Beware the Insurance Implications of Plastic-Sector Change

The ketchup or mayonnaise bottle is rapidly becoming an endangered species; those types of plastic that cannot be recycled are definitely feeling the squeeze. New pledges on the use of plastics have been issued by a variety of organisations, including every British supermarket. All have promised to ban the unnecessary use of single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

Additionally, more than 40 firms have pledged to ensure all of their plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable within the next seven years.

Pressures on landfill will also be somewhat relieved through the efforts of recycling centres, which will recycle a larger variety of plastics than at present.

Packaging like that used for ketchup and mayonnaise, which contains a silicone component, cannot be recycled for fear of contaminating other recycled material. This could see such bottles disappearing from our shelves and outlines the need for a massive amount of R&D in the plastics sector.

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive of recycling organisation WRAP, has said: “Together we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.”

Already, businesses like flexible film manufacturer, Skymark, have set innovation in motion, developing a new process that uses carbon dioxide as a cleaning and stripping agent for certain types of film-based wrap. Its technological innovation creates a product for tissue wrapping, in particular, that is a substitute for virgin polymers, with greater recyclability.

The environment is definitely benefiting from this war on traditional plastics, but there are huge implications for the plastics manufacturing sector. New processes and procedures will need to accompany the swift change that encompasses new components, machinery and materials.

Risk-management will need to be agile, if firms are to keep their compliance intact. Businesses will have to audit all processes for risk and use training and documented safety procedures to address the risks.

The need to discuss any ‘material facts’ that could affect an insurance policy, will be one for plastics-sector companies to note. If they do not disclose these to their insurance broker, any future incident that involves something undeclared, could lead to a claim being refused.

Alterations in the way products are manufactured, the chemicals or raw materials used, or production-line changes, should set alarm bells off and lead to firms notifying their broker immediately. The broker can then alert the insurer and assess if any additional premium is required for the new risks. The broker can also advise if any risk management measures are required.

The importance of this cannot be underestimated. If you need help or advice in this area, please just get in touch.