To incentivise the collection of empty paper bags after they have been used on building sites, ready to be taken off a recycling plant for making recycled paper for manufacturing bags for other products as part of a proper circular economy process. This is, in short, the "Make the Difference, One Bag After Another" project promoted by Mapei, a leading multinational in the manufacture of chemicals for the building industry, in partnership with Consorzio REC (Recupero Edilizia Circolare), Cartiere SACI, Comieco, Assografici and Gipsac (Gruppo Italiano Produttore Sacchi Carta), to encourage the adopting of more ethical choices in the building industry.
Carried out in conjunction with other sustainability projects Mapei is successfully engaged in, the project is aimed at approaching sustainability in terms of recovery packaging for powdered building products. The collection, aimed exclusively at generating more material for reusage, is not just destined for Mapei bags but for any kind of packaging using recyclable paper.
"Sustainability at Mapei is not confined to the great work Research & Development is engaged in to optimise products with increasingly low environmental impact, while maintaining high quality standards and durability, it also extends to the packaging of the products themselves," so Mikaela Decio noted, Corporate Environmental Sustainability Manager at Mapei. "For years, in fact, we have been working on replacing virgin plastic with recycled plastic and carrying out numerous studies on the end of life of our products and packaging. It is precisely with a view to circularity that we have launched this project encompassing the entire supply chain."
Thanks to this project, companies can deliver their empty bags free of charge to bespoke areas, known as Preliminary Collection Centres, at REC-member building materials retailers that recycle construction/demolition waste. The packages delivered to the collection centres are then sorted in specialist handling/sorting plants that prepare them for delivery to the paper mill, which gives them a new lease of life along the lines of circularity.
Mapei's multi-layer paper packaging, which has undergone UNI 11743 analysis and verification of effective recyclability in accordance with Aticelca 501’s assessment system (Italian Technical Association for Cellulose and Paper), has been certified as class A and B, i.e. "recyclable with paper", and has fibre yields of up to 90% and 80% respectively, thanks to the very low content of glues and other substances that might interfere with the recovery cycle.
During the pilot phase of the project, the quantities of packaging destined for recycling are monitored to extend this virtuous example of circularity and co-operation along the supply chain throughout the entire country, thereby increasing the amount of paper destined for recycling.