Scottish berry supplier, Angus Soft Fruits, will eliminate over 150 tonnes of single use plastic over the next 12 months as the company switches to 100% recycled material in its punnets of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
Angus Soft Fruits is working with its long-term supplier, Waddington Europe, which has successfully developed a punnet that is both fully recyclable and made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET).
PET is considered a highly recyclable plastic, however the food industry has found it hard to collect clean, high quality plastics that can re-enter the cycle as food-grade containers.
Angus Soft Fruits supplies most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and last year, produced enough deliciously sweet berries to fill over 42 million plastic punnets.
The company is also working closely with Waddington Europe to achieve a 5-10% gauge reduction across all Waddington Europe punnets.
Newly appointed Sustainability Coordinator at Angus Soft Fruits, Catherine Russell commented: “We have ambitious sustainability plans here at Angus Soft Fruits across packaging, carbon emissions, biodiversity and food waste, and we are pleased to announce that almost all the berries we supply will now be packaged in 100% rPET punnets.
“Previously our punnets were made from 80% recycled materials as it has always been a challenge for the food industry to find sufficient volumes of clean, high-quality plastics that can be recycled and enter the market as food grade containers. We’re pleased that our long-term suppliers, Waddington Europe, have achieved this and we look forward to working closely with them to continue to promote circularity in soft fruit packaging.
“We are also looking to increase the monitoring of biodiversity, food waste and carbon emissions on our farms as well as significantly reduce food waste. Ultimately, we want to be net zero throughout our supply chain, from grower to customer, by 2040 and we want to share the best practices that we develop with our overseas growers. Moving our punnets sold in the UK to 100% rPET is a step in the right direction to achieving these goals.”
For the past six years Angus Soft Fruits, home to premium berry brand AVA Berries, has worked with Waddington Europe and together they are reducing the environmental impact of berry production.
Located across the UK and Ireland, Waddington Europe is a leading European thermoforming packaging specialist. Last year they achieved Zero Waste to Landfill status across all their manufacturing sites and this summer they joined forces with long-standing packaging distribution partner, Produce Packaging, to introduce their new Eco Blend® 100 range of punnets made from 100% rPET.
Managing director of Waddington Europe, Eduardo Gomes, commented: “Angus Soft Fruits is one of our largest customers, and we are delighted to be assisting them on their sustainability journey. The majority of our food-grade, high quality rPET is sourced as locally as possible from the UK and Ireland; some is also ethically sourced from our European recycling partners. Our Eco Blend® 100 range is made from 100% rPET which is a mixture of both recycled post-consumer waste and post industrial waste and is also 100% recyclable after use.”