FINLAND, Turku. Material efficiency and recycling are essential parts of HKScan’s environmental responsibility. As the next important milestone in the packaging roadmap HKScan will replace all non-recyclable black plastic packaging with other colours and possibly also with other materials by the end of 2019 in Sweden and in Finland.
Black plastic is not recyclable because the optical sorting system used for recycling cannot detect the black carbon pigment used to colour the plastic. According to Eurobarometer in 2017 94% of the respondents found industry and retailers reducing plastic packaging to be the most important measure in reducing plastic waste and littering.
Consumers value the ecological aspect of the package, as well as usability and informativeness. Consumers are looking for packages that are made out of recyclable material, are not “overdone”, can be further utilized and contain instructions for disposal.
In Sweden, the Mamma Scans meatballs packaging has been developed. The new packaging reduces the use of plastics by 30 t a year. In Denmark, Rose has introduced new packaging made out of transparent, recycled plastic. In Baltics chicken and pork sashliks and marinated meat are sold to consumers now in easy-to-carry bags instead of plastic buckets, reducing the use of plastic by approximately 70%.
HKScan is actively working to enhance material effectiveness and recycling. We also support initiatives for sustainable packaging solutions that can reduce food waste with material choices and qualities.
Packaging is only a small part of the whole meat product carbon footprint. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the prevention of food waste. When only a couple of ham cold cuts from a package go to waste, it creates a bigger environmental effect than the production of the package itself. In 2017 HKScan reported for the first time the amounts of packaging materials used, and their sources.
In Sweden the company is committed to follow the vision declared by the Swedish Food Retailers’ Federation. The federation has stated that all plastic packaging shall be recyclable by 2022 and all plastic packaging should be produced from renewable or recycled raw materials by 2030. To achieve this vision the company has started a sustainable packaging project to define activities to increase usage of recyclable materials and materials from renewable sources.