Tesco, Nestle Among UK Firms Planning Big Packaging Cuts

Tesco, Nestle Among UK Firms Planning Big Packaging Cuts

Recycling - http://www.flickr.com/photos/scraplab/ / CC BY 2.0

The next phase in a commitment among U.K. companies to lower impacts from packaging brings in a carbon reduction goal with new packaging and waste reduction targets.

Phase 2 of the Courtauld Commitment, created by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), aims to reduce the carbon impact of packaging by 10 percent, reduce household food and drink waste by 4 percent and reduce packaging waste throughout supply chains by 5 percent, all by 2012.

Twenty-nine retailers and food companies including the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Nestle and Molson Coors have signed the voluntary commitment so far.

To cut the carbon emissions from packaging, WRAP and the signatories will work on reducing packaging weight, increasing recycling rates and using more recycled content in packaging. And in reducing packaging weight, companies will focus not only on product packaging, but the packaging used to ship items and other things like pallets.

One area that WRAP has helped with reducing packaging is aluminum cans. WRAP worked with Coca-Cola and can makers in Europe to figure out if anything more could be done to lighten aluminum cans. They were able to lower the can's weight by 5 percent with changes to the can ends, and new tests show they could reduce the can weight by another 5 percent.

The new packaging waste goal is aimed at waste throughout the entire supply chain, from manufacturing, transportation and storing products at retailers. The goal of waste prevention ties into WRAP's resource mapping projects that are identifying where waste is created in supply chains, why and what can be done about it.

And to reduce household waste from food, WRAP will continue and expand on programs like Love Food Hate Waste, which provides education about storing food and using leftovers to lower the amount of food going to landfills.

WRAP says that the goals of the new phase are challenging, but realistic, especially in light of the fact that the first phase of the Courtauld Commitment succeeded in slowing and stopping the growth in packaging waste, preventing the use of about 500,000 tonnes of packaging from 2005-2009.

The 29 founding signatories are:

AG Barr
Arla Foods
Boots UK Ltd
Constellation Europe
The Co-operative Group
Dairy Crest
Danone Dairy UK
Danone Waters (UK & Ireland)
Fosters EMEA
HJ Heinz
Innocent Drinks
Mars (UK)
Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK)
Muller Dairy UK
Nestle UK
Northern Foods
Robert Wiseman Dairies
Unilever UK
Vimto Soft Drinks
WM Morrison Supermarkets

More companies are expected to sign on, and Marks & Spencer has already said it plans to sign the commitment.

Recycling - http://www.flickr.com/photos/scraplab/ / CC BY 2.0