UPM Raflatac cites progress towards more circular economy for plastics

UPM Raflatac has announced it has made further progress towards a more circular economy for plastics.

The progress towards 2025 commitments is detailed in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment 2023 Progress Report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The report provides transparency on how major businesses are addressing the plastic pollution crisis.

“We joined the global commitment five years ago as the first label materials company,” said sustainability director Robert Taylor. “As a supplier in the packaging value chain, this presents an opportunity to transparently showcase our actions to provide solutions for brands and designers as they aim for more circular packaging.”

As highlighted in the report, UPM Raflatac continued its work toward a future beyond fossils by taking several’notable’ actions in 2022. The company introduced the award-winning Ocean Action labels. The material is said to help prevent plastic waste from ending up in the oceans and also offers brands the possibility to meet recycled content targets for packaging.

UPM Raflatac also extended its CarbonNeutral product portfolio, with certifications in accordance with the CarbonNeutral Protocol for RAFNXT+ and Linerless label materials. The firm also received RecyClass recognitions for pressure sensitive labels for PP and HDPE container recycling.

Additionally, UPM Raflatac earned recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) for undecorated white and clear PP (polypropylene) pressure-sensitive label materials, specifically designed for PP bottle recycling. RafCycle, UPM Raflatac’s label waste recycling service, also expanded the number of partnerships from approximately 300 to over 400.

Sales of UPM Raflatac’s bio-based plastic increased by over 70%. UPM Raflatac Forest Film is marketed as a renewable alternative to plastics. The company’s products with recycled content also saw ‘significant’ sales growth, including film face materials and film liners with increased recycled content.

“The global commitment has been significant in developing the packaging circularity agenda and meaningful progress has been made,” Taylor added. “We need to keep the ambition and UPM Raflatac will continue to accelerate concrete actions to tackle plastic waste through the development of its product and service offer.”