Thermoforming packaging maker Waddington Europe has signed a supply agreement with Shabra, Ireland’s leading recycler, to ensure a steady supply of food-grade recycled PET.
Under the agreement, Waddington Europe will purchase PET sourced from bottles, containers, tubs and trays to manufacture new PET food packaging products at its Arklow production site in Ireland.
Waddington Europe is the European thermoforming division of Hartsville, S.C.-based Novolex, a supplier of plastic and paper bags and food service products. The agreement with Shabra helps to further secure its long-term source of recycled PET, underscoring the company’s aim to shift to proving more environmental food-grade packaging.
It will also enable the company to expand its line of Eco Blend products made with post-consumer recycled content sourced domestically in Ireland back into the Irish market.
“Collectively, we hope these new agreements will advance our stake in localized plastics circularity in the Irish market,” said Eduardo Gomes, managing director of Waddington Europe. “It’s just as important to consider the carbon footprint at its start of life as the environmental impact at the end of its life. Keeping the packaging ‘closed-loop’ economy as local as possible helps to ensure the carbon footprint stays as low as possible. It also utilizes waste as a resource and keeps it out of landfills.”
Shabra has recently invested heavily in new sorting lines and a reprocessing facility, which provides intensively washed recycled PET flake for use directly into the thermoforming and packaging sector. The company said it is committed to sustainability and a circular economy, among others, by keeping Irish plastic packaging waste in an Irish recycling system, Shabra CEO Rita Shah said.
“On a macro level, the localized economic model can increase jobs and innovation, the security of raw material supply and consumer savings, as well as reduce damaging pressures on the environment,” Shah said.
She added that Shabra has expansion plans for 2022 that will the company to double its output.
According to Gomes, the deal will also beneft Waddington Europe’s Irish customers in various different ways.
“Our customers are beginning to realize that if they develop these circular supply chains, they can reduce manufacturing costs and provide consumers with more sustainable products,” Gomes said. ”In addition, local recycling and closed-loop economies generate revenue and drive local job creation.
“It gives us a competitive advantage to show that the products we sell are made from waste plastic generated in Ireland itself. Consumers can see the benefits of their efforts to recycle their plastic food packaging, and we hope it could even help shape our future regulation,” he added.
In addition to Ireland, Waddington Europe operates production sites in the United Kingdom and Netherlands. Novolex operates 57 manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe, including two plastic film recycling centers.