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A 5-year journey – UPM Raflatac announces further progress towards the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment

UPM Raflatac has made further progress toward a more circular economy for plastics and a future beyond fossils in 2022. The progress towards 2025 commitments is detailed in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment 2023 Progress Report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The report provides transparency on how major businesses are addressing the plastic pollution crisis.

“We joined the Global Commitment five years ago as the first label materials company. As a supplier in the packaging value chain, this presents an opportunity to transparently showcase our actions to provide solutions for brands and designers as they aim for more circular packaging,” says Robert Taylor, Sustainability Director, UPM Raflatac.

As highlighted in the report, UPM Raflatac continued its work toward a future beyond fossils by taking several notable actions in 2022.

The company introduced the award-winning Ocean Action labels. The innovative label material not only helps prevent plastic waste from ending up in the oceans but also offers brand owners the possibility to meet their recycled content targets for packaging.

UPM Raflatac also extended its CarbonNeutral® product portfolio, with certifications in accordance with the CarbonNeutral Protocol for RAFNXT+ and Linerless label materials. During the year 2022, UPM Raflatac customers avoided and reduced label material carbon emissions by over 5,000 tons of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) simply by selecting UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+ labels instead of standard label materials.

UPM Raflatac earned recognition for recycling compatibility

As highlighted in the report, UPM Raflatac received RecyClass recognitions for pressure sensitive labels for PP and HDPE container recycling, addressing the issue of recycling stream contamination. The granted recognitions expand UPM Raflatac’s portfolio of RecyClass recognized PE label materials and extend the portfolio to include PP label materials.

In addition, the company earned recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) for their undecorated white and clear PP (polypropylene) pressure-sensitive label materials, specifically designed for PP bottle recycling.

RafCycle, UPM Raflatac’s label waste recycling service also continued strong as the number of partnerships expanded from about 300 to over 400. The service recycles label waste and gives them new life.

UPM Raflatac offers solutions with bio-based materials and recycled content

In 2022, the sales of UPM Raflatac’s bio-based plastic increased by over 70%. UPM Raflatac Forest Film™, a renewable alternative to plastics, is one of the company’s solutions to replace traditional fossil-based options.

Furthermore, UPM Raflatac’s products with recycled content saw significant sales growth, including film face materials and film liners with increased recycled content. One example of these products is UPM Raflatac’s Vanish PCR label, which features at least 90% post-consumer recycled content.

“The Global Commitment has been significant in developing the packaging circularity agenda and meaningful progress has been made. We need to keep the ambition and UPM Raflatac will continue to accelerate concrete actions to tackle plastic waste through the development of its product and service offer,” Taylor says.