Waitrose & Partners has become the first UK supermarket to launch innovative new packaging for its ‘treat tubs’, which are made from 90% recycled materials and are fully recyclable.   This sustainable packaging innovation for Waitrose has been designed and manufactured by Cambridgeshire-based Charpak Ltd.  The treat tubs are 3.5g lighter than the previous design, and will save over 14 tonnes of plastic per year.  The brand-new packaging...

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Charpak Ltd six tips for own brand retailers and food manufacturers to achieve more sustainable packaging

Charpak’s Director of Sales and Innovation, Justin Kempson, speaks with Solutions for Retail Brands and shared his top tips for own-brand retailers and food manufacturers to adopt when addressing consumer and industry concerns around product and packaging design, and its environmental impact.


1. Design for Recyclability


RECOUP Recyclability By DesignMinimising food waste, and avoiding over-packaging products is an essential and growing requirement to address climate change, and carbon footprint. The 2019 Recyclability by Design guidelines from RECOUP and The British Plastics Federation are easy to understand industry guidelines for packaging and non-packaging professionals to keep close to hand, when working with a range of plastic materials. For designers, packaging technologists and wider sales and marketing teams the guiding principle is to support continuous improvements in packaging design, and best use of materials.



2. Address consumer concerns


Consumers continue to give clear feedback of their expectations on brands, manufacturers and retailers to choose more appropriate packaging material types and formats. Consumers expect the industry to take the lead and ensure packaging is easy to recycle. Avoiding unintended consequences by switching to packaging alternatives that may cause other detrimental impact must also be considered as part of the new product, and new packaging development process.



3. Crystal clear on-pack labelling is essential


Justin advocates every producer applies the recognised OPRL system as undoubtedly the best system to use.  It is straightforward, easy to understand and is highly trusted by UK consumers, local authorities and the retail supply chain. The recognisable green and black symbols also overcome any misinterpretation, legibility or language challenges.


In addition to the OPRL system on outer packaging Charpak Ltd  recommend the inclusion of plastic resin codes on both primary and secondary packaging.  Always applying a clear message will help change behaviour with a strong call-to-action to recycle.




4. Address greenwashing


Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental credentials of a product. Unfortunately, greenwashing only confuses the issue further. With greenwashing on the increase, this must be addressed by the product and brand owners to ensure consumers don’t receive misleading claims; that may impact on the recovery and recycling of products, and its packaging.


Charpak recommend retailer packaging specifications address this in every brief.



5. Improve consumer communications – educate and engage to aid understanding


Helping consumers understand why certain packaging is used will help understand the complexity of the challenge. Charpak have produced helpful FAQ guides for our customers and own brand retailers have an even greater opportunity with their own employees and customer communications. Supporting Recycle Now campaigns, and using the Recycle Locator to help improve localised recycling in addition to consistent consumer messaging is key to helping reduce confusion.


Own brand retailers can help with in-store communications, through their mobile, digital and social media and in direct customer communications such as voucher mailings and customer e-newsletters. Charpak encourage own brands and retailers continue to promote and ‘shout about’ their successes in the changes they are making (and why), as it will most importantly, build trust and drive change in consumer behaviour.



6. Collaborate with suppliers


In our experience, the most effective solution to addressing the packaging and waste challenge is delivered when we work collaboratively, bringing together each organisation’s expertise. Charpak have a continual R&D and investment programme to ensure new innovations and packaging technologies are always in development. Committed to driving sustainability in thermoformed plastics and at the forefront of designing and manufacturing packaging which minimises environmental impact, our packaging experts clearly present the evidence and facts as to which solution is environmentally, ethically and economically viable, and most importantly, fit-for-purpose.



We ask own brand retailers:  Help us to Help You – Together We Can




Justin’s full interview with S4RB and key recommendations for own brand retailers can be read HERE.

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