30 November | PLASTICS
The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK-based sustainability-focused charity, has released the third annual report from its ‘UK Plastics Pact’ initiative. According to the update, member companies have reduced the amount of plastic on supermarket shelves in the country by 10% since 2018, with the proportion of ‘problematic’ plastics falling by 46%.
This 10% drop is equal to a 335,000-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to removing 150,000 cars from the road. Data shows that 65% of all plastic packaging is recyclable and 5% is reusable.
“The UK Plastics Pact arose at a time of great public concern about plastic pollution and has been a constant and practical programme for collective change to reset our relationship with plastics,” said WRAP CEO Marcus Gover. “Comparing last year against 2018, it has shown strong progress against its environmental targets during a period of unmitigated societal upheaval.”
UK Plastics Pact members have pledged to have 30% of their packaging made from recycled content by 2025.
7 December | PLASTICS
Multiple retailer Tesco has launched a 12-pack of ‘double roll’ toilet paper to replace its 24-roll own-brand pack in a move expected to save 46 tonnes of plastic a year. A new production method has allowed Tesco to wind the same number of sheets more tightly onto the cardboard tubes while requiring less plastic to pack them.
The retailer will also use this method to downsize the rolls in its four and nine-roll packs, with the intention of saving a further 14 tonnes of plastic a year. In total, the new fitting technique will allow Tesco to save 67 tonnes of plastic packaging annually and reduce carbon emissions as the retailer will require 17 fewer lorries each week to transport rolls.
Tesco paper buying manager Katie Frost said: “As well as removing unnecessary plastic, reducing the size of multipacks will free up valuable space in our lorries that can be put to great use this Christmas. We are looking at a number of ways to use less packaging as a part of our ‘4Rs’ packaging strategy. In the last few years, we have cut 6,000 tonnes of packaging from products, including 1bn pieces of plastic.”
3 December | BEVERAGES
Japanese beverage giant Suntory Group has pioneered a prototype polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle made entirely from plant-based materials. Designed to significantly reduce carbon emissions and switch to fully-sustainable PET, the bottle is developed using a plant-based paraxylene derived from wood chips.
The paraxylene, which has been supplied by US-based sustainable technology company Anellotech, was converted to plant-based terephthalic acid (PTA) and combined with pre-existing plant-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) from molasses to make the bottle prototype. Suntory plans to use the bottle for its Orangina brand in Europe and Suntory Tennensui bottled mineral water in Japan, building on its focus of completely switching to fully sustainable PET bottles worldwide by 2030.
“We’re delighted with this achievement, as it brings us one step closer to delivering this sustainable PET bottle into the hands of our consumers,” said Tsunehiko Yokoi, executive officer of Suntory’s Monozukuri Expert division. “The PTA is produced from non-food biomass to avoid competition with the food chain while MEG is also derived from non-food grade feedstock.”
29 NOVEMBER | M&A
In a bid to strengthen its presence in India’s food & beverage categories, Mumbai-headquartered Parksons Packaging has purchased Manohar Packaging, in a deal estimated at between INR2bn ($26.6m) and INR2.5bn. Manohar Packaging, which produces paper board packaging for alcoholic beverages and confectionery, operates two manufacturing facilities that have the capacity to convert in the region of 100m sheets per year.
“Parksons has consistently been at the forefront of delivering high service quality and innovation to our customers,” said MD Siddharth Kejriwal. “Adding Manohar’s depth of services and domain expertise strengthens our offerings in the food and beverage segment and increases our footprint in north and west India.”
The transaction, which gives Parksons a presence in Goa and Punjab, will also increase the company’s total converting capacity to almost 150,000 tonnes a year. Parksons has around 300 customers across the consumer, food and pharmaceutical categories.
1 December | HEALTHCARE PACKAGING
Multinational packaging firm Amcor has opened an ‘advanced’ healthcare packaging facility in Tuas, Singapore, to meet the growing demand for its products in Asia-Pacific. The greenfield site, which will expand Amcor’s co-extrusion blown film and printing technology, has been built to address the need for quality and regulatory compliance in the region’s healthcare industry. To support this, the company is also building an innovation centre for healthcare films at the site.
The ISO 13485-certified facility houses a cleanroom manufacturing site with three-, seven- and nine-layer co-extrusion blown film capabilities, as well as advanced flexographic printing activities. In keeping with Amcor’s sustainability commitments, the plant uses water-based printing technology with no solvent emissions.
“Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the region and customers are looking for packaging suppliers that can improve their speed to the market,” said Amcor’s South-East Asia healthcare GM, Scott Jackson. “Our new Singapore facility is a meaningful step towards expanding our product offerings and increasing our capacity to support customer growth, now and well into the future.”
Amcor has pledged to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
1 December | INVESTMENT
The Government of Canada has committed to invest CAD3.5m (US$2.7m) in Montréal-based cleantech company Polystyvert.
