We’re focused on incorporating more recycled and recyclable materials.
Packaging waste can have a significant detrimental impact on the environment and is an industry-wide challenge that we must all do our part to address. That’s why Kraft Heinz is committed to taking steps to reduce our operational packaging impacts, as well as to support the move toward a more circular economy and the use of more sustainable materials.
We commit to create a fully circular Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottle in Europe by 2022.
We aim to make 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025.
Our Approach to Sustainable Packaging
Our comprehensive approach to packaging meets extensive packaging regulations, aims to cut waste, conserve natural resources, ensure food safety and quality, and satisfy our consumers. We’re focused on designing better packaging that incorporates more recycled and recyclable materials by collaborating with external packaging experts, organizations and coalitions to explore technical, end-of-life and infrastructure solutions.
In 2018, Kraft Heinz announced a commitment to aim to make 100 percent of our packaging globally recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. We’ve partnered with environmental consultancy group, Lorax EPI, to better understand how much of our packaging is recyclable, reusable and compostable, which we have estimated at over 70 percent as of 2019. The majority of our packaging is paper-based, glass or metal materials that are recyclable. The other portion of our packaging is mostly made up of flexible plastic films or rigid plastic containers. In the meantime, we are aggressively pursuing technical alternatives while also collaborating externally to advance this commitment.
During the period from 2017 – 2019, we eliminated approximately 13 million pounds of packaging across almost a dozen initiatives with key brands such as Lunchables, Kool-Aid and Miracle Whip. We reduced shipping packaging and tray heights and dividers for example, accounting for an annual packaging reduction of about 6.5 million pounds. To put that number into perspective, that’s about the equivalent of eliminating everyone’s packaging waste in Washington, D.C. for two days out of the year, every year, going forward indefinitely at current population and average waste rates.
Designing Better Packaging
We consider the appearance, functionality, cost and environmental impact of packaging designs, focusing on product integrity through production, distribution, shelf life and end-of-life. The optimization of our high-volume packaging helped us exceed our commitment to reduce the weight of our global packaging by 50,000 metric tons. Innovation also allows us to reduce our environmental impact through better packaging design. In Europe, we’ve been working to make the recyclable Heinz Tomato Ketchup plastic bottle fully circular by 2022, that can be made back into food-grade packaging. And we’re proud to report we’re ahead of schedule. Kraft Heinz Europe is on track to deliver its first circular Tomato Ketchup PET bottle to the market in 2021 instead of 2022. Initial estimates for 2021 on this initiative which will span Europe, is that it will impact approximately 300 million bottles at an average weight of 28 grams per bottle. That equates to 8,400 tonnes of plastic that can be properly collected and sorted and then mechanically recycled into food grade rPET, which can be used to produced new food grade packaging.
Additional projects in Europe focused on rigid plastics. Over recent years we evaluated this category of our packaging for lightweighting. Our assessments enabled us to reduce plastic material in future packaging projects. As a result, in 2019 we launched:
- A new lightweight sauce cap closure that saves 25 tonnes of plastic per year
- A regrind material from recycled industrial plastic that is incorporated into the production of new sauce bottles (up to 5 percent), saving approximately 100 tonnes of plastic per year packaging.
During the period from 2017 – 2019, we eliminated approximately 13 million pounds of packaging across almost a dozen initiatives with key brands such as Lunchables, Kool-Aid and Miracle Whip. We reduced shipping packaging and tray heights and dividers for example, accounting for an annual packaging reduction of about 6.5 million pounds. To put that number into perspective, that’s about the equivalent of eliminating everyone’s packaging waste in Washington, D.C. for two days out of the year, every year, going forward at current population and average waste rates.
Designing for Recyclability
“Kraft Heinz has been an invaluable partner in the Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF) project. Their technical expertise, leadership, and commitment to finding end-of-life solutions for flexible plastic packaging has helped guide the project to a successful completion. As manager of MRFF, I am proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Kraft Heinz.”
– Sarah Lindsay | American Chemistry Council
Kraft Heinz is a member of Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF). MRFF is a project of the Foundation for Chemistry Research and Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established by the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Members of the collaborative share a common vision and work together towards that end: Flexible packaging is recycled curbside and the recovery community captures value from it.
Kraft Heinz is a member of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), the international trade association representing the plastics recycling industry, leveraging the APR Design® Guide for Plastics Recyclability to help design recyclable plastic packaging. Additionally, Kraft Heinz is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a membershipbased collaborative that believes in the power of industry to make packaging more sustainable. The SPC works to make packaging that is good for people and the environment, in support of its mission to “bring packaging sustainability stakeholders together to catalyze actionable improvements to packaging systems and lend an authoritative voice on issues related to packaging sustainability.”
In the UK, Kraft Heinz is a member of the UK Plastics Pact, aiming to create a circular economy for plastics.
Promoting Recycling Resources
Kraft Heinz has been a member of the How2Recycle label program since 2016, using its standardized on-pack recycling guide to inform consumers on packaging recycling. During the reporting period, we expanded our How2Recycle labels to many of our iconic global brands, as well as smaller product launches, such that they now appear on the Back to Nature Macaroni and Cheese products, Capri-Sun beverages and Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese products for example.
- Back to NatureBack to Nature Mac & Cheese Box
- Philadelphia Cream Cheese8oz, 12oz, 16oz Tub
- Jell-OGelatin & Pudding
- Kraft Macaroni & CheeseKMC Cheese Sauce 3pk
- Capri Sun/Country Time/Kool-Aid JammersReady-to-Drink Variety/Bundle Pack-Printed
- Stove TopStuffing
- Country Time64 oz RTD Lemonade
- Kool Aid16 oz Single Serve
- GevaliaEspresso Capsules
- Oscar MayerOM Natural Meat & Cheese Plates
- Philadelphia Cream CheesePhilly Soft Tubs 2x16oz
In the UK, Kraft Heinz participates in the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) program, which delivers simple recycling messaging on retailer and brand packaging to help consumers recycle more accurately and more often. The OPRL label appears on several Kraft Heinz products in the region, including Heinz Beanz, Heinz Spaghetti and Heinz Soup products.
Every Can Counts
Almost one billion Heinz cans are produced in the UK every year. In 2018, Heinz UK released a video on social media channels and selected television programs, to demonstrate to consumers that steel cans are 100 percent recyclable, and like all metals, can be recycled infinitely without degrading in quality. The video exhibits key aspects of how steel is recycled into new products, ending with the message: “Every can counts. Please play your part and recycle.”