ECOSENSE Certification / 10.05.2021

ECOSENSE in focus: interview to Rui Silva, CPO at EVERTIS

ECOSENSE in focus: interview to Rui Silva, CPO at EVERTIS

EVERTIS arose from innovation in the search for plastic solutions to replace other materials. 60 years later, this ECOSENSE company, pioneer in PET film extrusion, has become a global provider of sustainable packaging solutions.

1.- How was the company founded and what are the main characteristics that define it today?

We are a family business that started from an interest in innovation through plastic solutions that substituted other materials due to the numerous advantages of this material. Three generations later and with over 60 years of experience, we grew from pioneers in PET film extrusion to global suppliers of sustainable packaging solutions. Being part of a group who has been in the polymers industry since 1959, EVERTIS counts on a wealth of expertise and know-how shared across our geographical locations. As a result of the close collaboration between our production sites in Brazil, Mexico and Portugal, we share our global experience to provide customers with products that not only perform their functions but are also recyclable.

At EVERTIS, we are experts in the production of mono & multilayer semi rigid barrier films essentially for the Food Packaging Industry, thermoformers and blisters. Additionally, under the IMG Group, we partner with our sister company SELENIS who produces PET based specialty resins. This gives us additional advantages and access to the development of our main raw materials. Together with our sister company we have focused our innovation on packaging that is fully recyclable.

2.- How does ECOSENSE fit into your sustainability plans?

For EVERTIS receiving the ECOSENSE Certificate was an important step in the right direction regarding our sustainability goals, considering it adds value to our products and contributes to an increasingly transparent European plastic industry.

This certificate recognizes our efforts of buying and incorporating post-industrial and post-consumer multilayer PET and reintroducing recycled PET from the delamination processes as secondary raw material in our production of film. We are committed to target an average incorporation of 50% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content, and the recycled material from ECOSENSE is an important source to meet that target.

3.- What innovation projects have you developed or are in progress?

EVERTIS focuses innovation on developing films that are fully recyclable in the PET stream whilst maintaining the characteristics needed to protect the content packed. We have recently launched the IR Black family, which are monolayer or multilayer films that are formulated with an IR Black masterbatch that is detectable by the current sorting technology in recycling processes. Standard packages produced with carbon black pigments are non-detectable and difficult to sort during the separation process. Consequently, films produced with carbon black masterbatches end up in mixed polymer stream and therefore are not recycled. EVERTIS has developed this new sustainable alternative that is carbon black free, improving the recyclability of the material and the packaging. As a result, this achieves a solution for a circular economy.

Additionally, we’ve launched Ecoseal, a recyclable APET film with enhanced sealing capabilities. This is the perfect solution for a fully recyclable APET mono-material packaging tray as the need for a PE layer is eliminated. This solution is suitable for Form-Fill-Seal and thermoforming processes in applications such as cheese, processed meat and fresh meat, fish, pizza, and others.

4.- What do you think about the mediatic fight against plastics / the plastic tax?

EVERTIS believes that one of the biggest issues with plastic is the waste that is generated when packaging is not disposed of appropriately to be recycled or upcycled. We are highly involved in collaborating with the industry and governments to collectively act together in one direction. We are signing members of several pacts, such as the European Plastics Pact, as well as members of associations such as Petcore Europe and NAPCOR. Through them we have contributed to communication campaigns that tackle another big issue, misinformation and the need to sensitize the end consumers on the benefits of PET as well as inform on correct disposal so that plastic never becomes waste. Recycling is an essential part of a circular economy, ensuring that resources are valued not wasted, or ending up in our natural environment.

5.- What are your goals for 2021?

We envision a future with increased use of recycled content in our films, greater recyclability of our products and lowest feasible carbon footprint where our group plays a leading role in sensitizing our communities to the benefits of recycling PET and advancing a closed loop economy.

At EVERTIS, we work towards complying with the ESG responsibilities and they are fully integrated into our daily  work as  well  as continually  reviewed by our  Sustainability  Committee.  In this  regard,  we  develop objectives, programs and actions to drive sustainable development throughout our sustainability model, based on 5 pillars: Governance, Circular Economy, Innovation, Environment and People.

In 2021 we are launching several programs to improve our water and energy efficiency as well as reduce the use of chemicals in water treatment to zero, as well as turning to renewable energy sources in the near future.

Additionally, by the end of the year, all our production sites will be part of the Operation Clean Sweep Program to prevent the loss of plastic granules, such as pellets, flakes and powders. By signing this pledge, we recognize the importance of preventing spillages into the environment and commit to the main six actions of their program. Finally, we have recently signed the business call for a UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution.

6.       What are the prospects for the sector in the coming years?

We believe that the whole industry needs to rethink and improve the functionality of packaging along the value chain, since it’s crucial to solve the challenge of plastic waste. Recyclability should be the main concern and innovation should be centered in products that contribute to a circular economy. It’s crucial that the industry satisfy the needs of our customers at the same time as we meet the recycling rates defined by the directives.

By increasing the recyclability of our products, we also contribute to an increased supply of recycled content available for the tray packaging industry. Given the boost in pledges regarding incorporation of recycled content by all the main bottling companies, the demand for recycled content has increased significantly in the last years, and if we are to meet pledges and most importantly the directives set by the EU, we need to increase the availability of recycled content.

There is a need to step up collaboration between governments, legal entities and the industry. The targets are challenging, if we are to meet them all the stakeholders need to support the  industry  with  investments on collection and separation to match the demand for recycled content. In all, we believe that the industry is making a huge collective effort.