Virgin plastic packaging across the food sector increased by 4% between 2020 and 2021, despite many companies having a 16% reduction target by 2025.
According to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report, within the retail sector, food also has the lowest average share of reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging at 27%.
However, beverages is leading the way at 75%, just 25% off the industry target of 100%.
The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment’s 500 signatories which include Danone, Ferrero, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez and Nestlé, currently represent 20% of the plastic packaging produced globally.
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Of the signatories within the food sector, 50% have increased their share of recyclable plastic packaging by making progress on eliminating PS, PP pots, trays, and flexible film packaging.
However, the other half of food signatories made no progress as a result of large volumes of non-recyclable packaging, such as consumer-facing flexible packaging.
In looking to promote reuse and ‘refill-on-the-go’ models such as refill stations for dry food in supermarkets and ‘return-from-home’ models such as Loop which was trialed in Tesco earlier this year, 36% have had these in place.
Mars and Mondelez have also called on the need for cross-industry collaboration with retailers and technical vendor providers to accelerate reuse.
Last month, Mars unveiled new packaging across its range of Kind snack bars which incorporates recycled content made from advanced recycling and as a result, the packaging will also contain less virgin plastic than its previous model.