Mars, SABIC and Huhtamaki: Supporting the Circular Economy
Mars, the multinational, American manufacturer of all your favourite chocolate bars, your pets’ favourite food, and a few other bits that you’ll find at the bottom of the pantry, is trying it’s best to become “eco-friendly”. The company has announced today that it will incorporate recycled polypropylene plastic into the primary packaging for some of its popular pet food brands.
For Mars, this marks an important step in its efforts to reduce virgin plastics use across its packaging portfolio, to do its part to build a circular economy where no packaging becomes waste.
Through its partnership with global packaging supplier Huhtamaki and petrochemical leader SABIC, Mars will use recycled plastic which has been manufactured using an advanced recycling process for its pet food packs. Thanks to this process, the packs will not feel or be different from those made with traditional virgin plastic but will have the added benefits that they include recycled material coming from previously used plastic products.
The recycling approach used by SABIC to make its certified circular polypropylene is one of the only solutions currently available that is able to take mixed, used plastic that is otherwise hard to recycle via traditional recycling routes and to transform them back into plastic suitable for new food-grade recycled packaging. Mars is piloting this in Europe in 2020 and will increase volumes used into 2021, with ambitions to expand the use of recycled content to other brands.
Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, said: “Plastic packaging littering our land and oceans is not acceptable, and at Mars, we’re committed to helping address this problem. To do this, we need to reduce packaging we don’t need, redesign the remaining packaging to become circular and invest to close the loop to help scale up recycling systems.
“Through our partnership with Huhtamaki and SABIC, we will test-and-learn, progressively scale up recycled plastic content in our packs, and ultimately help drive circular packaging systems.”
The recycled material is certified under the ISCC PLUS (Institute of Sustainability & Carbon Certification) scheme that uses a “mass balance” approach. This widely recognized international sustainability certification scheme verifies the quality and authenticity of the recycled material along the supply chain from feedstock to final product.
The partnership comes as part of Mars’ and ambitions to use 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. Using advanced recycling technology will be an instrumental part in achieving use of 30% recycled plastics and to reduce virgin plastic use by 25%.
Charles Héaulmé, President and CEO of Huhtamaki said: “We are fully committed to playing our part in building a circular economy across the value chain and partnering with others to do so. Our strategic partnership with Mars and SABIC is a great example of how collaboration can result in breakthroughs that deliver significant progress in our journey to designing 100% of our products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030. This new flexible packaging structure with recycled food-grade plastic is an important milestone on our journey towards achieving more than 80% of raw materials we use to be either renewable or recycled.”
Mark Vester, Global Circular Economy Leader at SABIC, said: “We are proud to show how this collaboration with Mars and Huhtamaki reflects our trust and willingness for innovation and a shared constructive and pioneering spirit. At SABIC we are committed to developing new solutions to meet our customers’ demands for increasingly sustainable solutions. SABIC’s certified circular products from our TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio offer a carbon footprint reduction of 2kgs of CO2 for every kilogram of polymer produced diverted from incineration. Only through partnerships such as this can we prove the commercial viability and sustainability contribution of advanced recycling processes to help confront the challenges our society is facing today.”
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.