The current situation firstly represents a major hazard for ecosystems. And secondly, the industry loses important recyclable materials due to such thoughtlessness. ALPLA has no direct influence on waste management or on how consumers dispose of packaging after use. But a sustainable circular economy undeniably prevents littering, preserves valuable materials, conserves natural resources and offers advantages both to the consumers and the environment. This is something which we advocate.
ALPLA believes in recycling
In October 2018, ALPLA signed the New Plastics Economy’s Global Commitment. This is an initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation together with the United Nations Environment Programme. In signing the Global Commitment, ALPLA has pledged to achieve ambitious targets (see ‘Recycling and the circular economy’). We will also invest around 50 million euros a year in recycling up to 2025.
Günther Lehner, CEO
Pulling together for the environment
We aim to offer the best packaging solution for every area of use. We naturally also support our customers in implementing their sustainability goals. For example, we work with Plastic Bank together with our customer Henkel. This social enterprise has set itself the objective of combating the problem of plastic waste in the oceans while also creating opportunities for people living in poverty. Local populations can hand in plastic waste in exchange for money or social benefits. We process the materials collected into (non-food-grade) rPET at our PET Recycling Team Wöllersdorf recycling plant and use this exclusively for the production of new packaging for Henkel.
Alongside other projects dedicated to the reuse of what’s known as beach plastic, ALPLA supports environmental organisations that combat ocean pollution (including The SeaCleaners and Waste Free Oceans).
World Environment Day: ALPLA is committed to environmental protection
In 1972, the United Nations declared ‘World Environment Day’ on the opening day of the first Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Since then, some 150 nations have marked this initiative annually with events and activities on 5 June, and ALPLA was once again involved this year.
The theme of World Environment Day 2021 was ecosystem restoration under the motto of ‘Reimagine, recreate, restore’. As in previous years, we organised activities around the world in order to make a positive contribution once again. We were able to send a clear message of environmental protection thanks to the active support of our employees. Many ALPLA sites around the world answered the company’s call and participated in clean-up campaigns between June and October. Employees collected rubbish around the company grounds and surrounding areas and disposed of it correctly. The teams also cleaned entire stretches of beach. We were overwhelmed by the high level of participation around the world and by the positive feedback we received.
As we are fully aware that our business also has an impact on the environment, ALPLA will be supporting the non-profit organisation The SeaCleaners financially in 2021. This organisation collects plastic waste along the coastline and in the oceans and turns it into valuable resources.
We will set a budget in order to financially support initiatives that combat marine litter.
In 2013, ALPLA signed up to the Zero Pellet Loss (ZPL) initiative to minimise the loss of small pieces of plastic at our plants. Pellets are small beads of raw plastic that can easily disappear down cracks or behind machinery or get stuck in the soles of workers’ shoes. They then find their way into the environment or into bodies of water. All kinds of measures have been developed and introduced to prevent this, such as custom-built vacuum cleaners, collection systems in silos and tailored wastewater sifters.
Encouragingly, Zero Pellet Loss has been introduced at more and more sites. ALPLA Mexico has now joined the programme, following in the footsteps of places such as Fußach, Dubai and Berlin. In doing so, ALPLA Mexico has taken on a pioneering role in Mexico in terms of establishing measures to prevent the loss of pellets into the environment. Zero Pellet Loss is also being introduced at our site in Çayırova, Turkey, under the leadership of Salih Sancak, who is part of our Sustainability team there.
The ZPL programme is also up and running at all the Brazilian plants (Louveira, Itapevi, São Paulo, Duque de Caxias and Cabo de Santo Agostinho) with the exception of Camo Grande, where only preforms are processed. A dedicated dashboard has been introduced to monitor the ZPL programme at all the sites.
In 2018, ALPLA got involved in a school project in Poland which taught children about recycling and its importance. ‘Waste management and the recycling of valuable materials are not very well developed in Poland compared with other European countries,’ explains Piotr Popiel, Operations Manager at the ALPLA plant in Żywiec. ‘It’s therefore important that we educate people. And the best place to start is with the kids.’ More than 100 schoolchildren aged between eight and twelve visited the Żywiec plant with their teachers. There, they learned about how recycling works and were able to touch plastic pellets, preforms and packaging solutions to learn about the materials cycle in a fun way. The highlight for them was then a tour of the plant. Afterwards, the schoolchildren were all in agreement: ‘Recycling is important and all of us can start doing it at home.’