Big names benefit as WRAP funds future

Household names Heinz and Marks & Spencer are among the beneficiaries of the latest raft of grants awarded designed to reduce food packaging waste.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has approved seven new schemes for funding which have the potential to significantly slash the huge amount of waste produced from food packaging every year.

The new grants bring the total number of projects supported by the organisation’s Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund to 17 and if all prove successful the combined benefits could see waste from the retail sector reduced by 311,000 tonnes per year.

Heinz will receive £250,000 to introduce lightweight cans which, if successful, could reduce waste by 28,000 tonnes per year when replicated across the industry.

M&S, meanwhile, has been offered a more modest £38,400 to reduce the weight of ready-meal packaging and quiz consumers on whether they are satisfied with the changes.

If the lightweight ready-meals are adopted, this could reduce waste by almost 2,000 tonnes per year.

Other schemes covered by the grants include plans to create reusable packaging for B&Q’s kitchen worktops, lighter packaging for Waitrose soups and sauces, attempts to replace resource-greedy corrugated cardboard boxes with lighter but equally resilient alternatives, and packaging techniques to seal food containers that reduces the weight of the product while increasing shelf life.

Mike Robey, WRAP’s Innovation Fund Manager, said: “We are pleased to be funding these important and innovative trials.

“The growing portfolio of research projects demonstrates the opportunities for innovative solutions within a wide range of packaging materials and systems.

“The projects address many of the leading product categories that contribute to household food and packaging waste as well as the technical and commercial feasibility and consumer acceptability of the innovations.

“If they are successful, we are confident that the retail supply chain will want to replicate the findings of this research, which could lead to significant reductions in household waste and cost-savings for the sector.”

By Sam Bond

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