, 78 per cent of Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) manufacturing businesses think that direct financial support to help with the initial costs of switching would help them to increase recycled content. WRAP Cymru has responded to this need by launching their first grant scheme specifically for manufacturing companies in Wales.
The new grant scheme sets out to encourage more SME manufacturing businesses to increase use of recycled materials in the manufacturing process or in packaging, using materials sourced in Wales where possible.
WRAP will award successful applicants funding which can be used either for new production and packaging plants and equipment or to adapt existing equipment to facilitate the use of recycled materials. The scheme can also fund any additional initial promotional costs to ‘relaunch’ a product with its enhanced level of recycled content.
Peter Webster, market development manager at WRAP Cymru, said: "Manufacturing remains a key sector in Wales, and our own research has shown there is a huge potential for SMEs in this sector to use more recycled materials in their products or packaging.
"This type of grant is a first for Wales, and for WRAP. We are confident that it will enable Welsh manufacturers to seek sources of recycled material in Wales and decrease the need for recyclable waste to be reprocessed or reused outside of Wales.
"Clearly prices of virgin materials will rise over time, so this project will stimulate the market for recycled materials produced in Wales, divert waste from landfill, and ultimately help businesses to cut their input costs. We also believe consumers are increasingly interested in the environmental implications of the products they buy, so incorporating more recyclate can offer an additional advantage in the market."
Aberystwyth-based Rachel’s Dairy was one of the first yoghurt producers to announce the use of recycled plastic in its packaging. This move meant that Rachel’s have significantly reduced the amount of waste going to landfill and substantially reduced CO2 emissions.
Steve Clarke, marketing director, said: "One of the most pertinent issues affecting grocery manufacturers today is the quest for the perfect package. Packaging must be convenient, innovative, hygienic, attractive, informative, and increasingly, green. Since we changed our packaging from 100% plastic to a cardboard pot with a plastic liner and overcap, we prevented around 200 tonnes of plastic going to landfill.
"In 2009 we went a step further and, enlisting the help of WRAP, starting using recycled plastic in our packaging where the liner and overcap are made from 60% recycled PET.
"We’re always looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint and use more and more recycled packaging in our products. We aim to be able to provide the consumer with the first yogurt pot made 100% from recycled plastics, however we need the technology to advance before we can develop this further.
"Using recycled materials can bring cost-savings and environmental benefits to businesses, and grants like these from WRAP Cymru will mean that more manufacturing companies in Wales that have concerns over cost will now be able to receive the support they need."
Applications are welcome until December 2010 and funding is available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Successful applicants will be required to provide details of the quantities of recyclate they use as a result of the investment: WRAP Cymru will work with them to help identify sources of appropriate material from Welsh processors.
For details of this new grant scheme and all of WRAP Cymru’s work go to www.wrapcymru.org.uk or call the team on 02920 448090.