Contributing to a CIRCULAR ECONOMY is one of our group’s top priorities. Today, together with Flemish ministers Hilde Crevits and Zuhal Demir, GAASCH PACKAGING signed the "Green Deal Anders Verpakt" or "Green Deal Differently Packed". Together with more than 80 other leading companies and organisations, we commit to reduce the amount of single-use packaging in Flanders by 15,000 tons, which is equivalent to 300 million units. We hereby commit to actively support projects that give the consumer more choice to avoid buying single-use packaging and to opt for products that are packaged 'differently'.
WHY THIS GREEN DEAL?
More and more single-use packaging is coming onto the market. In the last 10 years, the amount of household disposable packaging increased by 10%. The total weight of single-use packaging for consumer goods was estimated at over 900,000 tons per year in Belgium in 2019.
"Today we are joining forces to reduce this mountain of waste. The transition to a circular economy is one of the top priorities within Flemish policy," explains Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits. "The entire chain is involved: from suppliers and shops to experts in circular products. The social aspect of this Green Deal is not unimportant either: the projects offer extra work in the social economy. For example, more and more sheltered workplaces develop capabilities for cleaning, quality control and refilling of packaging."
PREVENTION AND REUSE ARE CENTRAL
In a circular economy, material cycles are closed as much as possible to avoid the use of primary raw materials and to reuse materials and products for as long as possible. "Recycling is good, but reusing or even leaving out packaging completely is better", says Flemish Minister of the Environment Zuhal Demir. "Today we are already the European leader in recycling. With this Green Deal, we want to reinforce our ambition to play an exemplary role in reuse as well. Together with various leading companies, we want to convince consumers to disregard single-use packaging and switch to reusable alternatives. In this way, we can significantly reduce our waste mountain. Not only the environment will benefit, but so will our wallets," Demir says.
NEED FOR NEW SOLUTIONS
Because single-use packaging is often developed for a specific product, it is not always easy to change this packaging to a reusable alternative or to get rid of it altogether. This often requires rethinking the entire business model. There are uncertainties regarding the effective reduction of the environmental impact, customer acceptance, financial consequences for the company, additional workload, consequences for product protection and quality, and so on.
Nevertheless, there are examples that show it can be done and there is an increasing ambition within the distribution chain to make packaging more sustainable. By cooperating with knowledge centres and pioneering companies, this Green Deal should offer the participating companies an answer to their pertinent questions regarding the prevention and reuse of packaging. Together, we are looking for solutions that will reduce the environmental impact of packaged goods. The concrete projects put theory into practice.