Business in Brief – 28/07/22

Tesco scraps multipack drinks in bid to reduce plastic waste

multipack tescoTesco has announced a new strategy to discontinue its own-brand multipack drinks, instead offering single servings as part of a ‘multi-buy’ deal, sold at the same price per unit. The retailer claims the move will save 45 million pieces of plastic a year.

As part of the ‘multi-buy’ deal, customers will be able to purchase different drinks – including lemonade, cola and tonic water – with an expected 12 million pieces of plastic a year saved from use across all own-brand canned fizzy drinks.

Tesco will be extending the strategy to its kids’ lunchbox drinks, energy drinks, water, and fruit juice in the autumn, with the retailer stating that it expects to save 33 million pieces of plastic.
Discussing the company's new packaging strategy, Tesco Head of Packaging Development Johnny Neville commented: “Customers are focused on getting great value right now, but they still want to use less plastic. 

“Not only is this move great news for the environment but it will also offer customers more choice and flexibility when it comes to fizzy drinks – at no extra cost. It could even work out much cheaper for customers who want a variety of drinks.

“Basically it’s more choice, same value but less plastic!”  

Dow and Mura Technology to scale advanced recycling of plastics

Dow, a materials science company, and Mura Technology have announced plans to build multiple 120 kiloton (KT) recycling facilities across Europe and the US. Collectively, the facilities could add ‘as much as 600 KT’ of aggregate advanced recycling capacity by 2030, the partnership claims.

Dow states that it will become the ‘key off-taker’ of the circular feed that Mura produces. The partnership is expected to divert circular feed from landfill or incineration, instead seeing Dow recycling plastic feedstock for the development of ‘new, virgin-grade plastics’. The companies claim that this will reduce reliance on fossil-based feedstocks, with the material supplying brands across the globe with sustainable products.

Mura’s hydrothermal recycling process breaks down plastics using water in the form of ‘supercritical steam’ – water at elevated pressure and temperature. The process cuts longer-chain hydrocarbon bonds in plastics to produce chemicals and oils from which the plastic was originally made.

This expansion of Mura’s pipeline builds on its first plant in Teesside, which is expected to be fully operational in 2023. Its 20 KT per year production line will aim to supply Dow with 100 per cent recycled feedstock.

Marc van den Biggelaar, Advanced Recycling Director for Dow, said: “The strengthening of Dow and Mura’s partnership is another example of how Dow is working to build momentum around breakthrough advanced recycling technologies.

“By investing in new applications, Dow is working to meet the increased demand for recycled material from its customers and make a meaningful impact on the supply chain, helping to close the loop on plastic waste.

“Dow is committed to accelerating a circular economy for plastics and our expanded partnership with Mura marks a significant step on this journey. As a long-term partner, we are excited about the potential of this process to recycle plastics and help solve the plastic waste challenge.”

Recyclable Rice Box could remove 50 tonnes of plastic

Packaging business DS Smith has partnered with Veetee Rice to create a fully recyclable, fibre-based rice box, replacing the need to use plastic bags or standard skillets.

Its packaging – with a box lid that can be removed, used as a portion measure, and then resealed – could assist in removing over 50 tonnes of plastic from the UK market.

According to the companies, the fully fibre-based box will replace plastic bag options currently on the market, designed to be both environmentally friendly and simple for customers to use.

The pack has been developed to be filled on Veetee’s fully automated packing lines.  Following design, development, and manufacturing in the UK, the rice box was first launched in the US in May 2021 before being sold in major UK supermarkets.
Dave Ellerington, Head of Design and Innovation and Business Development at DS Smith Packaging, UK and Ireland, said: “It’s been excellent to work with Veetee who share our goal of reducing the use of harmful plastics and giving consumers truly sustainable options.

“We were able to use our unique circular design principles and metrics in the development of this design to ensure the final product is convenient for customers as well as being sustainable.

“Our work with Veetee has once again been able to show how packaging is vital for brands who are looking to become more circular and reduce their environmental impact”.

James Brett, Marketing Director for Veetee Group said: “Working with DS Smith to create our industry-leading rice box has allowed us to achieve our goal of selling our product that is a premium, sustainable solution and disruptive on the shelf.

“We’re also proud to be providing an enhanced customer experience through the box’s unique portion measure, meaning the packaging helps our brand stand out from the crowd”.