As part of our commitment to give new life to used materials, we work alongside companies, providing guidance and advice on how they can improve their circularity and meet their circular ambitions. One of our key priorities is to improve waste separation, and therefore recycling, and professional kitchens are an area in which we are delivering on this. In October 2020, we began a project with Unilever, working with the team managing their staff restaurant at their Foods & Refreshments HQ in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
According to Mike Ross, Global Packaging Leader, Unilever Food Solutions, in 2019 the company launched an ambitious new commitment – to collect and process more plastic packaging than they sell by 2025. “Our focus is to halve our use of virgin plastic in our packaging. We are working hard to tackle plastic packaging waste and delivering on it through partnerships and collaborations that drive change beyond our own operations,” he says.
Plastic waste gathered from professional kitchens is often co-mingled with general waste and ends up being incinerated. Renewi in the Netherlands is working to separate plastic, metal and drink cartons in these kitchens. The collected separated plastic material is sorted, cleaned and converted into secondary products, such as park benches, or as input to the creation of circular polymers from which new food-grade packaging can be made.