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04.05.2023
Latest News Wrap-Up / 05.03.2023

Have you had your 100% recyclable packaging?

In the latest Wrap-Up … Breakfast packaging that’s 100% recyclable. Recycling food trays into packaging. New roadmap for soft plastics. Sustainability heat map and tool. Warnings about EPR and PRN. Australia might miss national packaging targets. And more …

FOR STARTERS …

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR 100% RECYCLABLE PACKAGING?

Weetabix has reached its goal of providing 100% recyclable packaging, two years ahead of WRAP’s targeted deadline.

Weetabix says these changes will reduce its carbon footprint by 648.4t annually.

LIFTING THE LIDS OFF PLASTIC

Bakkavor has proudly announced that it has removed the plastic lids from all the dips made at its site in Spalding, Lincolnshire. The initiative has removed 360t of plastic across its customer ranges.

RETURNING THE FOOD TRAYS

In what has been described as an industry first, Tesco has begun recycling used plastic food trays back into packaging - creating a fully circular packaging solution for its range of core chilled ready meals.

The change is in collaboration with leading packaging manufacturer Faerch and will see customer-recovered PET trays - collected via European kerbside waste - recycled and converted back into food-grade plastic trays.

MINCING WORDS FROM SUPERMARKET

Sainsbury’s has removed single-use plastic trays from its “by Sainsbury’s’ whole chicken range in a move anticipated to use a minimum of 50% less plastic and save an annual 140 tonnes of waste.

The supermarket chain has also placed leaflets across its stores defending the new eco-friendly vacuum packing of its beef mince amid scathing customer reviews comparing the product's appearance to “dog food”.

The leaflet includes the statement: “Our minced beef is as good as it’s always been. And now, it’s packaged with 55% less plastic. That’s helping save over 450 tonnes a year.”

In a further twist, eco group A Plastic Planet has slammed the packaging for not being easily recyclable.

PAPERING OVER THE PACKS

M&S has rolled out new recyclable packaging across its rice, grains, and pulses range as part of its commitment to transform how it makes and sells its products. Over 30 products are now available in paper-based bags.

SIZZLING SUSTAINABILITY HEATMAP AND TOOL

A new heatmap indicating the most significant sustainability opportunities for action in supermarket packaging and a tool to guide packaging producers and purchasers in making sustainable choices have been released by consumer goods insights company, The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

The report found that 11% of the packaging impact comes from meat, fish and canned products.

The interactive tool is intended to support those who design or purchase grocery packaging to integrate sustainability into their decision-making.

WARNING ABOUT EPR

Supermarket and supplier leaders have warned the government that they risk writing a multi-billion “blank cheque” after talks over new environmental proposals ended with calls for the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme to be delayed.

The updated EPR regulations aim to shift packaging waste and recycling costs from local authorities to the businesses that produce it.

The industry leaders wrote an open letter to environment secretary Thérèse Coffey calling for ministers to “take the time needed” and work with industry to design an improved system or risk a considerable failure in creating a fully circular economy.

Also, Paul Freeston, president of the Food and Drink Federation, has said it is “patently unfair” that all businesses will be charged similarly; however they currently deal with waste.

WARNING ABOUT PRN

Packaging waste recovery note (PRN) data published by the Environment Agency has shown that recycling targets were only just met in 2022. Fears have also been raised about the potential for non-compliance in the data.

FUNDING BOOST FOR …

  • Packaging initiatives: The UK's funding agency for science and research, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has revealed that 17 projects are being funded by its Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging (SSPP) Challenge to improve the use and management of plastic packaging.

    The projects are receiving a combined sum of £3.2m intending to benefit the environment in the long term.
     
  • Recycling technology: A research consortium comprising technologists from the University of Birmingham and engineering firm Stopford has been awarded a further £300k funding from Innovate UK to develop a novel plastic recycling technology.

    The technology is a chemical recycling process that uses hot compressed water as a green solvent to selectively depolymerise waste plastics into commodity compounds that can be processed to produce virgin materials.

CRACKING THE CODES

Unique-every-time QR codes and UV tags are set to be applied to Co-op labels, offering the convenience retailer unprecedented visibility of its packaging during the recycling process.

In the initiative with recycling technology innovator Polytag, the codes will initially be applied to Co-op's own-label PET 2-litre spring water bottles.

MIRACLE MATERIAL OF MODERN SCIENCE

A University of Manchester company has forged an £800,000 partnership in the UAE to spearhead the drive to commercialise graphene, the “miracle material” stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper and more flexible than rubber.

Graphene Innovations Manchester (GIM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Quazar Investment Company to set up the partnership.

Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms arranged like a honeycomb, was first isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004. Scientists believe it could become as common as plastic.

Amongst its many applications, it’s believed graphene oxide can be used to create “smart” food packaging products, which could cut down on unnecessary food wastage.

PIONEERING FACILITY OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The pioneering new recycling facility, co-owned by Morrisons, which will reprocess “hard-to-recycle” soft plastics, is now open in Fife.

It will turn hard-to-recycle flexible food packaging into plastic flakes, pellets, and a new environmentally friendly alternative to plywood, which can be used widely.

CHEESY CIRCULARITY SOLUTION

High-performance film manufacturer SÜDPACK has collaborated on a business model to make maturing bags for mozzarella cheese circular. Using a chemical recycling process, plastic is kept within the loop and recycled into new packaging.

MISSING THE MARK DOWN UNDER

Australia might miss out on its 2025 national packaging targets, according to a report from the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO).

The data indicates that Australia will fail to have its domestic packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable and phase out its problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission proposed to grant authorisation that could extend the collaboration of supermarkets in managing soft plastics stockpiles.

This follows the collapse of the national soft plastics recycling venture REDcycle which is reported to have debts over £2.5m, brought about by its inability to pay for the increasing amount of storage it was using.

ALSO IN PLASTICS

  • Funky funghi: Polypropylene, a hard-to-recycle plastic, has successfully been biodegraded by two strains of fungi in a new experiment led by researchers at the University of Sydney.
     
  • Market watch: The latest polymer prices and plastics markets information from the British Plastics Foundation is now available.

FOR YOUR INTEREST

  • Freezing out fresh: Consumers are swapping from fresh to frozen food to combat rising grocery prices. Data from research firm Kantar shows that demand is strongest for items such as frozen chicken, where volumes are up 5.9%. Meanwhile, frozen prepared foods, including ready meals, pizzas and chips, are up 2.6%.
     
  • Smart frozen meals: The UK’s first SMART frozen ready-meals vending machines are being rolled out by independently owned COOK.
     
  • Exploring food fads: Consumer interest in diets like keto, carnivore, paleo, and intermittent fasting is mounting. But do these trending diets offer long-term opportunities for food innovators? FoodNavigator has explored the potential.

KM NEWS

  • Strengthening the team: We are pleased to announce three new appointments to our growing team. Andrzej Kukula has joined as Technical & NPD Manager, Gavin Fuller as Technical Business Development Manager, and Antonio Ferritto is on board as Supply Chain Planning & Purchasing Assistant.

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY

  • Interpack
    Dusseldorf, Germany
    May 4-10

    NB: A KM cohort is currently attending, so please let us know if you would like to meet up.

From the KM team … stay safe, keep up the good work, and value plastic.

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