Monday 30th November, 2009

Eco-packaging of food

Image courtesy Waitrose

Revolutionising Milk Packaging

According to Sainsbury’s, Britons consume 9.3 billion pints of milk every year. Only one in four plastic milk bottles are actually recycled and the rest go to landfills. So the supermarket giant has introduced eco-friendly bags to replace their plastic milk cartons.

Almost 500 Sainsbury’s markets now provide free ‘jugit’ milk bags as a part of the plan to reduce packaging by 33 per cent by 2015. This eco-packaging would save 1.4 million kg of packaging every year.

Reports have shown that jugit’s packaging waste is 75 percent less than that of normal two pint bottles.

It’s been less than a month since Waitrose withdrew eco-friendly milk pouches from its shelves and Sainsbury’s has introduced it. A Waitrose spokesperson said: “We have taken the decision to stop selling milk in jugs and pouches as poor demand has led to high levels of milk being wasted... [W]e will continue our work to minimise packaging in other ways - for example we have increased the recycled content in our standard plastic milk bottles, which will mean that hundreds of tonnes of plastic are re-used every year.”

Sainsbury’s trialled the jugit internally, before launching it in the market. Emma Metcalf-King, a Senior Official at Sainsbury’s, said: “At the time of launching the new bags to the store, we gave one to each of our colleague for a trial. The feedback turned out to be so positive that we were looking forward to our customers giving it a shot too. Milk bags can be a great way for helping the environment. When you are picking one up for free from the store, they become a great way of helping the family budget.”

Plastic bottles have been the preferred milk container in Britain since the 1880s. But, it appears that Sainsbury’s has brought an eco-friendly revolution to milk packaging.

Eco-packaging Initiatives

Last year, KFC launched an initiative to reduce their annual rubbish output by 1,400 tonnes. They ditched their cardboard box packaging for environmentally friendly paper wrappers. In Britain, the company switched the burger packaging from their common cardboard clamshells/boxes to new paper wrappers. Their packaging is manufactured from 100 percent renewable resources from European forests.

Recently, NetJets Europe, the leading business jet operator in Europe, has also initiated a new eco-friendly packaging initiative to clean up their act. The catering boxes are now fashioned from sustainably-sourced bamboo. They feature porcelain inserts and wooden cutlery. Therefore, all the products used are recyclable or reusable, including the lids and porcelain.

Ricardo Paiva, the Catering Senior Manager at NetJets Europe, said:"We're encouraging our crew to work with our ground staff to achieve and exceed our recycling targets and minimise wastage.”

There is no doubt that packaging plays a major role in the production of waste in different parts of Britain. Reducing packaging waste across industries will encourage the use of biodegradable products.

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