On 22 December, the first meeting for “the national working group for building a guide and training program for the design of sustainable packaging” was held as part of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) led SwitchMed/MED TEST III project in Israel. Due to the strict Coronavirus measures, the meeting was convened online and presented the findings of a review of international guidelines for design and recyclability of plastic packaging. Members from Israel’s packaging, plastic and recycling industry along with international experts in packaging, and UNIDO attended the meeting to discuss the findings and the applicability for Israel.
Organized by the Afeka Institute of Circular Engineering and Economy, this meeting is held as part of a consultation process in Israel to develop national guidelines for sustainable plastic packaging design with improved recyclability based on EU and international best practices.
The term ‘recycling’ can include many different definitions, especially when it comes to waste from plastic packaging. There is a consensus that recycling of plastic packaging waste prerequisite that, materials get collected; materials can be sorted in a similar material fraction; materials can be reprocessed; and that the reprocessed material can be used for new products. However, no detail is too small in this process and slight deviances in color, or combination of materials, can often disrupt the whole recycling process. It is therefore paramount that the design of plastic packaging can support an efficient collection, sorting and reprocessing in the recycling process.
“More than 80% of recycling is about sorting and it is essential to achieve purity in the material.” Vincent Moij, CEO SUEZ.circpack
The review of the international guidance presented at the meeting, indicated the need for harmonization among the various guidelines that circulate in Europe and globally. In order to get clarity on the needs and demands for the Israeli market, the next step for the national working group is to resolve a set of questions required related to the Israeli market to get a better understanding of what changes need to be made from existing guidelines and develop a guideline that is suitable to Israel.
“We know how to dispose of plastic waste correctly, we know how to recycle it, but it is a complex value chain where every detail matter. As an international organization, UNIDO has the ability to provide technical assistance and to connect industries, policymakers and international leading experts to find efficient solutions that can strengthen effective systems and institutions and can turn the problem of plastic waste into an opportunity for Israel.” says Roberta De Palma, Chief Technical Advisor, UNIDO.
Apart from developing guidelines for the design of recyclability of plastic packaging, the MED TEST III project in Israel will for the next year deliver actions that can improve the circularity of the plastics value chain in Israel, tackling its technological and systemic challenges. This includes mapping the value chain for recycled plastics, supporting the development of standards and policy incentives that can encourage industries to adopt better recycling practices for plastic packaging in Israel, and explore the market potential of a recycled-PET facility.
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