Foodstuffs wins national award for waste reduction

Foodstuffs wins national award for waste reduction

Foodstuffs NZ Sustainability Manager Mike Sammons with Eugenie Sage MP (L) and Hon Maggie Barry (R).
Foodstuffs NZ Sustainability Manager Mike Sammons with Eugenie Sage MP (L) and Hon Maggie Barry (R).

Foodstuffs New Zealand’s world-first recyclable butchery trays have been named the country’s top waste minimisation initiative for 2016, at the Green Ribbon Awards in Wellington.

The kerbside-recyclable trays, which are being rolled out nationwide and will be in use at all New World and PAK’nSAVE stores by the end of July, were recognised for being an innovative, sustainable solution to a environmental issue that has challenged retailers for years.

Made of 50% recycled plastic, the trays themselves can be put in customers’ kerbside recycling bins. They will replace the current trays that are made of non-recyclable polystyrene foam, 100 million of which end up in NZ landfills every year – equivalent to 14 Olympic-size pools’ worth of polystyrene.

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd Sustainability Manager, Mike Sammons, who managed the project from conception to commercialisation, alongside Alto Packaging, says the Green Ribbon win is “great recognition for a great kiwi solution.”

“It was a massive challenge finding a cost-efficient, functional, sustainable solution,” says Sammons. “But we also knew the eventual pay-off would be worth it, in terms of the environmental benefits.”

“To now take home the top prize in the waste reduction category makes that investment even more rewarding.”

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd Managing Director, Steve Anderson, says the company is thrilled by the win and what it means for the environment, here and overseas. “This accolade underscores Foodstuffs’ long-standing commitment to move our packaging towards being 100% recyclable for our customers, either at kerbside or back at store,” Anderson says.

Sammons says single-use packaging doesn’t make financial or environmental sense: “Going to the trouble of manufacturing a product from a finite resource, then using it once for a few days before relegating it to a landfill is simply inefficient and irresponsible.”

“The clear trays are highly sought-after for recycling too,” he says, “which will hopefully incentivise local packaging manufacturers to invest in reprocessing post-consumer packaging, thereby moving us closer to the ‘holy grail’ of closed loop recycling in New Zealand.”

Anderson says Foodstuffs has exclusivity on the tray design for a limited period, after which it’s expected Alto will then supply many more retailers throughout New Zealand and the world.

“While we’re immensely proud to have been recognised here at home by the Green Ribbon Awards, the real prize will be seeing these trays in use internationally in years to come.”

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