Retailer moves to recyclable meat packaging

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

Retailer moves to recyclable meat packaging
Australian retailer Coles has become the first supermarket chain in the country to introduce recyclable packaging for its range of fresh meat and poultry products.

It has ordered 121 million recyclable meat and poultry trays from Australian manufacturer Plantic Technologies that are made from recycled PET with a thin layer of Plantic’s renewable barrier material, which helps keeps the meat fresh. During the recycling process, the thin Plantic plant starch layer uniquely washes away, allowing the PET tray to be recycled.

Coles director of fresh Alex Freudmann said the business was pleased to partner with Plantic Technologies on the project.

“This is an important new step in our goal to become more sustainable​,” he said. “For four years, our Coles Brand beef, lamb and pork mince has been packaged in recyclable trays sourced from Plantic. We now want to take the next step by transitioning a wider range of our fresh meat and poultry trays to Plantic’s new packaging, so that it is not just recyclable but also made from recycled plastics and renewable plant materials including corn.

“We understand the important role that packaging plays in maintaining food safety, supporting product longevity and reducing food waste. At the same time, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and continue to look for opportunities to increase the content of recycled material in Coles Brand packaging and improving recycling communication to customers on-pack.”

Plantic’s materials carry the Australian Recycling Label (ARL.org.au) launched by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), PlanetArk and PREP Design, which provides consumers with information on what packaging can be recycled and whether it can be recycled in kerbside recycling, through REDcycle soft plastics recycling.

Plantic Technologies CEO Brendan Morris said the company saw the partnership with Coles as a defining opportunity to strengthen the local recycling industry.

“The problem in Australia is that there hasn’t been lot of processing of kerbside recycling done on-shore. Instead, we’ve been sending it to China,”​ said Morris. “As a result, there has been little investment to reprocess the waste within Australia and there’s not enough capacity here. At the same time, Australia is importing plastic into the country that cannot be recycled. These two factors combined means the waste is just piling up.

“We decided that we needed to do something, or that mountain of waste will continue to grow. Plantic decided that if we’re really committed to this and want to make a benefit to the environment and make a real difference, then we need to start now, with Coles supporting us.”

In June, Coles made a pledge to make all Coles Brand packaging recyclable by 2020. 

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