The good news is many companies are switching their plastic usage to recycled content. Many major consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and 100s of other brands have made commitments to 25-50% recycled content by 2025. In addition, regulations favoring recycling are coming into effect in Europe, including a new plastic tax of 800 Euro / tonne effective from 2021, in the UK. Oceanworks predicts these regulations will soon be mirrored in the US as well.
Looking at risks, manufacturers have historically viewed recycled plastic as an inexpensive, low quality substitute. In the early days, it did not meet the same performance standards as virgin plastic and was unable to be used for many higher-end or food-grade applications. Today, that is no longer the case. Recycled plastic, and even ocean plastic, is being formulated to meet the requirements of almost any product. It can be reliably and consistently sourced, and even multi-sourced, to meet the needs of high-volume programs. Depending on collection area and availability, pricing may be higher than virgin plastic, but for sustainable brands those costs are more than offset by the sales growth enabled by being first to market in your category. For companies going carbon neutral it is almost always a net cost savings once the carbon benefits are incorporated.