Waitrose has launched what it says is the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging as it aims to move nine million products out of black plastic.
Working with Huhtamaki, the new containers, which are fibre based and similar in texture to cardboard, are now certified home compostable for the first time.
Its suppliers Huhtamaki and Saladworks produced the packaging which can be heated in the oven and microwave and is cool to touch after cooking. The fiber-based packaging is Forest Stewardship Council certified, creates a 50% saving in Co2 emissions, and can also be recycled.
The packaging innovation will initially replace many of the retailer’s Italian ready meal trays, saving 158 tonnes of black plastic.
Karen Graley, manager, packaging & reprographics, Waitrose & Partners, said: “Pioneering the first home compostable ready meal packaging that ensures customers can continue to cook their food quickly, safely, and now more sustainably, is a major breakthrough in packaging innovation. This step – combined with moving millions of ready meals out of black plastic – is a significant milestone in how we package food and eliminate hard to recycle material for good.”
The new Italian ready meal packaging will be available in Waitrose & Partners shops at the end of this month and will include Chilli Prawn Spaghetti, Broccoli Orecchiette, and Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake.
Highland Spring set to launch its eco bottle, made from 100% recycled plastic.
Following a successful 2018 trial, the Highland Spring eco bottle will launch this month will join the existing Highland Spring natural source water range, where all bottles are 100% recyclable.
The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic, although the label and cap are not made from recycled plastic; bottle, label and cap are 100% recyclable.
The mineral water giant said its consumers had expressed a ‘significant’ desire for more eco bottles at trial stage, and this launch will be followed by more 100% recycled and recyclable plastic eco bottles later in the year.
Highland Spring Group Chief Executive, Les Montgomery, said: “We are grateful to shoppers who gave us their thoughts and feedback, throughout the trial. They asked us to make the eco bottle a permanent addition to the Highland Spring family and we are proud to say that is exactly what we have done.
“Increasing our use of recycled plastic is an absolute priority for Highland Spring and this is a hugely exciting step in our mission to provide healthy hydration choices in environmentally sustainable ways. We hope that having innovative products such as the eco bottle in supermarkets alongside 100% recyclable bottles will help shoppers understand more about plastic as a valuable resource that should not be treated as waste.”
The imminent introduction of a deposit return system is set to spark a recycling revolution…
Throughout September, the CPRE held 35 litter picks across England as part of its nationwide ‘Green Clean’. As well as helping communities clean up their local green spaces, CPRE wanted to highlight the astonishing variety of cans and bottles discarded across our countryside, towns and cities.
CPRE said the data resulting from the Green Clean events will help the government as it designs England’s ‘deposit return system’, “which – if properly set up to collect every drink can and bottle – will provide a simple solution to recycling confusion and boost recycling rates for drinks container waste to more than 90%.”
The campaign said it will share this data with the government, via its upcoming deposit return consultation, and said in order to be as effective as possible, the system must accept cans and bottles of all materials, shapes and sizes. That includes drinks packaging that is on the market now, as well as being future-proofed against changes to the type and size of containers in the future.
Volunteers taking part in the Green Clean collected a total of 11,212 cans and bottles of all shapes, sizes and materials. Over a third (35%) of those collected were made from plastic, 50% were aluminium, 14% glass and 1% Tetra Pak.
While plastic packaging has been making the headlines, this data shows that two-thirds of all drinks containers littered are made from other materials – such as aluminium and glass – and should be taken just as seriously.
Of the plastics: 10% were small bottles (below 500ml), 71% were medium sized (500ml – average water bottle), 10% were large (501ml-1.5l), and 9% were considered extra-large (more than 1.5l).
Of the cans: 18% were small (below 330ml – small energy drink), 29% were medium sized (330ml – average fizzy drink can), and 53% were large (more than 330ml – average beer can).
Of the glass bottles: 25% were small (under 330ml – stubby and regular beer bottle), 42% were medium sized (400-750ml – larger beer bottle), and 33% were large (more than 750 ml – wine bottles and large spirits bottles).
CPRE’s evidence demonstrates that there is no limit to the types and sizes of cans and bottles that are causing harm to our wildlife and the natural world. It should provide the incentive for the Government to make the right decision and ensure that all cans and bottles, of all types and sizes, are included in England’s deposit return system.
Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “By introducing a simple deposit system the Government has a golden opportunity to end growing scepticism around current recycling methods, collect and recycle more materials than ever right here in the UK, and ensure that those who produce the packaging rightly pay the full cost of recovering the materials that they produce. But it will only work if it is universal in the types of cans and bottles it accepts.
