Skip Navigation LinksA truly circular system means free movement of materials – and information

Horizontal divider
Nov 20
A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and information

The circular economy is about much more than just recycling. Shifting to a truly circular model means moving away from today’s dominant linear produce-use-dispose model. In a circular system, products and materials move around continuously and are not disposed after use, but are instead reused or recycled.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) Circular Economy 100 programme, which UPM Raflatac has joined, is a global network promoting this change. The foundation advances a circular economy by sharing concrete actions and innovations with a variety of actors from across society.

Sustainable solutions only come from common targets

Building a circular future requires several steps and true collaboration. The first step is to form common targets – without them, there are no shared priorities, and the circular economy will be mere words.

Common targets help us address key questions and improve processes and production. For example, many products are not optimized for recycling. Labels that are compostable or ideally supporting package recycling may currently be mismatched with the wrong product composition which make the original circular design useless. These gaps between the old and upcoming systems needs to be closed, and in this case, the common target of increasing recyclability clarifies obvious sustainable solutions.

In addition to enhancing existing processes, we need new projects based on the circular economy, such as the EMF-led New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. UPM Raflatac is one of 250 signatory organizations, many of whom have committed to 100% of their plastic packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Free flow of information in every direction

In the linear economy model, both materials and information move only in one direction. The designers and manufactures rarely, and only slowly, get any feedback from end customers, delaying their reactions to needs in the market.

Only when information and knowledge flows freely in every direction can a model indeed be circular. Information is needed at all value chain stages, from innovation and design to product development, manufacturing, use, reuse and recycling. Information sharing and open discussion enable the creation of holistic solutions for a sustainable future.

Shared information and a shared understanding of a circular economy – including the steps and challenges involved in reaching this goal – are necessary. But we also need to test and implement these steps in reality. Hence, we at UPM Raflatac are searching and implementing new innovations for smarter and more circular labeling and packaging solutions – for example, using removable labels to enable package reuse. What are your organization's actions towards a truly circular model?

Read more:
Circular economy in the label industry »
Our recent white paper on how UPM Raflatac is working towards a sustainable future »


 
  
Oona Koski
Sustainability Manager, UPM Raflatac 

 
”Don't underestimate the power of innovation. An idea that first look like irrelevant and silly can be the one changing the world."

 Comments

 All Blogs

 

 

Labels: the missing link in sustainable packaginghttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=13Labels: the missing link in sustainable packaging2018-12-12T11:06:00Z
A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and informationhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=12A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and information2018-11-20T12:06:00Z
New trends and fresh opportunities for food labels http://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=11New trends and fresh opportunities for food labels 2018-10-30T12:36:00Z
If you want to be sustainable, take actionhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=10If you want to be sustainable, take action2018-10-11T07:27:00Z
It all started from the foresthttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=9It all started from the forest2018-09-27T11:10:00Z
Sustainability is our strategyhttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=8Sustainability is our strategy2018-06-14T07:06:00Z
The role of design in sustainable packaginghttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=7The role of design in sustainable packaging2018-05-18T07:19:00Z
Target 2030: Introducing the Biofore Site concepthttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=6Target 2030: Introducing the Biofore Site concept2018-04-27T09:40:00Z
A fresh look at the world of labelshttp://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=5A fresh look at the world of labels2018-04-13T07:15:00Z
The circular economy – time to be radical!http://www.upmraflatac.com/blog/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=4The circular economy – time to be radical!2018-03-09T06:02:00Z