Keeping plastic out of the environment and inside the resource loop for as long as possible requires packaging that is compatible with recycling and can get processed cost-effectively. To help determine the recyclability of new plastic packaging, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has, together with the Afeka Institute of Circular Engineering and Economy (AICEE), and in collaboration with the Israeli Manufacturers’ Association and, the Israel Packaging Institute, developed an interactive tool for evaluating and designing recyclable plastic packaging.
“Plastic waste must be viewed and treated as a valuable resource rather than useless waste,” says Roberta de Palma, Chief Technical Advisor at UNIDO. Today, far too much plastic packing does not fulfil the criteria for recycling and up as waste for incineration. Standards such as compatibility of materials, easy separation and the use of additives, among other features, play a crucial role in determining the recyclability of plastic packaging and retaining plastic’s properties. “This tool helps businesses along the value chain to make the right decision already at the design stage and supports our project objective to improve the market for recycling of plastic packaging in Israel.”
To quickly and reliably determine the recyclability of new packaging, the tool guides the user in a step-by-step procedure to assess the current packaging towards criteria developed according to the recycling capabilities of Israel and global standards. The interactive tool also helps to point out steps for reducing the use of resources during the design process and assist Israeli industrials to design sustainable packaging. The tool is developed based on the existing recycling technologies in the country and can periodically receive updates to modify for new recycling capabilities in Israel.
End of June two online training sessions led by the AICEE and Shira Rosen, Chairman of the Israel Packaging Institute, presented the interactive tool to 90 industrial representatives from the Israeli packaging sector. “Allowing industries to apply innovative packaging solutions that can be recycled in a cost-effective way benefits both the environment and the Israeli plastics recycling market,” says Shira Rosen.
Together with the AICEE, the Israeli Manufacturers’ Association and the Israel Packaging Institute, UNIDO are now making the Interactive Tool for Designing Sustainable Packaging publicly available so that companies in Israel can apply it and more easily develop sustainable packaging solutions. In addition, the interactive tool is planned for use by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Environmental Protection to support internal processes of developing recommendations, legislations and promoting pilots and tenders in the industry.
“We hope that brand owners and packaging manufacturers can make good use of the tool, that simplifies the decisions making process and gives clarity on how various design choices affect recyclability,” says Avi Blau, Director of the AICEE.
The plastic industry in Israel employs about 25,000 people, 400 businesses, and with an annual turnover of 5 billion euros per year, the sector contributes 5-6 per cent to the national GDP. Out of the 1 million tons of plastic waste that Israel generates each year, merely 9 per cent get recycled. Less than 100,000 tons of recycled plastic resins are annually produced in Israel. In comparison, the demand for recycled resins from the local plastic industry is estimated to be over 120,000 tons and is continually growing. Inadequate standards, guidelines and business linkages constrain the development of a value chain that can re-use and recycle plastic waste as a resource for the local plastic value chain. This pattern creates significant amounts of waste and results in an economic loss for the society.
Since 2020, and under the framework of the EU-funded SwitchMed programme, the UNIDO MED TEST III project in Israel targets actions that can improve the circularity of the plastic value chain, tackling its technological and systemic challenges. This includes the mapping of the value chain for recycled plastics, developing guidelines for the design of recyclability of plastic packaging, and introducing standards and policy incentives that can encourage industries to develop better recycling practices for plastic packaging in Israel.
For this project, the AICEE is leading a consortium of national and international experts, including the Manufacturers Association of Israel and European partners, to create a conducive and enabling environment for recycling plastic in Israel.
For more information, contact:
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
Afeka Institute of Circular Engineering and Economy
The Israeli Packaging Institute
29 Hamered, Tel Aviv
Chairman of the Israeli Packaging Institute
Ms. Shira Rosen
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