Film has a lot of benefits when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint of packaging. Flexible packaging can also reduce the cost of needed goods in developing countries.
But, of course, it's also more complex to recycle. That's one reason that Ceflex, a European collaboration involving the flexible packaging supply chain, was at the plastics treaty talks in Paris last week, encouraging diplomats to include extended producer responsibility fees for flexible packaging to finance recycling programs.
"To make it work, you need EPR because it's not realistic to expect to collect, sort and recycle these materials without some form of subsidization," Ceflex Managing Director Graham Houlder told PN's Steve Toloken.
In an extensive interview, Houlder also pointed to the need for recycling systems to handle sachets — vital for containing low-cost quantities of needed items — in areas that lack infrastructure.
The United Nations Environment Programme also highlighted the issue with sachets in a news release issued just ahead of the treaty talks. In Senegal, water is often sold in single-serve flexible bags that are cheap to make and easy to transport but lead to pollution because of a lack of rubbish collection and recycling programs, UNEP reported.
You can read more on Ceflex's take on what the treaty should do here and stand by for upcoming podcasts Steve recorded in Paris during the talks, including one with Houlder.