In packaging news this week, UK supermarket Waitrose has pledged to reduce its packaging waste by 100-tonnes over the next three years. It’s aiming to do this by replacing plastic trays with flow-wraps on its meat product ranges, printing directly on to fruit labels thus eliminating the need for labels, and reducing the width of the packaging sleeves on certain products. All the new designs were created by the retailer’s in-house team.
These clever initiatives announced by Waitrose shows the UK’s firm commitment to recycling, and in particular, food packaging recycling. Many people believe this is becoming firmly ingrained in the population’s consciousness as the UK regularly exceeds the mandatory packaging waste recovery and recycling targets set by the Landfill Directive and the Waste Framework Directive in 2011. And with the EU ready to review its Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive across the continent, Waitrose should be applauded for its move.
It’s worth noting how much recycling we currently do as a nation already. Last year, it’s thought British householders and businesses recycled 640,000 tonnes of plastic packaging, which is a great effort. But this will have to increase to 1.2m tonnes by 2017 to comply with new regulations due to come into effect.
Other notable efforts to reduce packaging waste include Nestle’s reduction of plastic in its packaging by 34% since 1991, and the Co-op’s clever use of moisture-controlled packs for tomatoes that keep the fruit fresher for longer.