There are not many days that go by that I don’t get an article about the wrongdoings of plastic packaging and the impact it is having on our environment. China’s decision last year to ban imports of 24 categories of waste including plastics starting in January 2018 has started a lot of discussion about all forms of plastic and how we handle it not only here in NZ but the rest of the world. We as consumers and society in general, have become more aware about environmental problems such as plastic pollution and are asking for more sustainable packaging options.
Produce is often in the gun for perceived ‘
over-packaging’ however there are a number of produce categories that rely heavily on plastic packaging for their products in order to extend shelf life and reduce food waste, keep costs under control, provide a high level of visual appeal along with other benefits such as ease of automation.
While non-plastic alternatives to packaging are rapidly rising to the fore and increasing in consumption with our customer base, one of our key partners, Infia - a leading packaging supplier in the fresh produce sector, have spent many years of effort and a huge investment in machinery and R&D on a solution to produce its entire range using 100% recycled polyethylene (R-PET 100%). This is extremely welcome news as while they have been producing their trays from a high percentage of recycled materials for a long time, being 100% R-PET is a massive success and a real jump on the market. R-PET 100% is environmentally sustainable, as it uses only recycled materials; and it is fully compliant in relation to food safety.
This will provide a type of packaging that has the same transparency and resistance as those made from virgin raw material and that, at the same time, guarantees great sustainability traits at every level, dramatically reducing the environmental impact.
With more than 70 years of experience, INFIA is present in almost 80 countries and has been investing for years in converting its production plants to be able to use post-consumer materials in replacement of virgin materials. Today, it is the only company in its field that offers recycled material supply to its customers, according to their needs and without any limit of quantity, thanks to the coverage of all its productive capacity with R-PET 100%.
Validating safety and sustainability
- It has been approved and it is compliant with the EFSA guidelines (Scientific Opinion EFSA Journal 2011;9(7):2184).
- The recycling process avoids end-of-life plastics from going to the landfills or to the incinerator. It also helps decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of raw materials.
- In its guidelines on waste management, the European Commission puts the recycling process right after prevention and reuse, among the Community objectives to pursue in order to correctly manage post-consumer packaging. This is the general approach to implement to minimise plastic production and to maximise the recycling of materials and energies, so as to achieve the best overall environmental outcome.
- It replaces virgin plastics, avoiding environmental impacts related to extraction and refinement.