We want a world where packaging material never becomes waste, but instead is recycled, reused, or composted – and today, we’re taking bold steps around the globe to make that a reality.
A perfect example is our participation in a curbside collection pilot program in the U.K.
The Flexible Plastic Fund – of which Mars is a founding member – recently launched FlexCollect, the largest flexible plastic packaging recycling program ever undertaken in the U.K. The three-year pilot collaboration between industry and government wants to find solutions to collecting and recycling flexible packaging. The outcomes could provide crucial insights into how businesses and local governments can work together to bring about a critical shift in recycling.
Why is flexible packaging so widely used? It's lightweight, non-rigid, and keeps food fresh longer while reducing carbon emissions generated by food waste. This makes it an excellent option for safe, sustainable packaging. Keeping our products safe and fresh is our top priority, but we're just as focused on reducing our carbon footprint throughout our value chain.
The key to flexible packaging becoming circular – meaning recyclable as opposed to being tossed in a landfill – is businesses and governments collaborating to support and encourage flexible plastics to find their way into the recycling process.
A consumer-friendly and vitally important first step? Curbside pickup. These systems make recycling easier for consumers and are better for implementation on a larger scale. Through FlexCollect, we want to learn more about consumers’ attitudes and participation in curbside systems, helping us eliminate obstacles in adoption.
The pilot program is an excellent example of how industries, nongovernmental organizations, and governments can collaborate to combat plastic pollution with cross-industry expertise and funding from Defra, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), SUEZ, RECOUP, LARAC and WRAP, as well as personal support from Defra.
Programs like FlexCollect are a good start, but there’s more to be done to create a world where packaging never becomes waste. At Mars, we have a science-based strategy to design our products for a circular economy, and we’re taking aggressive action to be part of the solution.
And we know businesses can’t solve this problem alone. We’re hopeful FlexCollect will build an evidence-based blueprint for industry and government collaboration — and for finding solutions that drive recycling at scale around the globe, creating the world we want tomorrow through how we do business today.