Maxine Perella reports on how brands like Timberland, HP, Dell and P&G led the way by incorporating waste in new products and packaging
The circular economy gained ground in 2017 with the spread of the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR), whereby companies take responsibility for the products and packaging they make or sell when they become waste.
Most EPR is mandatory (there are around 400 schemes globally governed by various laws), but over the past 12 months there has been a rise in voluntary EPR schemes as companies look to invest in targeting specific materials that they can either take back into their supply chains, or create social value with in order to have a wider impact.
Some companies are looking to do both. Timberland, for example, created a new supply chain through the launch of its Timberland X Thread collection, resulting in 77 income opportunities in Haiti whilst transforming more than 765,000 waste plastic bottles into shoe, bag, and clothing fabric. HP has also partnered with Thread in Haiti, and this year released the first plastic printer cartridges made from recovered plastic bottles.
Populist issues like ocean plastics and coffee cups, both of which dominated headlines this year, are also key drivers for socially minded EPR. P&G unveiled its new...