In a context where the United Nations 2030 Agenda (including Sustainable Development Goals) is the reference framework for everything related to economic development, the environment and social growth, Ródenas & Rivera stands out for its commitment to the principles of the circular economy and sustainability. We work every day from our R&D&I department to reduce the environmental impact of our products and do it from several approaches: optimizing the production system, implementing innovative techniques, and incorporating materials from more sustainable sources.
Sustainability as an integral paradigm at Ródenas & Rivera
The term sustainability, as defined by the UN 2030 Agenda, embraced by Ródenas & Rivera, covers a much broader spectrum, both in terms of the actions to be carried out and their consequences. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN encompass the following principles that define sustainability and which we follow in line with the EU’s approach to sustainability:
- Only development that can meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future can be considered as sustainable development. In this regard, control of the operation, the use of recovered, recycled or recyclable materials and investment in R&D&I are key.
- This type of sustainable development requires that to achieve it, people as well as the environment in which they live must be considered.
- To achieve sustainable development, we must achieve harmony between three fundamental factors: environmental protection, economic growth, and social inclusion. Sustainability in a broad and global sense can only be achieved through a balance that considers all three.
The European Union specifies these vectors in its “Green Pact“, which includes:
- The adoption of a clean and circular economy based on efficient use of resources.
- Reduction of pollution and restoration of biodiversity
Ródenas & Rivera works in all these areas from its prominent position within the flexible packaging manufacturing sector for food and non-food use, as a leader and point of reference. Thus, we approach sustainability as an ecological, economic, and social commitment, complying with the requirements of international organizations, and anticipating future needs by developing the principles of the circular economy. Specifically, our commitment focuses on:
- Continued investment in environmentally friendly technologies
- To be part of the group of pioneering companies in innovation
- Collaborate with other industry players on sustainability issues
Sustainability and circular economy
Before discussing Ródenas & Rivera’s commitment to the circular economy, it is important to define the meaning of the term and differentiate it from the traditional or linear economy.
On the other hand, the circular economy consists of prioritizing the use of resources as well as the reduction of the use of raw materials, and their reuse. This is helped by the concept of the 7Rs, based on a product design that contemplates reuse right from its embryonic stage. The so-called eco-design considers sustainability as one of the factors to be considered from the beginning and makes it an additional design criterion.
At Ródenas & Rivera, as part of our sustainability policy, we advocate minimizing this environmental cost. How?
- Optimization of manufacturing materials and waste quality
- Extending the service life of material
- Putting the 7Rs of sustainability into practice
- Focusing on prevention, reuse, and recycling
Through all these principles, which we transfer to our manufacturing process, we extend the shelf life of our flexible packaging and even give it a second life.
The 7 Rs of sustainability at Ródenas & Rivera
The 7Rs apply from the moment we conceive the design of one of our packages until the moment we consider that its service life is over. These are the seven principles or 7 Rs of sustainability, of which Ródenas & Rivera pays special attention to the first three: reduce, recycle, and reuse. They are all part of the driving principles of the circular economy and inherently related.
The idea is to use less energy, fewer goods, and fewer products, which immediately leads to a reduction in costs, exploitation of resources, waste generation and less pollution.
Recycling can be defined as the proper management of waste. Separating waste allows it to be reused and, therefore, reduces pollution.
It is about giving a new use to certain elements to extend their service life. This new use means that what was previously considered waste is no longer waste, thus giving a new value to the first “R”: Reduction.
This is the beginning. When a product is designed differently so that its entire manufacturing process and subsequent use is more environmentally responsible. Sustainable redesign also thinks about the production process.
The R of repair is vital in extending the life of many items. Repairing is, among other things, a way to reduce waste and costs.
Also, along the lines of providing a longer service life, the renovation of existing elements helps to reduce pollution and the overuse of resources. Therefore, it forms part of the basic activities of the circular economy.
The use of recycled materials as raw materials is known as retrieval. A process by which materials already used are returned to the production cycle.