“Deposit return infrastructure is the same for large plastic bottles as it would be for small plastic bottles, cans and glass – failing to set the system up to collect all that it can, will set the system up to fail. The Government is committed to tackling waste and boosting recycling and with this solution, it has the chance to get things right. In recent times, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behaviour and attitudes – people genuinely want to take responsibility for the amount of packaging used. We all want recycling to work, but our data clearly shows that current collection methods are failing.”
In March this year, the government promised to ‘introduce a deposit-return scheme in England for single use drinks containers, subject to consultation later this year’.
However, there is yet to be an agreement within the drinks and packaging industries on the system, and the type and size of containers that will be included.
PepsiCo has announced its goal to achieve 50% recycled plastic (rPET) by 2030 across the European Union.
The soft drinks firm has an interim target of 45% by 2025. Through this target, the company will more than triple the amount of recycled plastic it uses, equating to over 50,000 tonnes of rPET.
The announcement comes in support of the European Commission’s voluntary recycled plastics pledging campaign to ensure that by 2025, ten million tonnes of recycled plastics are used to make new products in the EU market. PepsiCo’s goal covers all countries expected to be members of the EU in 2025, and all the company’s beverage brands in PET (the primary plastic used in its bottles) including Pepsi, Pepsi MAX, 7Up, Tropicana and Naked. The goal will apply across PepsiCo’s Beverage operations, including company-owned and franchise.
Today’s announcement builds on PepsiCo’s broader, global Performance with Purpose vision, which includes a goal to design 100% of its packaging to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable and to reduce its packaging’s carbon impact by 2025. The company estimates that currently, 90% of its beverage packaging worldwide is fully recyclable.
PepsiCo is already a significant user of food-grade recycled plastic (rPET) in the EU, using approximately 13% rPET in its EU beverage operations in 2017.
Silviu Popovici, president, PepsiCo Europe Sub-Saharan Africa commented: “At PepsiCo, we take our responsibility to protect the environment seriously and are steadfast in our commitment to finding sustainable ways to create our products. We have been on a mission in the European Union to advance a culture that encourages and supports recovery and recycling of packaging. Today, I am very happy to announce that we will now go much further in the use of recycled plastics in our packaging, as we work to meet and exceed this new target in the years ahead.
“Developing an effective, long-term approach to sustainable packaging requires a multifaceted effort, and PepsiCo is committed to collaborating with the many stakeholders involved to ensure it succeeds in developing a Circular Economy for plastics into the future. With serious under-capacity in the supply of affordable recycled plastics suitable for food packaging, we call on public and private stakeholders in the recycling system, including the European Commission, to join us and make the needed investments to expand recycling capacity. Provided the right progress is made in increasing packaging recovery rates, and improving reprocessing technology, we will look to go even further than our current commitment.”
The company also works with multiple stakeholders to support packaging sustainability, including being a member of the New Plastics Economy, a three-year initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to build momentum towards a plastics system that works.
A critical part of increasing the availability of recycled plastics, suitable for re-use in packaging, is ensuring that bottles are placed in the recycling system, rather than littering the environment. In addition to participating in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes across the EU, PepsiCo is partnering on programmes to increase recovery and recycling rates. These include initiatives to promote and educate consumers on recycling, including on-pack labelling campaigns, such as “jede Dose zaehlt”/ Every Can Counts in Austria and “Vous triez, nous recyclons”, a consumer campaign in France, promoting the importance of sorting waste to ensure recyclability of plastic bottles.
France is planning to introduce a penalty system in 2019 that would increase the cost of consumer goods with packaging made of non-recycled plastic.
It’s part of a pledge to use only recycled plastic throughout the country by 2025, according to an environment ministry official.
Brune Poirson, secretary of state for ecological transition, said it was one of several measures planned in the lead up to the 2025 target, including a deposit-refund scheme for plastic bottles. There are also plans to cut taxes for recycling operations.
“Declaring war on plastic is not enough. We need to transform the French economy,” she told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Under the new plan, products with recycled plastic packaging could cost up to 10% less, while those containing non-recycled plastic up to 10% more, Poirson said.
Philip Law, director general of the BPF, said: “Our ambition is to agree upon industry-standard traffic light systems and best practice design tools that can be used by manufacturers to advise brands and retailers on the recyclability and sustainability of their products.
