It is almost impossible to imagine the world without plastic, as our food system has come to depend on plastic for safety and convenience. In our business, packaging protects the safety of our food, helps reduce food waste and communicates information to customers. Packaging made from plastic can provide additional benefits, such as a lighter overall weight that reduces material use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Year after year, millions of tonnes of plastic, worth billions of dollars, ends up in landfills, is burned, or leaks into the environment. A staggering eight million tonnes leaks into the ocean every year – and that number is rising. If we don't rethink its use, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight) by .
In light of these concerns, we are conscious that we need to move to a more circular system to eliminate plastic waste. The focus of Ahold Delhaize and local brands to date is on where we can make a direct impact: optimizing own-brand product packaging, reducing single-use plastics used for carrier bags, and recycling plastic waste generated in our own facilities.
New Plastics Economy Global Commitment
And this is why, in 2018, we signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment Programme, to address plastic waste and pollution at its source, by 2025. The commitment calls on companies and governments to eliminate the plastic we don’t need, innovate so that all plastic we do use is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulate all the plastic we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.
Concretely, this means that by 2025 all our plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable; that we will use 25% of post-consumer recycled content in own brand plastic packaging; and that we will have eliminated unnecessary single-use plastics in favor of reusable alternatives. Furthermore we will ensure all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals and the health, safety and rights of all people involved are respected.
Several of our brands have hired packaging specialists to support our activities towards achieving our goals related to packaging. These packaging experts engage with internal stakeholders as well as with suppliers and research institutes, in order to identify the most sustainable packaging solution per product category.
Our brands’ efforts
Recyclable packaging and increase the use of post-consumer recycled content
To prevent plastic from ending up as waste, we want to make sure that all our own-brand packaging is 100% recyclable. We also encourage the use of recycled materials by putting a target on post-consumer recycled content for our own-brand packaging.
Reduction of plastic packaging
We reduce plastic where we can by removing unnecessary packaging, switching to lighter and less material, or using alternative materials.
One way to reduce new plastic packaging is by making our packaging reusable. Our brands are taking steps moving to reusable bags and piloting with other reusable options.