The plastic multipackaging producer Hi-Cone has partnered with recycling firm Terracycle to launch the UK’s first recycling scheme for plastic ring carriers.
The scheme, set to launch this May, is innovative as very few local authorities collect and recycle plastic ring carriers, which are a regular sight on beverage 6-packs.
The scheme will allow consumers to search online for their nearest dedicated collection point, or to sign up privately and send used ring carriers for recycling by freepost.
T. Kenneth Escoe, president of Hi-Cone, said of the scheme: ‘It is vital that 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.
‘We are extremely excited to be launching this new initiative with TerraCycle which means that our product is now fully recyclable in the UK. Moving forward, our goal is to recover and reuse as many plastic ring carriers as possible worldwide, and the TerraCycle partnership helps us to achieve that.’
The new scheme aims to create a nationwide network of ring carrier recycling points which will, crucially, accept packaging from all brands and packaging producers.
Hi-Cone and TerraCycle are now encouraging community groups, schools, charities, retailers and individual consumers to set up collection points where the public can drop end-of-life products off.
Once sent to TerraCycle, the ring carriers will be melted down and turned into plastic pellets, which will be remoulded to form parts of new products such as outdoor furniture.
TerraCycle said it was ‘very refreshing’ to have a packaging manufacturer, rather than just a brand, take responsibility for the materials it sends into circulation.
Laure Cucuron, general manager at TerraCycle Europe, said: ‘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.’
The scheme forms part of Hi-Cone’s wider packaging strategy, which aims to ensure that all its ring carriers are 100% recyclable or compostable by 2025.
The company currently supplies packaging to several household beverage brands such as PepsiCo, the Coca-Cola Company and AB InBev.
The partnership is one of several recycling campaigns which has seen TerraCycle pair up with brands across the UK.
Earlier this month TerraCycle announced that it was working with UK snack producers KP Snacks to launch the UK’s first national recycling programme for crisp packets.
According to TerraCycle, it has launched recycling schemes with brands and municipalities across 21 countries so far, engaging approximately 80 million people.
If its scheme with TerraCycle is successful, Hi-Cone said it will look at further rolling out the scheme into Europe, the US and further afield.