Mar 27, 2019

Automating the Reduction of Plastic

The noise around reducing plastic is growing louder and, as I’d selfishly hoped (as a concerned citizen of Planet Earth), shows no sign of being a “passing fad”.

I could launch into a heart-felt monologue about the need for better consumer education, public support for capable infrastructure AND the necessity of packaging (be it plastic or otherwise) to ensure proper and suitable food safety… but I’d barely scratch the surface and it would be 100% opinion and seemingly subjective.

If we all agree that we need to reduce the use of plastic, regardless of what category in the supermarket you’re looking at, where do we go to for more eco-friendly options?

Cardboard is one option. It is readily recyclable and, although over-foresting would need to be monitored with any escalation in use, there are also pretty cool options for fresh produce packaging. Branded cardboard packs for apples, avocados etc. look awesome and help to protect our precious produce in transit to store and through to the household fruit bowl. We have a partnership with BandAll (more info here) who are based in the Netherlands and have 25 years' experience in automating banding for showcasing a variety of products in a more sustainable way.

Reducing plastic is a win/win for everyone. For anyone who hasn’t heard me bleat on about tray-sealing, read Ann's post here (click here) or scroll down to the last sentence now.

Heat/tray/top-sealing, to me, is a no-brainer. Having spent time with the good guys from ProSeal, there is plenty of logistical, operational and marketing reasons to ditch the antiquated clam-shell and look at automating the sealing of pre-printed film onto trays representing an easy 50% reduction in plastic consumption.

When all is said and done, it’s not the plastic that is at fault, it’s what we’re doing with the plastic post-purchase that is the problem.

What can we do? We can get better. And getting better means incremental gains towards a better place for everyone, not simply waiting for that elusive “silver bullet”.

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