Designing for Recyclability

At Kraft Heinz, we are always looking to improve the recyclability of our packaging. Our iconic condiment sachets are a critical part of our portfolio. Sachets are challenging to recycle in some infrastructures, due to their material make up. In 2022, we worked hard to improve the recyclability of our sachets in Europe and created a brand-new design utilizing CEFLEX Designing for Circular Economy Guidelines. The newly designed sachet packaging is also made with the equivalent of 35 percent recycled material, on a mass balance basis, and is certified by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification, a third-party. While not yet widely-recyclable based on the current infrastructure, this sachet designed for recycling will be launched on a limited basis in 2023, a first step towards improving the circularity of our sachets. We will continue to report on the progress of this roll-out and improvements on recycling infrastructure.

In collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium, we also joined forces with our peers to improve the recyclability of small format packaging. Small format packaging such as sachets and portion cups are essential to helping reduce waste. However, the recyclability of smaller packaging is challenging as it often falls through the cracks of many materials recovery and recycling facilities. In 2022, the group began waste characterization work as well as sponsored research with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on sorting technology for capturing small format plastic for recycling at materials recovery facilities.

In Europe, we are working closely with the HolyGrail 2.0 Project, which aims to simplify the waste sorting process by using digital watermarking technology. Digital watermarking technology prints and/or embosses patterns directly onto packaging which can then be spotted by an optical sorter at a recycling facility. In 2022, Kraft Heinz collaborated with the project to evaluate how well this technology detects and sorts our products. Moving forward, we will continue to collaborate with HolyGrail to further test and roll out this initiative.

We expanded our pilot with Loop, a waste-free shopping platform that allows consumers to responsibly buy products in refillable packaging which is then collected, cleaned, and refilled after use. Our first trials began in Canada and the U.K. in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, we expanded our pilot to the U.S. Last year in the U.S., we conducted multiple pilots in collaboration with retailers Kroger, Walmart and Giant and worked with approximately 36 of their stores across select cities in Oregon, Arkansas, Washington DC, and Virginia to test reuse of our iconic glass Heinz ketchup bottle with consumers and glean insights from implementing Loop’s fully circular process in our manufacturing operation.

In 2022, Kraft Heinz joined the Consumer Good Forum (CGF) Plastic Waste Coalition of Action. The aim of the Plastic Waste Coalition of Action is to accelerate the industry’s effort to tackle the plastic pollution challenge and help advance a world where no plastic becomes waste.

Heinz and Tesco Snap into Soft Plastics Recycling

In July 2022, Heinz and Tesco partnered to launch a pioneering trial that could potentially lead to important change across the wider food industry when it comes to tackling the U.K.’s soft plastic recycling challenge. As part of the collaboration, we took the soft plastic returned to Tesco stores by customers and worked with specialists to create recyclable Heinz Beanz Snap Pots made with 39 percent recycled soft plastics. The pilot project is projected to recycle approximately 22 tons of plastic. The recycled plastic used in the snappable pots is certified on a mass balance basis by the ISCC, a global sustainability certification system that supports the transition to a circular economy. The project was a winner of the 2022 U.K. packaging awards and Packaging Innovation Award, organized by Dow.

“This innovative collaboration is one of the ways that soft plastic returned to stores by our customers will be recycled into new food-grade packaging. After doing everything we can to remove and reduce plastic, we want to develop circular recycling solutions like this so the materials we use stay in our packaging and out of the environment.”

– Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s Group Quality Director

Global Plastics Industry Partnerships and Collaborations

At Kraft Heinz, we believe that collaboration is the backbone driving ESG progress. Many of our internal subject matter experts within the organization take on leadership roles in global, industry-wide coalitions to drive circularity across the packaging value chain.