sustainable packaging

Sustainability; The Top Packaging Priority

Mission - Green Background Logos

At JBX PaperPak, we have long been saying that reducing waste and increasing the circularity of economies around the world will require commitment from both governments and businesses. Governments need to regulate and incentivise economies to move in more circular directions, but without the cooperation of big business progress would be slowed to a snail’s pace.

We have previously written about some of the steps being taken, which you can read here, here and here.

Of course, the actions taken up to now are fantastic, but they are not nearly enough; we are only scratching the surface of what needs to be done. With this in mind, we are delighted to be able to be able to bring you even more news of the commitments to sustainability being made by governments and businesses.

Plastic Packaging Ban

The first piece of major news in the world of reducing packaging waste comes from France, where the government’s environment ministry has announced plans to ban all plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables from the beginning of 2022. This law was passed in February 2020 and will come into effect from January 1st, with the government having published a list of over 30 fruits and vegetables that will have to be sold with no plastic packaging.

Estimates suggest that as much as 37% of the fruits and vegetables sold in France have plastic packaging and that this new ban will eliminate more than one billion items of plastic packaging every year. A major economy such as France moving so strongly in the direction of sustainable packaging is only good news for the future of sustainability and will hopefully inspire many other governments around the world to make similar decisions.

Businesses Going Green

There are also many companies deciding to take the initiative and transition to more sustainable packaging options. Frozen food supermarket giant Iceland revealed their plans to drastically cut down on plastic packaging across many of their products. They will be reducing or eliminating plastic packaging by using alternatives such as cartons, paperboard pots and paper laminate bags. This comes as part of their larger pledge to remove all plastic packaging from their own label range by 2023.

This new packaging line is being trialled in 115 Iceland stores and has reportedly resulted in a reduction of plastic waste by 36.6 tonnes. The managing director of Iceland, Richard Walker, said, “While we are very proud of the progress we have made so far, our journey to becoming plastic free would be much easier if government set more aggressive, mandatory plastic reduction targets as a framework for business to operate within.”

Sustainable Packaging

We are glad to see a company the size of Iceland using the power of their brand to pressure the government to be more aggressive about reducing plastic packaging waste and to encourage the use of more sustainable packaging alternatives.

However, Iceland are not the only ones committed to sustainable packaging choices, as Weetabix reveal they are on track to hit their target of 99% recyclable packaging by the summer of 2022. Keen to lead the way in their space, the cereal manufacturer has made a number of changes to their packaging choices. For example, they are replacing the bottles for their Weetabix On The Go protein breakfast drinks with recyclable PET bottles.

After heavily investing in testing to ensure the new bottles will protect the nutritional contents of the drinks when in direct sunlight, Weetabix said the new bottles will contain at least 51% rPET – which will also reduce their carbon footprint by 7%. Another change to their packaging will be a recyclable paper wrap for all their breakfast biscuit products, set to deliver a further 20% reduction in carbon emissions.

Weetabix’s head of supply chain and technical, John Petre, said, “Ultimately, all our packaging decisions are based on whether they reduce our overall carbon footprint. Since food waste is a big contributor to carbon emissions and environmental damage, our concern is always to balance packaging innovation against that risk.”

Here at JBX PaperPak, we are overjoyed to see companies such as Iceland and Weetabix making the reduction of their carbon footprint their number one priority. We are also massively encouraged to see countries like France passing laws that make sustainable packaging choices mandatory. However, as always, we still want more.

We should never allow ourselves to become complacent just because we see governments and companies taking these steps. Instead, we should use this to garner momentum to keep us going in the direction of a fully circular economy with net zero waste and net zero carbon emissions.

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Our paper straws are made by stacking 3 plies of high-quality food grade kraft paper and putting them through a core-winding machine that applies an adhesive and rolls the straws into shape. They are then cut to size, coated in lacquer to ensure quality and are then ready to be sold.