Turning Banners into Bags: Collaboration closes the loop on difficult to recycle printed waste
Reconomy has partnered with outdoor signage, advertising and promotional materials experts Out of Hand and recycling specialists MYgroup to recycle printed banners into litter picking bags for charity Surfers Against Sewage to use in their beach clean up events.
Working with its expansive supply chain Reconomy has been exploring sustainable routes for difficult to recycle printed materials for some time. Printed banner materials provide a specific challenge due to the various plastic polymer types and inks that are used to create the finished product.
An initial pilot saw used exhibition graphics recovered and processed into 50 litter picking bags. These will be put to the test when Reconomy, MYgroup and Surfers Against Sewage team up for a beach clean up later this year. Going forward, the companies believe that there is the potential to repurpose around 34 tonnes of PVC graphics into over 40,000 litter picking bags per year – more than a year’s supply for the Surfers Against Sewage volunteers across the UK.
Katie Robinson, Textiles Specialist at MYgroup said: “At MYgroup, we always look to take on the challenge of recycling and remanufacturing difficult materials to give them a second life; PVC is a durable, weatherproof, and long-lasting material and ideal for outdoor banners, etc., but with display campaigns tending to be short-lived, they quickly become obsolete and are problematic to recycle through traditional methods. Surfers Against Sewage needed a sustainable solution for their litter bags and Out of Hand wanted to reduce their waste banner material. With a little ‘out the box’ thinking MYgroup and Reconomy have solved both issues reusing valuable secondary resources and avoiding the production of more virgin products.”
Dave Seal-Yates, Commercial Manager at Reconomy Said: “It’s exciting to partner on projects such as this which move a traditionally difficult to recycle waste stream up the waste hierarchy and help to conserve a finite resource. Linking in with Surfers Against Sewage to run a litter pick is a great way to raise awareness and continue to tackle the issue of litter and pollution in our local communities and environment. As a business, we want to be walking the walk by helping our customers achieve sustainable results, whilst also ourselves delivering against our own sustainability commitments”.
Nigel Muntz, Commercial Director at Out of Hand said: Within our outdoor advertising division, it has been challenging to find a sustainable option for disposing of clients’ out-of-charge PVC banners and avoid sending them to land fill or energy recovery. Having undertaken extensive research into recycling options for banner PVC within the marketplace, we are delighted to be working with Reconomy to repurpose this material, providing us with a true closed loop for this problem. I’m especially happy that the repurposed material is creating reusable litter picking bags, exclusively for use by the environmental conversation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) as part of their Million Mile Beach Clean to help stop plastic pollution on our beaches and coastline.
Despite the frequent media attention, ocean plastic pollution and litter continue to be an issue. Collectively the partnership teams are keen to continue raising awareness and provide a positive tangible environmental impact through volunteering time to help clean up local beaches.