Heinz and Tesco has collaborated on a soft plastics recycling trial to produce recyclable packaging for its Heinz Beanz Snap Pots.
The trial set to start in July, will see soft plastics returned to Tesco by customers re-purposed by a team of specialists and the retailer to create the classic Heinz pot with 39% recycled soft plastics.
The move follows customer interest in sustainable practises, as the pilot projected is estimated to save 22 tonnes of plastic while still offering shoppers the convenience of microwave cooking.
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Additionally, by creating food-grade microwavable pots from soft plastics that can be recyclable, the project would mark the first of its kind in the world.
Currently, soft plastics are most used in bread, snack and crisps packaging – and have been notoriously difficult to recycle.
Until 2020, only 6% of UK soft plastics was recycled despite the material playing a key role in food preservation and reducing food waste.
“It is great to see Heinz and Tesco working together to trial packaging to boost recycling levels,” Resources and Waste minister Jo Churchill said.
“Businesses across the UK are stepping up to tackle plastic pollution and we want to incentivise them to do so. Through our landmark Environment Act, we are also making it easier for consumers to recycle more.”
Tesco’s soft plastic collection scheme stated in all its large stores in 2021, to close gaps in the UK’s recycling loop.
Similarly, Heinz’s sustainability goals hopes to see wide industry collaboration with government support for packaging innovation.
“The new packaging gives our consumers an easy way to reduce their impact on the environment without having to give up the convenience of their favourite Heinz Beanz in a microwavable pot,” Heinz president Northern Europe Jojo de Noronha said.
“What’s more, knowing that this type of plastic can now be made into useful food-grade packaging like our Snap Pots could encourage more people to drop it off at their local collection point until more permanent recycling infrastructure for these materials is put in place, rather than adding them to landfill.”
Tesco’s group quality director Sarah Bradbury added: “This innovative collaboration is one of the ways that soft plastic returned to stores by our customers will be recycled into new food-grade packaging.”
“After doing everything we can to remove and reduce plastic, we want to develop circular recycling solutions like this so the materials we use stay in our packaging and out of the environment”.