Veolia Joins New Plastics Economy Initiative

French-based corporate group Veolia Environnement S.A. has joined the New Plastics Economy initiative, which is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, as a core partner.

According to the information, “the New Plastics Economy is an ambitious, three-year initiative to build a momentum towards a plastics system that works. Applying the principles of the circular economy, the initiative brings together leading companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens to re-think and re-design the future of plastics, starting with packaging.”

The initiative builds on the recommendations of the report “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics” issued by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum, at the Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2016. As reported, it provided the first comprehensive view of the global plastic packaging value chain, highlighting its contributions but also revealing significant drawbacks. “With material value loss running at 80 to 120 billion US-Dollar a year in the industry and negative environmental externalities costing at least 40 billion US-Dollar a year – a figure greater than the plastic packaging industry’s profit pool – the opportunity for the global economy of transforming the system is clear,” Veolia gave account. The New Plastics Economy initiative would take a concrete first step towards the design of a plastics system grounded on circular economy principles. The company will contribute to shaping the work program and selecting the projects and pilots through participation in the advisory board.

Investment in UK plastic recycling

In July, Veolia UK has acquired manufacturing assets in London which will unlock the supply chain for manufacturing plastic bottles from recycled material. As reported, the company will be able to offer the range of services from collection of raw feedstock (waste plastic bottles) direct from people’s homes or businesses, through all the recycling steps, and back to food grade pellets ready to be blown into new bottles.

The new business will produce around 10,000 tons of high quality food grade HDPE pellets annually. “Recycling this material requires 75 percent less energy to make a plastic bottle than using ‘virgin’ materials, and this equates to conserving enough energy to power around 20,000 homes and saving 10,000 tons per annum of carbon emissions,” the company assures. “The move also complements Veolia’s recent commitment as a core partner to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s campaign to support the Plastics Economy.”

Graphic: © Ellen MacArthur Foundation