The Oreo cookie maker announced its plan to eventually cut 65,000 tons of packaging material and reduce manufacturing waste by 20% by 2020 in October 2015.
“We have taken a comprehensive approach to product packaging, one that reduces waste and conserves natural resources while satisfying our consumers and ensuring food safety,” Mondelēz told ConfectioneryNews.
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The company said it has invested in packaging technologies that require less material, and it analyzes packaging design changes using Eco Calculator, which gives its design teams information to guide their packaging choices.
In North America alone, 23% thinner packaging for Oreo biscuits eliminated around 1,496 metric tons of cartons annually between 2010 and 2016, Mondelēz said. Meanwhile in AMEA region, the company has removed many shippers and placed secondary packs directly on the pallet in chocolate packaging, leading to material savings of 1,297 metric tons of corrugated paper.
“We redesigned injection molded tubs for Cadbury’s Heroes to use 17% less material in Europe,” Mondelēz added. “The improved design also reduces the number of trucks used for transportation of the empty tubs by over 30%.”
Mondelēz said it supports recycling in addition to reducing the amount of waste that consumers and local authorities have to handle.
“For instance, in Europe, our largest region, over 75% of our packaging is paper-based, glass or metal, all of which are either currently recycled or recyclable,” the company said.
“Around 70% of our paper-based packaging is from recycled sources. The remaining 25% are predominately thin, flexible films, which are optimized to limit food waste and spoilage,” Mondelēz added. “These films are already, in principle, designed to facilitate recyclability, where facilities exist. Over 80% of these films already meet these criteria and we are moving the remainder of our flexible packaging to single materials where possible.”
However, one challenge for Mondelēz is that it cannot use post-consumer recycled materials for the majority of its packaging that comes into direct contact with food for safety and quality reasons.
“This is governed by the US Food and Drug Administration and European Commission legislation to protect the health of consumers,” the company explained.
Mondelēz said it will continue to optimize packaging design and source materials to reach the end goal.