ARBROATH-based Angus Soft Fruits has announced plans to remove over 150 tonnes of single-use plastic over the next 12 months by switching to 100% recycled material in its punnets of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
The company is working with thermoforming packaging specialist Waddington Europe, which has developed a punnet described as being both fully recyclable and made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). Angus Soft Fruits is also working closely with Waddington to achieve a 5-10% gauge reduction across all Waddington Europe punnets.
Catherine Russell, sustainability coordinator at Angus Soft Fruits, said, “We have ambitious sustainability plans here at Angus Soft Fruits across packaging, carbon emissions, biodiversity and food waste, and we are pleased to announce that almost all the berries we supply will now be packaged in 100% rPET punnets.
“Previously our punnets were made from 80% recycled materials as it has always been a challenge for the food industry to find sufficient volumes of clean, high-quality plastics that can be recycled and enter the market as food grade containers. We’re pleased that our long-term suppliers, Waddington Europe, have achieved this and we look forward to working closely with them to continue to promote circularity in soft fruit packaging.
“We are also looking to increase the monitoring of biodiversity, food waste and carbon emissions on our farms as well as significantly reduce food waste. Ultimately, we want to be net zero throughout our supply chain, from grower to customer, by 2040 and we want to share the best practices that we develop with our overseas growers. Moving our punnets sold in the UK to 100% rPET is a step in the right direction to achieving these goals.”
Waddington Europe last year they achieved Zero Waste to Landfill status across all of its manufacturing sites and this summer joined forces with Produce Packaging to introduce the Eco Blend 100 range of punnets made from 100% rPET.
Eduardo Gomes, MD of Waddington Europe, said, “Angus Soft Fruits is one of our largest customers, and we are delighted to be assisting them on their sustainability journey. The majority of our food-grade, high quality rPET is sourced as locally as possible from the UK and Ireland; some is also ethically sourced from our European recycling partners. Our Eco Blend 100 range is made from 100% rPET which is a mixture of both recycled post-consumer waste and post industrial waste and is also 100% recyclable after use.”