Corplex’ CEO Lucas van der Schalk was recently interviewed by Business Reporter at their London offices. He offered insights on how plastics closed loops systems contribute to sustainability and change public opinion.
3R principle: reduce, reuse, recycle
Plastics are currently at a low point in public opinion, says Corplex CEO Lucas van der Schalk. However, he notes, plastics – depending on how they are produced and used – can be both useful and beneficial to environmental conservation.
Sustainability shouldn’t be an endpoint, but a way of life. At Corplex, that means reducing the amount of waste that’s being created to begin with – from the material itself to the amount of air that is shipped – and lowering the carbon footprint for both Corplex and its customers. Only once this has happened can new packaging solutions, which enable us to reuse and recycle materials most effectively, be designed and introduced into a new production cycle. “The simplest way of putting it is that very little waste leaves our sites,” says van der Schalk. “All of our sites are self-contained insofar as they produce the products and convert them into whatever is needed – the final product will then be ready for the customer.”
Changing the concept of recyclability
Corplex doesn’t just recycle its own industrial waste, it also works with customers to help take some of their waste back. “We work with a third-party supplier to take this post-industrial material and turn it into pellets that can also be introduced into our production cycle,” says Lucas. “At Corplex, plastic is a resource that can be recycled many times.”
Closed-loop systems: the key success factor to boost sustainability by reducing carbon footprints
Corplex aims to “close the loop” in the recycling process, reducing waste and material loss, and using fewer raw materials. And with packaging not only customized to the size of your goods but also optimized to the dimensions of the trucks carrying it – and entirely foldable when empty – your logistics flow can be simplified and your carbon footprint drastically reduced.
“We get a container and develop it in such a way that we use as much of the air inside it as possible, which is called ‘cubing it out’,” explains van der Schalk. “That container then goes into the truck, which is also cubed out, reducing the amount of empty space being shipped to the customer. The customer takes the product and unpacks it. When the container is empty it collapses – you can put as many as four collapsed containers in the space where one container was.
“This means that only one in four trucks have to return to the supplier. On average we save around 300 tonnes of CO2 per product per year. Think how many thousands of products go into the car – it’s hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 being saved.”