Reducing the environmental impact of packaging and tackling plastic waste are urgent priorities for us, which we take extremely seriously.
Plastic is a highly efficient material which helps us develop packaging that provides the right levels of security, quality, product protection, and preservation while enabling us to meet our packaging elimination goals. Switching from plastic to other less efficient materials risks creating more food waste, or much more packaging material, with increased environmental and climate change impact.
We want to contribute to a circular economy where packaging material is recycled or reused, while minimizing food waste and the overall environmental impact of packaging, including on climate change. To help achieve this, we are working to find solutions to the shared problem of packaging waste in five key ways:
- Reducing our packaging material by optimizing our packaging formats, while also minimizing food waste – we’ve eliminated 59,600 tonnes since 2013
- Continuing to simplify our material choices and using innovative packaging materials to make our packs easier to recycle – around 90 percent of our packaging is already recyclable or recycle-ready and we’re committed to 100% by 2025
- Sourcing all of our paper-based packaging sustainably by 2020
- Working with industry, governments and non-governmental organizations to support improved infrastructure and greater harmonization of packaging materials, so that more packaging can be collected and recycled
- Providing recycling information in markets around the world by 2025, to make it easy for consumers to recycle or re-use product packs
Inconsistent collection and recycling facilities means that wrappers made of thin plastic film often end up in landfills, communities, or oceans – whether the materials are technically recyclable or not.
Around 50% of our flexible film uses a single type of plastic as either single-layer or multi-layer, so it is recycle-ready. We want to work with governments and the recycling industry to improve waste collection, sorting and recycling systems. For products needing greater protection, we use multi-material films to help prevent food waste, combining plastic with paper or aluminum, or different types of plastic. We’re working with packaging suppliers to identify alternative recyclable films using a single type of plastic as fast as possible to meet our 2025 goal.
In terms of extended producer responsibility, we understand that individuals, companies, governments and other organizations have a role to play to prevent waste and actively engage in recycling efforts. However, we believe it is unfair to simply ‘tax’ manufacturers for using packaging to prevent food waste, which has 10 times the environmental impact of packaging.
Better outcomes and impact on waste will be achieved by industry, government and civil society working together to tackle this complex and multifaceted problem. Packaging Recyclability (PDF)