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Blog | 05/06/2019 06:26:00

The New Plastics Economy: a major step forward in our sustainability efforts

Timo Kekki

Vice President, Global Films SBU, UPM Raflatac

Can you envision a world where plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable? We can, and we do. And we have taken another key step towards reaching such goals.

In the face of so many challenges, humanity needs more than bold thinkers and brave decision makers. It also requires team players who understand that cooperation gives extra strength and possibilities that make climbing even the highest peaks possible. Our vision of the future encompasses just that – hard work, dedication and collaboration for a greater good.

A New Plastics Economy

This greater good I envision is a world in which plastic waste is no longer a problem. At UPM Raflatac, we have been on a journey towards making the packaging industry more sustainable for many years now. But now we are going the extra mile in boosting our sustainability solutions and fulfilling our promise of labeling a smarter future beyond fossils.

Alongside many other industry stakeholders, we have partnered with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to join the New Plastics Economy initiative. Its goal is to completely reimagine how we produce, use and reuse plastics, and we are starting with an item of everyday use – packaging. Under this initiative, we will move towards a more circular economy. In practice, this means shifting from the high consumption of raw resources in mass producing quickly discarded packaging towards the utilization of more reusable, recyclable or compostable materials. These will ensure that more plastic will be kept in circulation, thereby reducing waste. Now, you might be wondering, how does one do all of this?

Three ways of reaching ambitious goals

First and foremost, this approach is about what we can do to provide value and help others. Joining the New Plastics Economy not only allows us to reach our established sustainability goals, but also allows us to enable others to do the same. A shared vision among all participants of this initiative makes reaching even the most ambitious goals possible.

Secondly, it’s about cooperation. With so many organizations joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s initiative, knowhow and support are spread along the whole value chain. Within a network of collaborating service providers, manufacturers, brand owners and other key players, it is simply easier to establish and share common ways of working and combine the best possible solutions for the challenges ahead.

Finally, we will all benefit from gaining a better industry view and understanding of the challenges we are facing. This will lead to accelerating the development of needed services and solutions. When organizations work together, the necessary and available solutions can be brought together to make sustainability goals materialize faster. Think of it as a cell phone, GPS and flashlight: all of these items alone serve a purpose, but by connecting them, we end up with a new device that is highly functional and open for further advancements. We are essentially aiming to develop the smart phone of packaging solutions.

We all have a part to play in making the world a better and cleaner place. This can be attempted alone or achieved by joining forces to discover new, previously hidden possibilities. Our tightly knit network offers customers and brands more – more innovative products, more choices and more power – thus fueling the journey towards a circular economy and clean environment. Together, any goal is possible.

Read more:

New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
Reduce, Recycle & Renew: UPM Raflatac Reducing the Use of Plastic Raw Materials 
Close the recycling loop with sustainable innovations
A truly circular system means free movement of materials – and information 



Timo Kekki

Timo Kekki

Vice President, Global Films SBU, UPM Raflatac | ”Nonlinearity keeps you curious. Think circular”"