“We are proud to have supported the SWAP group in delivering this project to identify more circular stretch wrap alternatives as part of the global effort to reduce the use of linear plastic routes. We are in a pivotal time where action is needed to address climate change. The prioritisation of sustainability by organisations such as Microsoft, and their focus on innovation through collaboration as part of their net zero strategy, are vital to drive impact and transition to a low carbon economy, creating a more sustainable future for people and the planet.”
Consultant at Anthesis Group
Microsoft commissioned Anthesis to support the design and delivery, and provide technical support, to the Stretch Wrap Alternative Project. The project focused on researching and piloting circular alternatives to stretch wrap plastic used during the transportation and delivery of goods in supply chains across a variety of industries.
The Stretch Wrap Alternatives Project was initiated in January 2021 and included 11 companies from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation network, with a collective goal of reimagining stretch wrap plastic through testing three alternatives to linear stretch wrap, with a core focus on reuse, recycling, and composting options.
The aim was to assess whether they could be technically feasible, scalable, and commercially viable while reducing the environmental impact in comparison with the current stretch wrap used in supply chains.
“With this project, we hope to spotlight viable alternatives to linear stretch wrap and promote continued exploration and development of circular solutions to drive adoption across industries globally. Ultimately, we want uptake of circular models to occur at a scale that will significantly reduce the amount of plastic packaging that ends up in landfills, incinerators, and the environment.”
Sr. Program Manager, Zero Waste and Circularity, Microsoft Corporation
Key insights from the report:
- There is no “one size fits all” circular solution to replace linear stretch wrap. Each of the alternatives piloted have their place within the supply chain and should be selected based on the specific use case. A full life cycle thinking is key to identifying successful alternatives while continuing to prioritise upstream interventions, like reduction and reuse, first.
- Collaboration across industries is crucial to implementing a circular solution that benefits the entire value chain. The diverse stakeholder group of this project played a key role in the project’s success towards advancing circular packaging solutions.
- Though the overall aim should be to reduce linear stretch wrap, its performance and ability to deliver a safe transport to a variety of products must be acknowledged, as well as lower material use for high-performing, machine-applied stretch wrap compared to many alternatives.
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