The UK company which manufactures plastic ring carriers for the beverage industry, is joining the scheme to educate and encourage consumers to recycle ring carriers via a collection point or online.
TerraCycle works with environmentally conscientious companies to offer consumers free and easy recycling channels to move waste from a linear system to a circular one, partners include Walker’s Crisps.
Hi-Cone’s goal is to recover and reuse as many plastic ring carriers as possible worldwide, to give them a new life, for example as park benches, outdoor furniture or composite lumber.
Kenneth Escoe, president Hi-Cone, said it contacted TerraCycle to address the fact some plastic items, such as ring carriers, are collected and recycled by very few local authorities in the UK.
“As TerraCycle runs collection programmes for a range of packaging including cracker and biscuit wrappers, crisp packets, baby food pouches, bread packaging, and Pringles cans, and works with over 100 brands in 21 countries to collect used packaging and products that would otherwise be destined for landfills, Hi-Cone is delighted to become the first non-branded company worldwide to partner with TerraCycle,” said Escoe.
“Moving forward, our goal is to recover and reuse as many plastic beverage ring carriers as possible and Hi-Cone will be monitoring the progress of this initiative very closely as it rolls out in the UK, and will then assess the possibility of widening its scope further into Europe, the US and beyond.
Escoe added this is not a commercial initiative but reflects Hi-Cone’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and the initiative forms part of a broader strategy that will ensure ring carriers are 100% recyclable or compostable by 2025.
4-packs for beer
Hi-Cone ring carriers were introduced in 1961 to reduce beverage packaging on items such as 4-packs for beer compared with alternative materials such as paperboard.
“To ensure consumers can continue to enjoy the convenience of beverage multi-packs, environmental responsibility has been paramount to Hi-Cone over the last 50 years, resulting in products that use less energy, less water, generate less waste, less GHGs (greenhouse gases) and are lighter in transit,” said Escoe.
According to the British Plastics Federation (BPF), 99% of local authorities in the UK collect plastic bottles at the kerbside, and 76% collect pots, tubs and trays, other items such as ring carriers are collected and recycled by very few local authorities.
As a result, Hi-Cone and TerraCycle have decided to spearhead the effort to tailor recycling techniques to individual waste streams where specialist beverage packaging is concerned, ensuring ring carriers can be collected and recycled, allowing them to have a new life post-use.
“It is vital packaging producers take the lead in pushing sustainable programmes forward, and that is why we have stepped in at this stage of our own journey to champion this process with TerraCycle,” said Escoe.
Community groups and individual consumers are encouraged to set up locations for their communities where the public can drop off ring carriers post use, which can be sent, free of charge, to TerraCycle for recycling.
“To date, we have some 80 million people engaged in collecting waste materials across 21 countries and typically these programmes are funded by brands or municipalities,” said Laure Cucuron, GM, TerraCycle Europe.
“It is refreshing to have a packaging manufacturer such as Hi-Cone engaging with us and taking responsibility for the materials it sends into circulation.
“We have a shared responsibility to close the material loop and we would encourage more packaging producers to work with us and to follow the example Hi-Cone is setting.”
Members of the public can sign up with TerraCycle here and they will receive an alert once the programme officially launches in May.