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Home » Make a difference » How shops and brands are reshaping Ireland’s attitude to recycling

David Adams

Head of Ireland, The Kraft Heinz Company

Ireland’s recycling rates are in decline instead of on the up – so what are leading food retailers and brands doing about it?

According to a 2020 report by the Environmental Protection Agency,1 Ireland’s recycling rates are declining. The country only recycled a third of plastic packaging in 2018, a decrease for the third year in a row. It’s clear that more must be done to encourage Irish shoppers to recycle their packaging in light of the ever-growing climate crisis.

Important role for Irish supermarkets

The good news is that many supermarkets in Ireland are playing an important role when it comes to tackling sustainability and wastage issues in Ireland’s food industry and have been making huge changes in recent years. One leading retailer for example recently announced it was eliminating all single use plastic items and replacing them with non-plastic alternatives as part of its drive to reduce plastic waste by 20% by the end of 2022.2

But of course, it’s not just down to the retailers, food producers need to play their part too. Big food producers like Heinz for example, whose global pledge to aim to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, is inspiring me and my team at Heinz Ireland to make some important sustainability changes to our popular products.

Skinny and sustainable

Until recently, for example, Heinz’s canned multipacks came in plastic shrink-wrap, so we decided to look for something that would help make our multipacks more sustainable while also making sure they remained handy and good value for shoppers.

We have developed the new Eco-Friendly Sleeve, a skinny, sustainable and convenient paperboard sleeve which will be available on Heinz canned multipacks in supermarkets nationwide from this month, replacing the traditional plastic shrink wrap packaging.

Good for the planet

Our new Eco-Friendly Sleeve is a first for the food and drink world, as it uses no glue, the paperboard is fully recyclable and comes from sustainably managed forests. Best of all, rolling it out will result in the removal of 30 tonnes of plastic from Ireland’s supermarket shelves every year.”

So while of course there’s more to be done, it’s good to see that Irish supermarkets and food makers leading the way when it comes to encouraging Irish shoppers to be more sustainable and recycle more.

The new Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve is available from September 2021


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