The investment, which will be made through the government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) vehicle, will be used by Polystyvert to expand its patented recycling technology. The company’s technology aims to create a 360° economy for polystyrene materials, which are hard to find recycling schemes for.
Polystyvert will recycle styrene plastics in order to produce recycled polystyrene resins for use in manufacturing new products, including food containers.
“Now is the time for ambitious climate action,” said the country’s Innovation, Science & Industry Minister, François-Philippe Champagne. “Cleantech innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation are key to the vital shift to a healthier environment and a net-zero carbon economy.”
The investment is SDTC’s second investment in Polystyvert and is intended to help Canada meet its 2030 climate goals.
Amazon is reportedly planning to cut its use of plastic packaging in Germany by the end of the year. As part of the initiative, the e-tail giant will switch from single-use plastic packaging to paper bags, as well as ship larger items from its logistic centre in corrugated cardboard boxes. The commitment comes as Amazon has been facing criticism in the country of its contribution to the increasing amount of plastic waste.
Smurfit Kappa has introduced a thermo-laminated metallised film for manufacturing bags as part of its ‘Bag-in-Box’ range. The technology bonds separate films together through exposure to heat without using the adhesives typically used for lamination. By using the film, the company claims to have reduced the weight of its bags by 12% and its carbon dioxide emissions by 7%.
The Filipino branch of the Coca-Cola system is poised to commence operations at its food-grade bottle-to-bottle plastic recycling facility in General Trias, Cavite early next year. Known as ‘PETValue’, the plant, earmarked for Q1, is a joint venture between Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines and green technology and packaging provider Indorama Ventures.
Israel-based Melodea has created two recyclable cellulose-based barrier coatings to protect packaged products and reduce plastic waste. Through its patented technology, the green technology start-up uses wood pulp as a raw material to create barrier coating instead of traditionally used materials such as plastics and aluminium. The pair are currently being trialled by a number of companies in the country.
30 November | CONSUMER RECYCLING
Multiple retailer Aldi has debuted a trial recycling project in Scotland ahead of the implementation of the country’s Deposit Return Scheme.
The company has installed a reverse vending machine in the car park of its store in Bathgate, West Lothian. Customers can return single-use PET or glass bottles in sizes from 5cl to 3-litres, as well as aluminium drinks cans. In exchange, they will receive Aldi vouchers worth GBP0.10 (US$0.13) for each item, up to a maximum of GBP5 ($6.68).
During the trial, Aldi will gather data on consumer behaviour, including the number of items deposited. The data will help the retailer gain insights as it prepares to make all its own-brand packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by next year.
“We’re always looking for new ways to look after our environment and promote recycling whenever possible,” said Aldi’s Scotland regional MD, Richard Holloway. “We hope local customers in Bathgate will embrace this trial and we will use their feedback to inform our plans as we prepare for the deposit return scheme roll-out in Scotland.”
The scheme, which has been delayed by the COVID pandemic, could be postponed until 2023, according to local reports
3 December | FMCG BRANDS
US-based food giant Kellogg’s has teamed with Tesco in the UK to conduct a trial of its 100% recycled cereal boxes. The scheme will see the plastic inner liner of its Corn Flakes cereal brand replaced with a paper liner, as part of its plans to make cereal’s packaging completely recyclable.
The outer packaging of Kellogg’s cereal boxes has been recyclable for several years, but the aim of the trial is to see whether the paper liner can withstand the filling, sealing and transportation process. As well as being durable, Kellogg has said that the paper liner must keep the cereal contents fresh with a shelf life of 12 months.
“We know people want to do more to help the planet and that’s why we are working hard towards meeting our commitment of all Kellogg’s packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2025,” said UK & Ireland MD Chris Silcock. “This important trial of fully paper cereal packaging ensures we have explored all our options. Ultimately, we would prefer plastic liners to be accepted in home recycling as our data tells us they are better for the planet over the full lifecycle of the packaging This trial ensures we have an alternative.”
Tesco grocery director David Beardmore added: “It’s great to see that Kellogg is trialling a paper cereal bag in our stores – our customers will be pleased that they can easily recycle the bag at home.”
Aldi removes plastic packaging from wooden toys in UK
The UK division of multiple retailer Aldi has eliminated the use of plastic for the packaging of its 26-strong wooden toy range. The unit has switched plastic tape for paper tape and started using paper wrap instead of bubble wrap.
Alpla has selected Kansas City as the location for a new injection moulding plant, the plastic company’s first. The facility, which will be Alpla’s fourth in the state of Missouri, will make closures and is scheduled to commence operations in late-2022.
US-based ProAmpac has acquired Irish Flexible Packaging and Fispak. The two companies, both based in Ireland, operate in food packaging and join ProAmpac’s near-50-facility footprint worldwide.
Co-op, Unilever pilot refillable packaging models
Unilever has teamed up with UK retailer Co-op for trials of ‘Refill On the Go’ and ‘Return On the Go’. Recognising that “there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for the concepts, Unilever will offer brands such as Persil and Radox through Co-op stores in returnable stainless steel bottles.