“As an industry, we will also continue to invest in innovation so that we can realise our vision to see 100% of plastic packaging reused, recycled or recovered.”
The BPF said that it wants all plastic packaging and single-use items re-used, recycled and/or recovered by 2030. Some leading brands and retailers have already committed to using only reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, and the BPF is a signatory to WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact.
It added that it is consulting with members, brands and retailers and has already proposed extending and revising the current Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system. The BPF said that the current PRN system should be extended to include plastic items that are not packaging products but are products used in conjunction with food and drink consumed on-the-go, such as cutlery or straws.
Smurfit Kappa is installing the new HP PageWide C500 digital press – HP’s most technologically advanced digital press for a corrugated application.
The press will be installed in Smurfit Kappa’s Interwell plant in Austria and is designed for greater customisation and flexibility of corrugated printing, the new industrial-scale press will be the first commercial HP single pass press in Europe.
The press will be installed in April and will support Smurfit Kappa’s extensive customer base in the FMCG sector.
With a fully integrated stack-to-stack workflow, the press combines digital simplicity with off-set replaceable print quality on both coated and uncoated paper.
The technology will provide brand owners with customised packaging solutions that can drive sales across both online and traditional sales channels.
Smurfit Kappa will sue the press in conjunction with its ShelfSmart and eSmart services.
The graphic flexibility and quality of the new HP PageWide C500 Press will further enhance the company’s service to drive brand recognition and provide fit-for-purpose packaging.
Furthermore, the HP water-based inks facilitate printing on both primary and secondary food packaging without an additional barrier which can comply with even the most stringent global food safety regulations.
Smurfit Kappa has received an unsolicited acquisition proposal from International Paper (IP), which it has rejected.
IP reportedly proposed to acquire Smurfit Kappa, and Smurfit Kappa shareholders would receive a combination of cash and a minority holding in the combined business.
Europe’s largest cardboard box maker Smurfit Kappa said the proposal “fails entirely to reflect the Group’s strong growth prospects and attractive industry outlook” – which could leave the door open to an improved offer being considered in the future.
Smurfit Kappa’s enterprise value is about €9.8bn, according to FactSet data.
The board of Smurfit Kappa said after considering the proposal it was in the best interests of the Group’s shareholders to pursue its future as an independent company.
Smurfit Kappa recently announced EBITDA for 2017 of €1.2bn and a full year ROCE of 15%.
Plcs are obliged to ensure there is not a false market in their shares. It also increases the pressure on the bidder to comply with relevant regulatory timelines. This may have contributed to SKs decision to make the approach public.
Such a deal would create a super-group paper company and would mean a review of the deal by numerous competition authorities given the scale of the transaction and the spread of the two companies’ footprints. However, it may be deemed that these are more complementary than overlapping or there may be approval conditional on a number of divestitures. The Ball-Rexam mega deal approval also stipulated certain divestitures.
Liam O’Mahony, chairman of Smurfit Kappa said: “The Board of Smurfit Kappa has unanimously rejected this unsolicited and highly opportunistic Proposal.
“The Board believes that it is in the best interests of all stakeholders for the Group to pursue its future as an independent company, headquartered in Ireland, operating as the European and Pan-American leader in paper-based packaging. We strongly advise shareholders to take no action.”
Nicholas Mockett, head of packaging M&A at Moorgate Capital, said: “It is a strong rebuttal of the approach which may ensure IP walks away at this stage. A plc has a duty to shareholders to give due consideration to a legitimate approach. If IP increased its offer Smurfit Kappa would therefore reassess. The approach is not surprising given Smurfit Kappa’s strong position in Europe and Latin America and IPs strengths in North America. IP has recently increased its core focus, with the recent Graphic Packaging transaction.”
Critics have hit back at the government’s 25-year plan with concerns over its litter strategy and a lack of praise for packaging’s role in combating food waste.
Prime Minister Theresa May set out the government’s vision on the environment and wanted to end the “scourge” of plastic packaging in waterways and oceans. She outlined plans for a tax or charge on single-use packaging and urged retailers to introduce plastic-free aisles.
However, in a statement, the British Plastic Federation (BPF) said that it was “very disturbed” at the tone of the Prime Minister’s language and it did not recognise the 170,000 jobs that the plastics industry brings to the UK.
The BPF added: “To stop plastics entering the sea from the West, the plastics industry would like to see a tougher stance on littering. It is highly doubtful that simply providing alternative materials will actually reduce littering in the UK, as this is an issue of personal behavior. It should be noted that the types of products that enter the marine environment from the UK tend to be those that have been irresponsibly littered — not packaging materials for fresh produce that are typically consumed at home and then disposed of responsibly.
