2020 the year that retail packaging had to change
In the last two years, store operators have introduced substantial changes to their packaging practices whether they are doing their bit to preserve the planet or actually to boost the health of those who depend on it.
At the end of the 2010s, the issue of plastic waste moved the industry’s agenda forward.
Reusable systems have also become more popular, with both RollsPack, AU-based, and Carrefour, France, testing their own systems in this field.
We are looking at the key packaging strategy changes that some of the biggest supermarkets will be introducing in 2020.
Packaging policies for the retail industry in 2020
Waitrose has positioned itself as one of the leading sustainable supermarkets in the United Kingdom through schemes such as Unpacked.
On 13 May 2020, when it re-launched its Essential range, with new packaging designs for more than 200 items, the company pushed this further.
The goods used in the move include branded critical olives, which have been converted from barrels to steel containers, saving 92 tonnes of glass packaging per year.
In addition, the zip seals have been withdrawn from all of its dried fruit bags and the material has been changed by the wrapping of its chilled bread.
Karen Graley, Manager of Waitrose Packaging and Reprographics, said: “We are committed to reducing the volume of packaging we use on all our products.”
For Essential Waitrose, we have set the target of reducing packaging by 15%, including single-use plastic, which we are on track to achieve by September 2020.
“We are deeply proud of this because it helps us to get ever closer to removing unused plastic and to have all proprietary packaging commonly recycled, reused or compostable by 2023.”
Plastic shrink-wrap is in the hands of Tesco for 2020, with the retail giant confirming that it will be withdrawing the material from its multipack tinned products in January.
Customers will receive “multibuy” coupons scheduled to be released in March, where they will be able to purchase multiple individual tins for the same price as the former multipack.
The company says it will remove 67 million pieces of plastic from its UK stores.
In order to ensure that they meet the retailer’s aim to make all its own branded packaging widely recyclable, recycled or home-compostable by 2023, all products in the range have been reviewed.
Dave Lewis, CEO of Esco, said at the time, “We are removing all unused and non-recyclable plastics from Tesco.”
“As part of this work, 350 tonnes of plastic will be cut out of the environment every year by eliminating plastic-wrapped multipacks from all of the Seveso stores in the UK, and customers will still benefit from the same high-value ‘multipack’ price.”
This move is part of the plan to remove one billion pieces of plastic packaging from its stores by the end of 2020.
The German supermarket chain Lidl has begun a transition towards more sustainable packaging in 2020.
By way of an agreement with the Meade Potato Party, 100% of Irish packed potato items will be sold as compostable goods.
New bags have been made available in all 162 stores around the country.
Philip Meade Jr., marketing manager of the Meade Potato Company, said: “The launch of this bag is a victory for the world and the consumer.”
“Plastic that can not be recycled has been fully discarded and replaced with paper that can be composted, potentially ending up as a fertiliser, possibly to grow more potatoes.”
The firm also said the same month that it would remove cartoon characters from Crownfield cereal brands under its own name.
Lidl announced in February 2020 that it will use packaging made from recycled ocean-bound waste in its UK beach and coastal stores in South East Asia.
The 80% recycled content range will keep more than 60 tonnes of plastic from entering the sea annually, equivalent to 2.5 million bottles of plastic water.
“Georgina Hall, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Lidl GB, said:” By 2050, according to data from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more waste than fish in the ocean.
Any of the plastic from the ocean enters the sea from 10 main points of entry, eight of which are in Asia.
Countries such as those in South East Asia lack the infrastructure for waste management, which is often overrun by population growth or tourism, to cope with this issue.
We are proud to be the first UK retailer to introduce recycled packaging that would otherwise have ended up in the ocean, trying to address the problem directly as part of our effort to keep plastics from being waste.
“We are actively applying this innovative approach to other product categories to help reduce the volume of plastic that ends up in our oceans and to foster a healthier environment.”
The range will be launched at the end of March and will be made of 80 per cent recycled material, with at least 30 per cent of the weight of the packaging being made of ocean-bound plastic.
