Produce Packaging switches to 100 per cent recyclable soft fruit containers

Thermoformer Waddington Europe has teamed up with UK distributor Produce Packaging to develop 100 per cent recycled and recyclable soft fruit containers.

Image: Waddington Europe

Made with Waddington’s Eco Blend 100 material, Produce Packaging’s new containers consist entirely of a combination of post-consumer (PCR) and post-industrial (PIR) rPET.

The containers will be available to all Produce Packaging customers, including growers, packers and importers that supply major retail outlets. Waddington said the switch to Eco Blend 100 reflected the decision by Produce Packaging to focus increasingly on packaging that is environmentally sustainable.

Produce Packaging’s plastics fruit containers already had contained a minimum of 80 per cent recycled content. However, the company was keen to make the switch to 100 per cent rPET, as it believed it is the “most viable, future-proof option” for customers, said Produce Packaging managing director Mark Tierney.

“Our hope is that taking the lead in expanding the use of packaging made completely out of recycled content for consumers will help drive demand for recycled content, which in turn will encourage more local authorities to invest in their recycling regimes and infrastructure,” Tierney added.

Waddington described the use of packaging made with recycled material that can be fully recycled after use as an “important packaging choice” that growers and food packers can make to reduce packaging waste.

Using recycled content and designing-for-recycling enables plastics packaging to remain one of the most durable, lightweight and cost-effective ways to ensure safe transportation, shelf-life, presentation and protection of soft fruit while reducing the risk of food waste, the Novolex-owned company added.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Produce Packaging to enable its transition to our full Eco Blend 100 range of soft fruit containers,” said Eduardo Gomes, managing director of Waddington Europe.

“A UK plastics tax, effective in April 2022, is being put in place to accelerate plastics recycling efforts, but it only requires a minimum of 30 per cent recycled content in packaging products.

“It really is a true testament to Mark and his team’s environmental commitment to start the process of switching to full 100 per cent rPET well ahead of this date.”