Two of the principles of this movement, which is becoming increasingly popular in society, are to reduce waste generation and to promote plastic recycling.

Avoid waste generation as much as possible. This is the fundamental principle of the Zero Waste movement, which builds on it various tips and recommendations that any citizen can put into practice in their lifestyle to reduce the production of waste and thus contribute to improving the environment. The commitment to the use of recycled plastic and the increase of its useful life in the economy are two of the initiatives proposed, with a special focus on its use in the food sector.

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Applying Zero Waste in our daily routine

The Zero Waste movement was born in the mid-1990s when different municipalities in the United States promoted parallel measures to reduce waste generation. The most paradigmatic case was that of San Francisco, which passed a law to reduce the amount of waste generated. The city plans to achieve a zero waste commitment by 2030, having doubled its product recycling rate over the last two decades.

Plastic is key to reducing waste production and thus achieving zero waste goal

Thanks to this accumulated experience, it has been possible to develop some key initiatives within this movement that can be applied in our daily lives, such as:

  • Rethink the way we shop, opting, for example, for products that do not use single-use plastics or that use materials such as recycled PET. In this sense, it is also worth mentioning the promotion of local commerce to avoid excessive use of plastic bags.
  • Use reusable packaging or, directly, favor the purchase of products in bulk. This will prevent companies from having to manufacture packaging to market their goods, reducing the generation of waste.
  • Implementing a ‘do it yourself’ philosophy, which means everything from growing garden produce whenever possible to making soap or deodorant at home to reduce store consumption of these goods.
  • Encourage creativity in the reuse of waste. For example, some food containers can be used to store things at home or even to make crafts with which to make toys for the little ones.

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Recycling above all else

One of the fundamental premises of the Zero Waste movement is the commitment to recycling, especially in the case of plastic, due to its widespread use in different industries and sectors. Currently, the most used type of plastic is PET, whose main component is polyethylene terephthalate or polyethylene terephthalate. This material has important advantages, such as:

  • High flexibility and light weight.
  • Easily cleanable.
  • High resistance to abrasion.
  • The chemical and thermal resistance it withstands.
  • It allows food to be preserved hermetically, preventing external agents from damaging its flavor or spoiling it.
  • Its transparency, which allows the consumer to see what the containers contain inside.

The importance of PET comes mainly as a result of innovation by companies such as REPETCO, which has been able to develop its own patented, nature-friendly system for multilayer PET/PE food packaging. Through a unique process, rPET pellets and rPET are generated that can be used again in the food industry with multilayer PET/PE trays and sheet packaging; in bottles for soft drinks or detergents; and in fibers for the textile and automotive industries.

PET is the most widely used type of plastic because of its unique properties and the benefits it brings to consumers

In the coming years and under the challenge of achieving zero waste generation, it will be necessary to increase the percentage of recycled PET included in the products that are marketed. In the case of trays used in the food industry, the average is that around 55% of their components are recycled plastic, which means that increasing this percentage will also increase their circularity.

To achieve this, it is necessary to focus on innovation in two ways: on one hand, to improve the collection of this type of products that end up in containers and landfills for their classification and subsequent reuse in recycling plants; on the other hand, to make the useful life of these products longer thanks to an increase in the number of reuses they can have, so as to minimize as much as possible the negative impact of plastic on the environment..

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