In today’s world, everybody from producers to end consumers must be committed to protecting the environment, and seeking new, increasingly sustainable industrial processes is part of that commitment. Companies undertaking research in the field, and those involved in plastics conversion, can now obtain accreditation. EcoSense certification is a great option in this respect. This post explains what this seal of quality is, the steps to take, the requirements and how the certificate benefits your brand.
WHAT IS ECOSENSE CERTIFICATION?
EcoSense certification is a quality guarantee issued by the Plastic Sense Foundation that is valid for two years. The foundation was created in 2017 in response to a request by companies in the plastics industry and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment. Its mission is to provide visibility and transparency for the work performed by companies in the PET food-tray value chain in terms of the circular economy.
The EcoSense certification is awarded to companies that incorporate recycled PET flakes from delamination processes of multi-layer post-industrial and post-consumer waste as a secondary raw material into their production processes.
WHY THE FOCUS ON PET?
Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, is one of the most readily recyclable plastics, which is why it has been gradually replacing more polluting materials, such as PS and PVC, since it first appeared in the 90s. Because it is both safe and lightweight, it is one of the most commonly used packaging materials in the food and cosmetics industries. It is found in bottles of water and soft drinks, as well as food trays. It is also used to package hair and skincare products, as well as mouthwash.
Although its composition varies according to the particular preservation and transportation needs of individual food products, PET has the clear advantage of containing between 70% and 100% recycled PET, meaning it is easier to recover and recycle.
STEPS TO ECOSENSE CERTIFICATION
The Plastic Sense Foundation has broadened its scope to grant EcoSense certificates to producers of PET film and trays, as well as packaging companies, who recycle their post-industrial waste and reincorporate the recycled material into their trays. This recycled material must come from a recycling plant accredited by the Foundation.
The steps for obtaining ECOSENSE certification are as follows:
- Application: The plastics production company or packaging company should contact the PLASTIC SENSE FOUNDATION to express its interest in the certification.
- Scheduling an inspection: An independent inspection body, accredited by ENAC under standard ISO/IEC 17020, will contact the company to schedule an inspection to ensure it effectively recovers multi-layer polymers and reincorporates them into the cycle. The inspection will be carried out on site.
- Inspection: On the day, the inspector will examine each of the company’s production facilities to check that they meet the requirements. After the visit, the inspector will compile a report listing any issues for correction before the EcoSense certificate can be awarded.
- Resolution of issues: If any improvements are required, the company will be granted a grace period to resolve the issues and a Corrective Action Plan will be required. If any of the issues are related to traceability, an extra inspection will be carried out.
- Certificate awarded: If the company passes its inspection, an EcoSense certificate will be issued for two years.
- Annual checks: Regardless of the validity of the certificate, the accredited body will inspect the company’s paperwork every year to ensure all processes are still being performed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
RECYCLING: THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF THE PLASTICS SECTOR
At SP Group we are committed to research and updating technology to ensure our packaging is always at the forefront in the race for sustainability. Our packaging must be environmentally friendly, reduce our ecological footprint and be ideal for the circular economy. This is why in 2017 we were the first producers of PET film to be awarded the ECOSENSE certificate.
This was the result of theTray2Tray project we created in collaboration with a waste management company accredited by the Plastic Sense Foundation. The Tray2Tray project is an environmental sustainability project based on recycling and reusing both multi-layer PET packaging and complex-laminate packaging used as barrier packaging for food.
One of the main advantages of opting into our Tray2Tray project and being a member of the Plastic Sense Foundation is that you will be awarded the EcoSense certificate for reusing waste materials.
We share the goals of the Plastic Sense Foundation, striving to increase the amount of materials that are recycled while also increasing the amount of new packaging made from recycled plastic.
Our rPET solutions are a case in point. The mono-layer film is made entirely from recycled material and provides good mechanical resistance while maintaining excellent optical properties.
In a recent interview with Plastic Sense, our CEO, Francisco Bernal, discussed the key areas of sustainability that we are working on at SP Group. He highlighted how the ECOSENSE certification aligns with our vision and values, and explained our involvement in the project.
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