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Stockport firm launches packaging recyclability training

Recycling specialist Axion has launched a new service to help businesses understand what design choices they can make for their packaging to be recyclable.

Recycling specialist Axion has launched a new service to help businesses understand what design choices they can make for their packaging to be recyclable.

The company’s in-house bespoke training course aims to educate staff on waste management operations in the UK and Europe, so companies can understand what ‘recyclable’ actually means in practice.

The course covers what infrastructure is in place, how sorting and recycling processes work and how packaging design impacts these processes. 

Knowledge gap

Richard McKinlay, heard of circular economy at Axion, said that industry was facing heavy pressure to ensure packaging is recyclable, with many firms looking to make all of their packaging recyclable or compostable within a set time limit. 

“This is a new area for many companies - they are not waste management or recycling organisations. They may not understand why certain design choices are important”, he said.

“If you don’t understand the basics of why certain design choices need to be made, then ensuring your packaging can be recycled is impossible.”

The big issue behind the scenes

Axion recently argued that the issue of single-use plastics - which has received significant attention from politicians and the media - was “tiny” compared to the amount other packaging being exported to developing countries with poor waste management practices. 

In 2017, the UK exported 66 per cent of its plastic packaging waste, nearly 700,000 tonnes, to countries with poorly developed processing facilities. 

Richard McKinlay added: “We must tackle the issue of exporting huge quantities of material. The only way to do this is a complete supply chain approach and understanding where we stand today, where we need to be and, most importantly, how to get there.”