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The Circularity Journey

13 Apr 2022 —
The Circularity Journey

The end-of-life of visual communications material is a burning issue, with infrastructure often too limited to guarantee circularity. At Antalis we are focused on how we can contribute to creating circular routes by joining forces with other committed industry players. Take a look at our 3-step approach.

The end-of-life of visual communications material is a burning issue, with infrastructure often too limited to guarantee circularity. At Antalis we are focused on how we can contribute to creating circular routes by joining forces with other committed industry players. Take a look at our 3-step approach.

Embarking on the circularity journey, a 3-step approach

The linear process of product manufacture takes materials from the Earth, then once at end of life, they are thrown away as waste. In a circular economy, by contrast, the consumption of finite resources and waste production is eliminated.


Our Visual Communication Green Star System® helps you to better understand the impact of various product types and make more responsible material choices. It considers recyclability, a defining factor of the end-of-life of our products. But high recyclability doesn’t necessarily mean that the product will end up being recycled. This depends on the local infrastructure, from collection to end-market recycling. That’s why Antalis teams up with committed partners such as Prismm Environmental, part of Reconomy, which strives to identify and develop game-changing collection and recycling routes.


In close collaboration with Antalis, Prismm Environmental collects and transfers baled PVC banners to a facility in Lancashire (North-west England). The material is then shredded, blended with other waste PVC, and put into injection moulding machines to produce traffic cones and temporary traffic barriers.


As John Hutton, Director of Prismm Environmental, explains: “creating virtuous end-of-life solutions for visual communications material is an exciting and challenging mission because there is so much to be done. Take polymers, for instance, these materials involve high segregation because they melt at so many different rates. This segregation minimises interest from recyclers due to smaller volumes and unidentified business opportunities“.


Thanks to our partners’ experience of other sectors and materials, we can roll out a 3-step methodology to trace a route towards a circular visual communications material economy.


1. Education

Our industry has an increasing understanding of sustainability, from printers to retailers. Yet, it remains vital to underline how challenging recycling actually is. With so much effort put into eco-design, sustainable sourcing and responsible purchasing, it is a shame to see that performance at the end-of-life remains insufficient to reach true circularity. Raising awareness is therefore paramount!


2. Collaboration

It’s not breaking news that we are in a very competitive industry, yet the bigger environmental picture is the same for all involved. That’s why we need to come together and seize the opportunity that circularity represents. With cooperation, we can identify solutions specific to what we do and inspire positive change beyond our sphere of influence.


3. Projection

As Jon Hutton describes: “The road to circularity is a long one - we believe it is a 5 year journey. Solutions exist, no doubt, but it takes time to find them and to work creatively with all stakeholders to develop systems that bring value to all involved“.


Interview with Jon Hutton

Jon Hutton

Providing responsible materials is only part of our vision of circular economy. With our partners, we strive to create responsible value chains. This implies enhancing the end-of-life stage of our materials. Learn more about this challenging journey, passionately told by Jon Hutton, Director of Prismm environmental. 


Exploring circular routes for the graphics industry.

How does your company support Antalis’ vision of circular economy within the visual communications market?

Prismm Environmental is embedded in Antalis’ manifesto. We look to supply and offer solutions to collect and recycle display and POS materials to contribute to the environmental performance of Antalis and, to a greater extent, the accountability of the industry. Our partnership stems from Antalis’ search for advice on how to go about the burning issue, which is waste management. Why? Simply because the graphics industry represents a big challenge.


Who is Prismm Environmental?

Prismm Environmental is a proven waste service provider and trusted waste consultant for Antalis and associations, including the BPIF (The British Printing Industries Federation) and FESPA (Federation of European Screen Printers Associations). Prismm Environmental is part of the Reconomy Group which strives to inspire sustainable thinking and lead the way towards a circular economy in many different sectors.


Is it possible to increase collection and recycling rates?

Yes. Above anything else, we all need to understand that it is a journey. No progress can be made without education. Empowering printers, end-users, retailers, and other local players is paramount to understanding how challenging recycling actually is. To overcome the challenge, it is vital to bring some light to the limitations.

Collaboration is key. Even though the competition is fierce, working together as an industry is crucial, simply because climate change is the larger picture and that's important to us all.

Working together helps everyone become more accountable and effective. It is through an holistic approach that positive outcomes can be designed.


How optimistic are you?

Significantly, because solutions do exist. For label printing, we applied these principles and managed to find a bespoke solution for this specific type of waste. Our job is to roll out this methodology for all materials. It is about understanding the whole value chain to identify unique end markets. It takes time, but once you know that you embark on a 5-year collaborative journey, you can fully expect the development of a unique responsible life-cycle for each material.


At Antalis, we know that circularity is a considerable challenge, but we are tackling it head-on and we are determined to do what we can to deliver this, together with our partners and community. So, if you have an idea, a question, or if you simply want to join us in this exciting and essential journey, get in touch!