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China bans import of plastic waste - the use of plastic packaging needs to be addressed now

Published: 10 January 2018 - Sarah Mead

News of China’s ban on the import of plastic scrap has raised concerns for many businesses in Britain. Now, aluminium food packaging manufacturer, Advanta, is calling for food manufacturers to address the problem at the source. Analysis by Greenpeace states that the plastic waste the UK has been sending to China accounts for more than two-thirds of the UK’s total plastic waste export — leaving UK businesses in trouble if changes aren’t made soon.

On January 01, 2018, China implemented a complete stop to the import of plastic scrap, leaving Britain in a bind. Reports of this ban in the media state that, since 2012, the UK has shipped over 2.7 million tonnes of plastic scrap to mainland China and Hong Kong.

The news has caused widespread concern about how the growing piles of plastic waste will be disposed of as Britain’s recycling facilities do not have the capacity to handle the high volumes being produced. It is especially concerning as we deal with the additional waste from the Christmas period.

“According to the international body Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP), the UK recycles just 19 per cent of all plastic consumed,” said Miguel Campos, export sales manager for Advanta. “When you also consider that plastic is a finite resource that has incredibly limited use, manufacturers have to take ownership of sourcing alternative materials for packaging that will reduce pressure on our waste management and recycling facilities — not to mention the negative impact on the environment.

“China is not the first country to implement sudden and tough new initiatives regarding use or disposal of plastics in the last twelve months. In September 2017, Sri Lanka announced a ban on single use plastic and Kenya implemented what is said to be the world’s toughest plastic bag ban earlier in the year.

“The Environment Management Agency in Zimbabwe has also ordered the food industry to stop using containers made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) immediately. These initiatives have also arisen from a growing difficulty in disposing of waste plastic.

“It’s not enough to pressure consumers to be mindful of what they throw away. Manufacturers and businesses need to provide shoppers with alternatives to plastic and reduce how much of the material is used altogether.”

Aluminium provides an affordable alternative to plastic that has a much lower impact on waste disposal and the environment.

According to the European Aluminium Foil Association, Alufoil, aluminium not only provides an absolute barrier against moisture, light and oxygen to keep food fresh for longer, it also saves far more resources than are consumed in its production throughout the supply chain. In addition, 75 per cent of all aluminium ever produced is still in use thanks to its repeatable recyclability.

Advanta is the leading supplier of wrinkle wall and smooth wall foil trays for the UK’s food manufacturing industry, as well as supplying foil trays to the sector in the US, Australia, Africa and across Europe. The company offers a bespoke design service to support customers and create packaging options to suit their requirements.

To find out how Advanta can support you to reduce your reliance on plastic, call +44 (0)1543 460400 or email sales@advantapack.com.



 
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