The importance of circular economy

Marcin Lapaj, the global business development manager of Henkel AG was in India. During a talk on circular economy, he said, "It is broader than just recycling. It covers design and the use of recycled materials." He stated that circular economy is broader than just recycling; and it covers design and the use of recycled materials.

12 Oct 2019 | By WhatPackaging? Team

Marcin Lapaj, the global business development manager of Henkel at the Elite Plus Global Summit 2019

He added, only waste that is collected, can be recycled.

Marcin Lapaj was clear that every material for which we do not have a recycling process becomes waste eventually.

Through additional investments in waste collection worldwide, plastics pollution can already be avoided. Lapaj spoke of different types of collection pathways. These are: communal pickups to recycling yard to dedicated bins to in-store returns.

Different types of plastics cannot be recycled together, they need to be sorted apart. By introducing recycling, we can turn waste back into valuable material. Some countries send all waste to landfills where valuables are “picked” manually under precarious conditions. Sorting rates can be as high as in very developed countries.

Mechanical recycling of plastics occurs by melting, filtering and degassing in an extruder. All inks, coatings and adhesives are blended into the plastic recyclate, reducing its purity. Whereas chemical recycling can convert plastics back into raw materials identical to fossil ones.

His message was we need innovation. In addition to work on the choice of materials, the existing system, the existing production-consumption structures, but also working on transforming the packaging system – to make it more sustainable.

In order to quickly and reliably determine the recyclability of new packaging, Henkel offers a software tool EasyD4R. Henkel. It is available on its website under so that more companies and organisations can use it and more easily develop sustainable packaging solutions.

WhatPackaging? View: A problem in India is: everyone thinks in terms of their factory gate, their store entrance, or home dustbin. The scope of responsibility extends far beyond those limits. Whenever a customer makes a purchase and thus becomes the owner of the plastic bag, he or she also becomes part of an integrated system. So solutions have to be devised from a holistic standpoint. All the players – from the politicians who write the policy, the manufacturers, the wholesalers and the retailers right through to the consumers – bear a common responsibility.