percent, Marketing Director Lauren Piekos said.
Post-consumer resins include PET, high density polyethylene and polypropylene.
And the company continues "to find sources and steams to find more product solutions," she said.
Not all the products brought together under the Verdant banner are new — some are, some are not — but what the product line does is draw attention to the company's PCR capabilities, said John Neely, global director of marketing communications. "We're doing a lot of amazing things, and we've never pulled them together.
"As we look at our portfolio, we want to help our customers see the vision of bringing some of these things together," he said.