© Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Sonae MC has been named Portugal’s top retailer for its use of reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Annual Report, which reports on the progress across the 400 or so signatories of the New Plastics Economy global commitment. The Portuguese retailer was also one of the best-performing global retailers among the signatories, ranking fourth in terms of the percentage of reusable plastic incorporated in its packaging (13.4%), surpassing companies like Starbucks and Delhaize.
Sonae MC ranks seventh in terms of the percentage (55%) of effectively reused, recyclable or compostable packaging, ahead of groups such as Carrefour, Marks & Spencer and Walmart.
Set up in 2018, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative is supported by the UN Environment Programme and aims to bring forward to 2025 the European goals set for 2030.The main ambitions are to eliminate unnecessary plastic objects, redesign packaging, focus on innovation so that all plastic is reusable, recyclable or compostable, and ensure that all plastic is used in a circular way and dissociated from the consumption of finite resources. For Sonae MC, the challenge is to guarantee a circular economy in which not only the life time of the material is prolonged, but also avoiding its disposal in nature or incineration as undifferentiated waste.
Sonae MC has set a 2025 deadline for all of its own Continente branded plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable in a cost-effective way. Continente has been implementing several measures within its Strategy for the Responsible Use of Plastics, both in terms of its dealings with logistics firms and suppliers, as well as at an internal level and by raising consumer awareness. In 2020, Continente saved over 4,200 tons of virgin plastic, representing a 90% growth compared to the 2,200 tons/year announced in April 2019.
UK retailer Asda has announced is to dispense with plastic bags for loose fruit and veg bags at nine of its UK stores. The trial began on 7th September and could save around 141 tons of plastic a year, the equivalent of over 3.5 million bags. To replace plastic bags, Asda is offering ‘Veggio’ bags, which cost 30p each. Similar projects have recently been launched at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
Kevin Patel, director of produce at Asda, said, “This is a really exciting step in our journey as we continue to look at innovative ways we can reduce unnecessary plastic from across the business and meet our target of reducing own-brand plastic by 15% by 2021. We know that our customers and colleagues are really passionate about sustainability and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do their bit for the environment, without having to compromise on quality.”
Asda has also recently launched a 100% recyclable blueberry punnet, which allows customers to recycle the punnets and film together, without the need to remove the lid. Similar trials are scheduled for other fresh lines later in the year.
A new report by the Green Alliance has warned UK retailers that replacing plastics with other materials could increase carbon emissions. Prepared for the Circular Economy Task Force, the report, titled ‘Plastic Promises: what the industry is really doing about packaging’, warns against kneejerk responses by the food and grocery industry to plastic reduction demands and the potentially harmful consequences.
The authors of the report interviewed anonymous representatives from five of the UK’s leading supermarkets, as well as other figures from the food industry. It paints a picture of a retail sector rushing to ditch plastics without considering the consequences.
One supermarket figure told the Green Alliance: “The past year has just really pissed me off no end with companies coming out and boasting about not using plastic, even when they’re in single-use glass, and their carbon emissions are going to be off the scale.”
Another supermarket representative said: ‘There are people who would like us to take plastic out of the soft drinks section and replace it with something else like glass and Tetra packs, which aren’t recycled.’
The Green Alliance’s report also highlights the fact that despite the retailers’ initiatives, the overall amount of plastic on their shelves has not changed significantly.
TAGS: Retail, Green Alliance, plastics
The impact of Italy’s new Plastic Tax is expected to be less than originally intended as it will not concern compostable materials or those produced with recycled plastic (R-Pet), the use of which is spreading in packaging for fruit and vegetables. Following parliamentary debate, other changes to the tax are also in the pipeline. The new tax was originally set to tax plastics by €1 per kilo; but this is set to be cut to between €0.40 and €0.80 per kilo. The new tax is expected to generate revenues of €1.1 billion in 2020 for the Italian government. As for the impact on the private sector, the Plastic Tax is estimated to cost Coca-Coca Hbc Italia approximately €40 million each year.
UK retailer Tesco has stapled its green credentials to its mast and laid down a challenge to its rivals by pledging to eliminate plastic in its packaging of many own-brand products. The pledge cites a commitment to remove one billion pieces of plastic from its products by the end of 2020. The initiative is part of the retailer’s commitment to its 4Rs strategy: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
The items that will affected by the drive include: plastic bags used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items, replacing them with paper ones; plastic trays for ready meals; secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts and cereals; sporks and straws for snack pots and drinks cartons; as well as 200 million pieces of plastic used to pack clothing and greetings cards.
According to a company statement: “If packaging can’t be recycled, it will have no place at Tesco.” The retailer announced that in 2019, it had removed over 4,000 tons of materials from 800 lines.
Credit photo: Aldi
Aldi has joined its rivals in the drive to reduce plastic consumption by trialling reusable bags for its fruit and vegetables. Instead of plastic bags, the retailer will offer drawstring bags made from recycled plastic bottles costing 25p each. The initiative will affect over 250 stores in the UK and follows a similar project launched by Sainsbury’s.
Aldi has pledged to reduce plastic packaging by 25% by the end of 2023. If rolled out nationally, it is estimated that the project would remove the equivalent of 113 tons of single-use plastic from circulation each year.
Managing director of corporate responsibility at Aldi, Fritz Walleczek, said, “We are hopeful that our customers will embrace these new reusable produce bags whenever they’re buying loose fruit and veg.”
The Armando Alvarez group is known as a manufacturer of high quality plastics, both rigid and flexible, for covering greenhouses, as well as of mulches for soil-grown crops and soil disinfection films, among others.
And now it is adding a new product to its order list.
“We are currently launching our Flex Alvatank, a more flexible system that can accumulate any quantity from 1 to 500 cubic metres of any liquid,” said José Herrera from export sales.
Grupo Armando Alvarez exports to over 90 countries, spanning South and North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and has annual revenue of €700 million.