“Plastics should not be in the sea and it is right that the UK, alongside other developed nations, should set an example of best practice. As has been pointed out, the vast quantity of plastics in the seas arrive there from the less developed economies of Asia, which have rudimentary waste management systems. Plastics get into the seas by a number of routes and each route needs to be dealt with separately.”
Martin Kersh, executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, was also disappointed that the national litter strategy wasn’t mentioned. He added that food waste should form part of the government’s strategy.
“Food waste was not referred to by the Prime Minister along with the role that packaging has played in extending shelf life,” said Kersh. “Whatever we do [in regards to plastic packaging] we must not risk increasing food waste.”
He added that May’s speech did not place enough emphasis on the recycling of all materials and said that the packaging industry would “100%” provide evidence for the proposed tax on single-use plastic packaging.
“What we would like to see is PRN reform on the terms of reference,” said Kersh. “We would be disappointed if this was not the case.”
Lorax Compliance chief operating officer Michelle Carvell said that “real opportunities” had been missed to create a joined-up policy to tackle “the UK’s mounting waste crisis”.
“As it stands, the government’s plan is little more than a kneejerk reaction which works as a placeholder prior to the looming policy changes ahead in our post-Brexit landscape,” said Carvell. “It says very little and promises to deliver even less, with no legal force included in the strategy.”
Gillian Garside-Wight, packaging technology director at Sun Branding Solutions, said that a “holistic approach is required to address a very complex issue”.
She added: “In our experience when our clients have switched to more responsible packaging solutions this has required investment from product development through to supply chain alterations which may or may not be cost neutral. The ongoing debate remains – who will pick up this cost?
“Consumers are the catalyst driving change, now along with the government pledge (not just us), this will result in big changes to consumer behavior and the retail environment. Brands and retailers need to move faster to respond to their customers’ demands. This is a good start, however, there’s lots of other challenges to be resolved. For example, back of store packaging that consumers never see. We must not forget the primary function of packaging is to contain, protect, preserve and promote and we must continue to ensure it does not damage the environment we live in.”
The government’s strategy was welcomed by David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez Recycling and Recovery. He said that the plan “rightly places our environment at the heart of government strategy”.
He added: “Having invested heavily in new facilities to support the move away from landfill over the last decade, we are pleased that this plan recognises the important role energy recovery facilities have played in this transition and the ambition to make these facilities more efficient by identifying ways to increase the use of the heat they produce.
“Overall, the plan represents an important first step towards policies that will support the growth of our industry and enable it to play a pivotal role in the development of a more resource efficient, sustainable economy. Systemic change is needed to tackle the complex issues facing us and ensure coordination with national infrastructure plans and the Industrial Strategy. We urge Government to work with our industry on the detail of its new Resources and Waste Strategy to develop a world-leading approach for the UK.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England. Samantha Harding, litter programme director said: “It’s impressive the government has chosen to respond so emphatically to the plastic plague that is already putting our countryside, cities, and oceans at risk of irreversible harm.
“The charge on plastic bags has shown that we easily adapt to financial incentives, so the prospect of further charges or taxes that could eliminate products like plastic straws and stirrers is really positive news. And promoting innovation amongst producers will be critical to ensuring we eliminate unnecessary single-use items, as well as making sure that they are taking financial responsibility for the impact these products have.”
Aluminium beverage cans have been made the world’s most recycled drinks container at a recent Smithers Pira conference.
The Smithers Pira Sustainability in Packaging Europe Conference heard stats from Metal Packaging Europe indicating seven out of 10 drinks cans sold in the UK are recycled and 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.
Steel for packaging recorded an average European recycling rate of 78% in 2015, which included five countries exceeding 85%.
With the greater focus being placed on packaging, consumers are now more concerned about waste produced and want to be informed of the most up to date recycling statistics.
Martin Constable, chairman of the Can Makers, said: “The news that aluminium cans are now confirmed as the most recycled drinks packaging in the world is great news for environmentally concerned consumers. The can is the ideal packaging of choice for brands to meet their own sustainability targets as well as meet customer demand for ‘greener’ packaging.”
Whilst these numbers are encouraging, there remains much to do to reach the 2020 metal packaging industry ambition of an 80% European average rate.
Analysts have called for a legislative framework to create a functioning circular economy.