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Greening the global plastics value chain – the right step ahead

Source:Rosti Group     Date:2022-08-25
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There is no denying that, due to its near-infinite uses and applications and sheer speed from innovation to manufacturing, the world relies heavily on plastic.  This in turn has led to further innovation and its application has positively impacted the lives of millions around the world.


The science tells us that wasteful usage (think single use plastics) and wasteful manufacturing is one of the contributing factors to climate change.  This inconsiderate application results in tonnes of plastic going to landfill, or worse ending up in the oceans, most of which will still be around in generations to come. And understandably, as the focus shifts to individual companies’ responsibilities in mitigating climate change, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) has become one of the hottest boardroom topics in recent years. 


But blanket banning the use of plastic, is as impossible as it is impractical. For some, reducing excess packaging and single use plastic is a visible first step.  But the biggest positive impact can be realised within the supply chain.


Patrick Williams_Rosti web.jpg

Mr. Patrick WilliamsSenior Vice President, Rosti Asia


The solution, and the responsibility, falls not just on the producers of products or the plastics manufacturers, but on all those across the entire value chain to unite in the agenda to reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Choosing the right partner opens the opportunity to a greener supply chain. Through close collaboration with a tech-driven manufacturer it also reveals a number of competitive advantages. It reduces your Time-To-Market, allows you to leverage the benefits of specific industry knowledge and manufacturing capabilities, and save costs, allowing you to innovate seamlessly, and have greater control over the quality and performance of your products, and - of course - your sustainability agenda.


What steps can you take to green up the plastics value chain?


In-house development of core resources

The last few years have seen dramatic shifts in behaviours and the lessons learnt have resulted in an increase in opportunity and innovation. Within a number of trends resonating off the back of the pandemic one that stands out, as a result of the disruption to the supply chain, is the regionalisation of manufacturing. With more and more businesses looking to manufacture core parts closer to the rest of their operations. This does bring both environmental and operational benefits. Not only does this lower the carbon footprint of the project overall, it also allows better control over technology.


Back the right manufacturer

Partnering with manufacturers who are innovative in their approach and where designing for sustainability and operating responsibly are built into their culture is a fundamental step to bringing sustainable supply chain into focus.  But choosing the right partner that fulfils your manufacturing and sustainability needs is not easy.  You must look not only at their sustainability goals but also at their influence on the supply chain and into how their business operates. An example of this can be seen in Rosti’s Commitment to a culture of Reduce and Reuse, Replace and Respect, and Recycle and Recover and how this supports the move from, Linear to Circular economies. Documented in the Rosti sustainability framework and lived out in the commitment to goals of an increased use of BIO based resin, reduction in operational CO2, and zero waste to landfill by 2025.


Invest in sustainability-specific innovation

Companies must start investing in innovation that helps to recycle products. A great example of this is the LED lightbulb.  Not only is it a longer lasting, more energy efficient product that exceeds the performance and versatility of the traditional lightbulb, but through its use of plastic, it is one that can now be recycled and become part of the circular economy.


Conclusion

It is the responsibility of all those across the value chain to commit to this effort to build and support an ecosystem of responsible partners.  From those who are investing key resources into tracking their products, to those who are part of an extended producer responsibility, and beyond.


About the Author:  Patrick (Pat) Williams is the Senior Vice President for Rosti Asia, responsible for strategic direction, vison, growth, and performance of Rosti’s flagship facilities. Under Pat’s visionary guidance, the Group has transformed from a high-end custom moulding business into a provider of integrated technology solutions, products, and services.  


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