Per minute, the equivalent of one plastic garbage truck spills into streams and rivers. An approximate 100 million aquatic creatures die per year from recycled plastics. By 2050, there may be more plastic than food in the oceans of the planet. Just 14 per cent of the plastic packaging used internationally finds its way to recycling plants. In reality, only 9 percent is recycled. A third is left in vulnerable habitats, and 40% is left in landfills. Moving for a circular economy means less waste in our shared world.
Circular economy by nature is restorative and regenerative. By 2025, we will reduce the amount of virgin plastic we use in our packaging by half. We can allow an absolute drop of more than 100,000 tonnes in plastic consumption. 100% of our plastic packaging is planned to be recycled, recyclable or compostable. More productive use of materials means lower prices and less pollution, says Alan Jope, CEO of L’Oreal. The advantages of the circular economy to industry are obvious, he says.
Unilever partners with others to grow the recycling sector. Since 2010, our waste per user has decreased by 32%. Our four plastics responsibilities understand that we need to work faster and behave holistically. The Unilever Healthy Living Initiative was launched in 2010. Both four commitments draw on the gains we have achieved since 2010. The goal is to reduce the weight of our packaging by one third by the end of 2020 and to halve the waste involved with the disposal of our goods by 2020.
Unilever: We will help gather and store about 600,000 tonnes of material annually by 2025. 100% of our plastic packaging is planned to be completely recycled, recyclable or compostable. In 2019, Dove moved to fresh 100 % recycled plastic bottles in North America and Europe. ‘Less of plastic. It’s stronger plastic. No plastic’s about cutting back on how many we use in the first place, says Unilever’s chief executive officer, Paul Donovan. ‘No plastic’ means the use of substitute materials such as aluminium, glass , paper and board where possible and the absence of plastic where it is not required, he says.
Cif plans to reduce the use of virgin plastic in its packaging by half by 2020. The company is withdrawing over 100,000 tonnes of plastic from its goods. Omo laundry detergent is one of a range of brands searching for new ways to reduce the environmental effects. Latest developments to optimise the packaging include the Cif eco-refill and foamed plastic layer in the centre of the container walls. By 2020, all Cif spray bottles will be made of 100 % recycled plastic and all refill bottles must be recyclable.
Dove is increasing the use of recycled plastic. About 50% of the plastic packaging was recycled, recyclable or compostable in 2019. Dove has opted for longer-term projects with a larger and more sustained effect. In 2019, Dove revealed plans to eliminate more than 20,500 tonnes of virgin plastic per year. The organisation expects this figure to continue to grow in the coming years. The study leads to the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Responsible Consumption and Output (Responsible Consumption and Production) Alliance for Objectives. The ‘best plastic’ element of our framework focuses on keeping our goods recyclable and removing problematic materials.
Since 2014, our dishwash brand has been working to integrate more polymer polyethylene terephthalate ( PET) into its Cif Active Gel bottles. In 2019, all of our distilled dishwash liquid portfolio packaging in Argentina will switch to 100 % recycled PET (rPET) bottles. Low crude oil costs, restricted supply of high-quality recycled scrap products and food packaging regulations will all make change more difficult in some markets. We need to be both creative and collaborative if we want to achieve our goals, says Dr. Phillips, CEO of Cif.
Until now, it has been difficult to manually detect and sort black plastic bottles for recycling. But we’ve built a way to do so, and we’re making technology open to all. New technologies ensures that an extra 2,500 tonnes of plastic bottles could now theoretically be sorted and transported for recycling in the UK alone every year. This is equal to the weight of more than 1,200 family-sized vehicles or 200 London buses. In 2019, we started using new observable bottles for our brands TRESemmé and Lynx (Axe).
Just 14 per cent of PET goes to recycling facilities. The remainder is either incinerated, disposed of in landfills or spilled into the wild. The biggest reason PET is not being recycled is the lack of facilities to gather and sort through waste plastic. Unilever is partnering with Ioniqa, a start-up firm in the Netherlands, to break down PET to its molecular building blocks. The method adds value to PET waste and returns it to the economy as a productive resource, says Sanjeev Das, Global Refreshment Packaging Manager.
Kenya is inundated with plastic litter. The rivers are being diverted, and even the roads are becoming impassable. Nairobi generates about 2,400 tonnes a day, about 60 per cent of which is collected and just around 10 per cent recycled.