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The article published by the DF, alludes to the work conducted by the Chilean Plastics Pact, and the recently launched roadmap that seeks to become the national strategy for the use of plastic elements, and provide nationwide concrete guidelines for all stakeholders involved in the plastics value chain.

*Published in the Diario Financiero (DF) on January 30, 2020.

Businesses, foundations, municipalities, unions, and educational institutions are some of the organizations that already are part of the Chilean Plastics Pact (PCP, for its abbreviation in Spanish). This public-private initiative seeks to move from a linear economy to a circular economy of plastics, where this material remains circulating in the system without turning into waste – via innovation, reuse, and recycling.

Similar to the Extended Producer Responsibility Act (EPR), the PCP’s Roadmap outlines a series of targets. And even though the specific ambitions for packaging are not yet official -one of the six priority products of the EPR Law-, the 40 institutions that constitute the Plastics Pact -16 companies and 24 organizations- decided to go beyond the goals presented in the Project’s preliminary bill.

Fundación Chile’s VP of Business Development and Sustainability, Andrés Pesce, affirms that although the group supports, complements, and provides for compliance with the law, “it has an even wider scope” given the Roadmap considers 18 challenges, 35 solutions, and 81 initiatives. Pesce is optimistic and says that “this is a voluntary initiative, allowing us to be more challenging”.

Possibly these targets could even be surpassed; yet the ambition is not simply about time. The Roadmap aims to become the national strategy for the use of plastics in addition to providing concrete guidelines at a national level for all stakeholders involved in the plastics value chain. In order to further explore the matter, FCh organized the event «Avances y desafíos de la empresa en Economía Circular» (Developments and Challenges for Businesses in the Circular Economy), where PCP members such as Amcor, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Soprole, and Resiter participated.

Coca-Cola is considering paying

for returned plastic bottles

In the last two years, Coca-Cola has invested over US$ 40 million in technology to reduce its portfolio’s plastic bottles in the market by 40% (carbonated drinks, juices, water). Coca-Cola Chile’s CEO, Roberta Valenca states that “certainty cannot afford to wait for regulations”, and claims that currently 100% of their packaging is recyclable. She points out that 47% of their business in Chile is in returnable packaging.

“A returnable glass bottle can circulate 35 times, it goes 35 times and returns,” she says and announces that they aim to increase the returnability of the containers. According to Valenca, eight out of ten Chilean households prefer returnable bottles, and between 40% and 60% of the sales in corner stores consists in returnable bottles. The executive adds that Coca-Cola is working on a project to make the plastic bottle valuable in itself to encourage recycling. “You take your plastic bottle, bring it to a store and get paid for it,” she explains.

Amcor will reuse 100%

of its containers by 2025 globally

In 2018, Amcor, the packaging company set out to design a plan to make all the packaging they produce recyclable and reusable. This year the company announced that they already have defined 2025 as the deadline for all their packaging, worldwide, to be recyclable or reusable. Jean Francois Salvi, Amcor Chile’s CEO, announces that the company is involved in the final step of a product’s production stage.

In this context, he says that “plastic is our raw material. So it is crucial for us if we can save, recover, and reuse it in a daily basis.” They are currently working actively with eco-design to introduce recyclability in their clients’ production chain, which mainly consist in mass consumption companies.

He explains that many of the products they work with were designed decades ago, but the technology has been changing, which on the one hand raises the standard, and on the other hand, makes it easier to be more sustainable. As regards to the company’s challenges in Chile, he says they are focused on innovating to be more sustainable. In this line, they are evaluating how to move from a multi-material -many types of plastics- to a mono-material, in order to simplify the process.

Nestlé: First integrated management system

launched a pilot program in Providencia

Nestlé is well on its way to achieve recycling or reuse for all its packaging by 2025. Its CEO, Leo Leiman, affirms that 96% of their packaging materials are recyclable or reusable. In 2019, they implemented recyclable yoghurt packaging with a “friendlier” label to make ease that process, plus setting up collection points.

In addition, Leiman discloses that there are ten million of those pots in the Chilean market, and they are all recyclable. Globally they will invest US$ 2 billion by 2025 to make at least a third of their packaging material recyclable in order to “effectively activate the circular economy.

He reports that 20 large companies operating in Chile -including Nestlé- have created the country’s first Integrated Management System, starting with a pilot program in Providencia. He claims that “we are in the process of starting kerbside recycling collection on houses and buildings to generate the circular economy”.

Find out more about the goals of the Chilean Plastics Pact, its members, and the roadmap here.