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Supporting the circular economy – it’s time we all take responsibility says

The linear ‘take, make, dispose’ culture the world has come to adopt is not sustainable. Collecting raw materials, transforming them into products that are used just once and then disposed of relies on an infinitive availability of natural resources – something our economy cannot provide. Take plastics for example; they are hugely versatile materials but the way we use them is incredibly wasteful.

In the UK, we recycle just 45% of plastics. That means 55% of all our plastic waste potentially ends up in landfill or as litter in the countryside. The same properties that make plastics so useful — their durability and resistance to degradation — also make them nearly impossible for nature to completely break down.

Clearly something needs to be done to move closer towards a circular ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ culture – an economic model that rather than wastefully disposing of natural resources, reuses them as much as possible and recycles them at the end of their long use.

And this starts with us as businesses and consumers. If we are to make the absolute best use of the plastic we have already created, we must ALL do our bit!

Brands embracing circularity

In the last few years, many big brands have upped their environmental commitment by taking positive action to reduce plastic waste.

Back in 2007, Co-op was the first UK retailer to remove plastic carrier bags from its stores and replace them with certified compostable carrier bags. The compostable bags are certified as being suitable for food waste collections and to use in home-compost bins. Since this move, Co-op says it has removed a whopping 55 million single-use plastic bags from circulation.

More recently in 2021, the retailer announced that all of its own-brand packaging was recyclable and introduced an in-store soft plastic recycling scheme, allowing consumers to return and recycle those soft plastics you can’t normally recycle at home – like bread bags and crisp packets.

‘Probably the best beer in the world’ Carlsberg has introduced some ground-breaking innovations in recent years to reduce plastic waste. This includes its Snap Pack technology, which Carlsberg launched in the UK in 2019, replacing plastic shrink wrap or rings with glue dots that hold packs of cans together. The move reduced plastic packaging by up to 76% per multipack. Carlsberg is continuing to innovate its use of recycled plastics for product packaging. The shrink film it uses for products in Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, and Sweden is made of 100% recycled plastic. In Finland alone, this will save 200 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Another brand with strong environmental credentials is The Body Shop. Since starting in 1976, the company has always believed it can be a force for good. In 2019, The Body Shop launched its Return, Recycle, Repeat scheme to encourage in-store recycling. Shoppers can choose to return to store and refill their products or recycle their used tubs and tubes.

The Body Shop aims to fully embrace circularity by investing in packaging innovations and eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging. By 2025, the cosmetics company is committed to offering packaging that is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Our ground-breaking approach

But it’s not just the big brands that are leading the charge in plastic waste recycling. Within the plastic pallet industry, made a revolutionary commitment to make the most of this valuable plastic resource. In February 2019, the company pioneered the UK plastic pallet industry’s first plastic pallet recycling scheme, making the commitment to recover and recycle all of its plastic products and turn them into new recycled pallets.

Currently, 96% of its plastic pallets are made from post-consumer plastic and redundant plastic pallets and boxes.

Jim Hardisty, Managing Director at said, “At, we are committed to driving the circular economy and leaving a better world for future generations through sustainable operations and our responsible recycling scheme.

“Working with our manufacturing partners, we recycle our plastic products into new plastic pallets, creating a continuous recycling loop. Our recycled plastic pallets offer high-quality performance and last up to 10 times longer than wooden pallets, so they can be used time and time again. At the end of their long working life, we will collect them back, and start the circular process again.”

Plastic Packaging Tax

With the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax in April, Jim expects there to be an increased demand for recycled materials.

Jim added, “I expect the Plastic Packaging Tax will create even greater demand for packaging made from recycled materials. This can only be a good thing as we strive for a more circular and sustainable future.”’s recycling scheme is open to all plastic pallets, boxes and crates no matter who supplied them. Let recycle your plastic pallets and boxes by getting in touch with one of the recycling experts