Our commitment to eco-design
As can be seen, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are some of the core premises of the circular economy. Putting them into practice is a responsibility shared by packaging manufacturers, consumer goods companies, institutions and, of course, end consumers.
From our position as a leading supplier in the food and non-food flexible packaging manufacturing sector, we have set ourselves several objectives related to sustainability and eco-design.
- The creation of production alternatives that reduce carbon footprint
- Minimize the environmental impact of our products
- Establish synergies with the other players in the sector, including our customers, suppliers, and R&D&I experts capable of transforming our production system so that it is compatible with the objectives and criteria that drive the circular economy.
The key to our strategy
Ródenas & Rivera’s priority objective in terms of sustainability is to have 100% of our products considered as belonging to the circular economy model. Thus, we work to contribute to the development of a sustainable society in the present that guarantees its continuity in the future.
We do not lose sight of the fact that our products, dedicated to packaging, are part of a critical sector for sustainability, hence we have developed several lines of action, the most important of which is the redesign of conventional materials from an ecological perspective to meet European Commission guidelines.
For our films to be used in the production of safe and sustainable packaging for food and non-food use, they must meet these essential characteristics:
In this regard, Ródenas & Rivera focuses its strategy on the following four pillars:
Monomaterial products. Films based on a single polymer, 100% recyclable.
Films based on a single polymer have considerable advantages, including the possibility of producing recyclable packaging. In fact, the possibility of facilitating optimal recycling is the greatest of its attractions. Polyethylene (PE) and Polypropylene (PP) guarantee the production of 100% recyclable containers and packaging.
To make complex structures and provide solutions to market needs and requirements of packaged products, MDO technology is perfect to replace conventional multilayer structures whose recyclability is nowadays complicated. This film provides excellent mechanical and optical properties as well as excellent printing properties.
-Based on PP, it has high performance and high thermal resistance, and barrier properties.
-Based on PE, it continues to offer high sealing performance, flexibility, and puncture resistance, in addition to its excellent machinability.
This product line is committed to a significant reduction of virgin material, meaning virgin material that has been extracted or created and never used. This material is replaced by a film that is recycled and recovered by our suppliers, who, thanks to their management of industrial and post-consumer waste, place on the market a high-quality pellet for the re-manufacture of films with PCR (post-consumer recycled) and PIR (post-industrial recycled) material. Polyethylene films with PCR are the most important part of this process.
On the other hand, we have several product lines that integrate part of the waste from the manufacturing process itself.
Bioplastics and renewable materials
These are biodegradable, compostable, or biobased products. They are produced from raw materials of vegetable origin, such as sugar cane or cellulose. The film produced from them, when it comes into contact with nature, becomes part of the biomass. Thus, the packaging produced in this line by Ródenas & Rivera fully enters the cycle of what is defined as circular economy.
The difference between these three types of products is as follows:
- The biodegradable products decompose into their basic chemical elements of origin. This happens under natural conditions due to the action of fungi, bacteria, animals, or plants.
- The compostable products also decompose, but with the difference that they can then be used as compost.
- Biobased products are made from renewable resources obtained from various activities, such as livestock, forestry, or agriculture.
Thickness reduction by reformulation of materials
The aim of these techniques and procedures, which Ródenas & Rivera uses as part of its commitment to sustainability, is to obtain the same results as with conventional materials, but with fewer raw materials and at a lower environmental cost.
Measuring the environmental cost in terms of waste generation and energy expenditure per package results in a more efficient and therefore more sustainable production method.
These four lines of solutions and their corresponding manufacturing processes demonstrate Ródenas & Rivera’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals that make up the UN 2030 Agenda. Our corporate social responsibility in this field, as well as our actions, are the result of the values of our company, which plays an unquestionable leading role in the sector.
In case you have any questions regarding any of our solutions, please contact us. We will be happy to help you learn more about our company. Our goal is to work responsibly with equally responsible clients.