Friday, January 06, 2006

UK - seven new waste reduction projects launched

Seven new and innovative projects which aim to reduce household packaging and food waste are the latest to have received funding from WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme) and its £8 million Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund.

Launched in November 2004, the Innovation Fund aims to reduce the amount of household food and packaging waste originating from the retail sector that ends up in the household bin. The new contracts take the number of projects funded by the Innovation Fund to seventeen, with a combined investment of over £2 million and potential tonnage savings of around 311,000 tonnes if the projects are successful and their results are replicated across the retail sector.

1.- H J Heinz has secured £250,000 from WRAP's Innovation Fund to trial light weight food cans which, if successful, could reduce household waste by 28,000 tonnes per year. WRAP's support enables key research and development trials to take place that, if successful, will lead to a significant investment in can lightweighting by HJ Heinz.

2.- Marks & Spencer has received £38,400 of support from WRAP's Innovation Fund to develop a reduced weight ready meal pack and to carry out consumer and market research into its commercial and technical feasibility. The project commenced on 7th November 2005 and also involves Northern Foods, who have a long-standing relationship with Marks & Spencer to manufacture their ready meals. Should the trials prove successful and all Marks & Spencer suppliers move to the new design, the estimated reduction in material used in ready meal packaging will be in excess of 1,900 tonnes per year.

3.- Outpace Limited has secured £26,000 in WRAP funding to trial reusable 'Carrierpacs' for the home delivery of B&Q kitchen worktops. If successful, the reusable system could reduce household waste generated by kitchen worktop packaging by 7,000 tonnes per year.

4.- Geest Mariner Foods has been awarded £25,000 in funding to explore the options available in producing lighter weight packaging for Waitrose soups & sauces. If successful, the principle has the potential to be adopted by retailers, manufacturers, packers and fillers, and could generate a tonnage savings of 644 tonnes per year.

5.- Kite Packaging has successfully secured WRAP funding of £38,354 towards a project which aims to cut the amount of waste stemming from corrugated cardboard boxes. In a large majority of cases, these boxes act as transit packaging and enter the household through mail order, internet shopping and home delivery systems. The challenge is to replace heavy weight double wall cartons with cartons made from a more advanced paper and flute combination without compromising on structural integrity. Funding from WRAP will allow the necessary testing to provide the technical evidence to demonstrate the cartons' ability to match or outperform the existing format. It is anticipated that savings in the region of 5,800 tonnes per year could be achieved if the new cartons are taken on as an industry standard.

6.- WRAP's Innovation Fund has awarded £183,468 to trial and refine a unique concept in sealing technology, jointly developed by International Food Partners Ltd (IFP) and Ceetak Ltd, with a potential for reducing household waste by over 22,000 tonnes annually across the grocery retail sector. The aim of this project is to develop a sealing method which both saves on the amount of packaging material used when sealing flexible packaging materials and increases shelf life by creating a hermetic seal. This, in turn, should help to reduce household food waste and reduce the amount of flexible packaging disposed of in the home.

7.- Biopac has secured almost £32,000 in WRAP funding to undertake a feasibility study into the potential reduction in household food waste that might be achieved by the adoption of advanced packaging technologies to extend the life of fresh produce. Initial indications of the impact of the innovation, if successfully replicated throughout the industry, suggest the project could provide potential savings of 15,000 tonnes of household waste per year.

Mike Robey, WRAP's Innovation Fund Manager, said:

"WRAP is 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."

1 comment:

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