In what it says is a "significant step" towards reducing its packaging imprint, banana importers Fyffes Ireland has introduced new, sustainable and fully recyclable paper banding for use in wrapping its Organic Fairtrade bananas at the point-of-sale.
The move, which represents the outcome of an 18-month long period of research and development, sees the company introduce a wrap-around paper band made from 100 per cent Kraft pulp as a more sustainable alternative to the plastic bags used widely within the sector.
Fully compostable and sourced from certified Forestry Stewardship Council approved sources, the new banding has been successfully trialled in real-life market conditions through leading retail outlets in Ireland.
Based on estimates, this initiative will result in a reduction of 5,680kg (or over 5.5 tonnes) of plastic.
According to Fyffes, the group placed emphasis on a number of key necessities when working with its supply partners in choosing the material required.
Most important was that it would be recyclable, compostable and sustainable, and that the finished item would be of high quality to provide a good surface for branding and consumer information.
Another essential requirement was that the packaging would maintain the fruit in quality condition whilst being able to withstand climatic and other varying features present within the supply chain.
These include tropical temperatures normal in countries where bananas are grown, transportation by ship in temperature-controlled conditions, and the ripening process itself.
Fyffes said that food grade inks were used for the print, while adhesives are plant based, not plastic. Being water resistant, the bands remain effective all along the supply chain.
“We are very excited to introduce our new recyclable and compostable banana banding," said Emma Hunt-Duffy, sales and marketing manager. "This is a significant step in realising one of our sustainability strategic pillars – stewardship for the planet – and has created an opportunity for us to promote the sustainability message amongst our consumers."