The global environmental consequences of the traditional linear economy, which follows a “take, make, dispose” approach to production, make it clear that the world needs to begin following a new path.
In addition to accelerating environmental degradation, the current linear model consumes more resources than the Earth can provide, inevitably leading to resource shortages. In fact, according to the UN, should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles (Source).
One of the strongest sustainability credentials we have is the contribution that metal packaging makes to the Circular Economy. The Circular model focuses on eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. It keeps goods in use for as long as possible, extracts the maximum value from them while in use, then recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of their service life. Metals are a close match to the Circular Economy’s closed-loop system, which calls for the reduction, re-use and recycling of elements.
Circular Economy principles are central to our vision of driving an efficient business that minimizes waste and resource use and maximizes material re-use. Here is how we will do our part to advance circularity:
Send zero waste from our operations to landfill.
Reduce packaging material use by making our aluminum and steel cans 10% lighter in weight.
Support increased metal packaging recycling rates in our major markets in collaboration with industry associations and other partners.
Maintain or improve the industry-wide average of recycled content in metal cans and transit packaging products in collaboration with suppliers, industry associations and other partners.
Increase the recycled content of the plastic strapping we make by 10% globally.
We are dedicated to securing the future availability of natural resources and unlocking more value from the limited resources we have. We will achieve our optimum circularity goals by taking these initial actions:
Send Zero Waste to Landfill
- Improve our understanding of the waste generation analytics from our global operations.
- Enhance our waste reduction culture.
- Collaborate with suppliers and other partners to increase waste re-use.
- Validate and verify disposal practices.
Reduce Packaging Material Use
- Extend the lightweighting program that is currently being deployed by our European team to a global scale.
- Share best practices across our Company and provide any needed technical support to maintain the performance of our products.
Increase Steel and Aluminum Recycling Rates
- Continue to commit time and financial resources to support existing industry partners and expand collaboration to include new organizations. Efforts will be aimed at increasing consumer education, growing recycling capacity and advocacy.
Maintain or Increase Recycled Content Average
- Collaborate with our suppliers of steel and aluminum to improve the circularity of our materials.
- Continue supporting the improvement of the industry-wide recycled content average in metal packaging and transit products (paper, steel and plastic).
Increase Recycled Content of Plastic Strapping
- Increase recycling capacity at recycling centers.
- Source recycled material, both internally and externally supplied, at strapping centers.
Progress in Practice
Our employees and operations around the world are already advancing our approach to circularity. Here are just a few examples of how they are making a difference:
An Award-Winning Way to Close the Loop
Our Florence, Kentucky (U.S.) Transit Packaging facility developed a Closed Loop Recycling Program that collects and recycles polyester beverage containers, polyester strapping and other recyclable materials. Through the initiative, customers can return their used plastic strap to the plant where it is married with other recycled materials. As a result of this program, the plant can reduce its dependency on new raw material consumption and produce strap containing up to 85% recycled content. It also helps customers reduce their own packaging supplies waste and disposal costs. The full-circle system was recognized with a 2018 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Green Supply Chain Award.
Inspired by India: Steps Toward Zero
A producer of plastic packaging supplies including strapping, corner protectors and wrapping film, our Silvassa, India facility’s “Leading the Way Toward Zero” initiative aimed to minimize the use of “prime” materials and energy, among other goals. By plugging leakages, replacing light sources and making equipment modifications, the plant reduced average consumption per ton of production from 784 units in 2016 to 750 units in 2018. Non-prime material usage has increased for a range of strapping and board products, with contrax strap now incorporating 35% more non-prime material than in previous production years.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address global challenges and set a blueprint for action to achieve the goals by 2030.
Our sustainability priorities are aligned with the SDGs so that our actions can contribute to a greater collective impact. Learn more about our alignment with each goal.