Plastics: A climate champion? – Ciruclar economy round table with NÖM, ARA and ALPLA

Austrian dairy company NÖM, packaging solutions manufacturer and recycling specialist ALPLA and ARA hosted a virtual Circular Economy Round Table to shine the spotlight on Austria's most sustainable milk bottle.

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NÖM Director Alfred Berger talked about the continuous evolution of NÖM’s flagship rPET product. Launched in 2018, the sustainable milk bottle boasts a contemporary transparent design with an innovative EcoFloat sleeve. It has received a recyclability award.

Rainer Widmar, Regional Manager of ALPLA Group, once again underscored the benefits of plastic packaging and even called plastic a secret climate champion: Compared with glass or metal, it is, after all, truly light-weight, which has a positive impact on the carbon footprint. Also, recycled PET produces up to 90 % fewer greenhouse gas emissions than virgin PET. Widmar called for objective decision-making and a framework based on the facts – which includes recognising and treating plastic as the recyclable resource it is. He argued that eco-modulated Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) fees provide a targeted incentive.

In a similar vein, ARA CEO Harald Hauke made the case for expanding the separate collection scheme for households, on-the-go consumption and events. In addition, he maintained that significant improvements of sorting depth and output quality are needed, which can be achieved with high-tech sorting plants, end-to-end digitisation of processes, and a new approach to capturing packaging from commercial entities. The ARA Circular Design initiative provides a team of experts on design for recycling and design from recycling to support ARA customers in the development of other innovative flagship packagings.

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Project lead: Verena Rössner