Recycling Management for Food Packaging

In Italy, the “Ricircola” project for recycling plastic food packaging has been launched. The companies Amadori, Apofruit, BPER Banca, Conad, Ilip and Hera are working together to support the initiative.

Testing a more sustainable use of plastic is the aim of a research project at the University of Bologna, by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Industrial Research on Renewable Energy Sources, Environment, Sea and Energy (CIRI FRAME). Following an idea of this center, the “Ricircola” project has now been launched. The initiative aims to improve the handling of plastic trays for food at the end of their life cycle.

To this end, all actors in the supply chain, especially consumers, are directly involved and encouraged to act responsibly. Until November 15, 2020, in three Conad points of sale in Romagna (La Filanda in Faenza, Case Finali in Cesena and Pinarella inCervia) consumers will have the opportunity to buy two products with innovative packaging and to actively participate in the research project.

Closing the cycle

For example, Amadori chicken fillet (400 grams) and white seedless table grapes of the Solarelli brand from Apofruit (500 grams) are marked with the keyword “Ricircola”. Customers are asked to return the empty plastic bowl to special collection points set up in participating supermarkets after consuming the product. They will be refunded 20 cents for each bowl handed in. The packaging comes from Ilip and is made of PET. They are then returned separately by Hera to the manufacturer’s recycling plant, thus completing the circle. The recycled plastic is then used to produce new trays. The project developed in Emilia-Romagna is also supported by BPER Banca.

One of the aims of the project is to make consumers aware that plastic packaging is not garbage – it is a reusable material that should be recycled. If the plastic supply chain is aligned with the principles of recycling, it is possible to take advantage of the benefits of plastic packaging while drastically reducing the negative environmental impact of incorrect disposal, says Ilip.

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