Scottish berry supplier Angus Soft Fruits has announced it will eliminate over 150 tonnes of single-use plastic from its punnets over the next 12 months.
The major soft fruit producer is switching to 100 per cent recycled material in its punnets of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Angus Soft Fruits is working with its long-term packaging supplier, Waddington Europe, which has successfully developed a punnet that is both fully recyclable and made from 100 per cent 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.
The launch follows similar efforts from BerryWorld and then Berry Gardens, which both now use Prevented Ocean Plastic – plastic bottles collected from beaches and coastlines in 'at-risk' coastal areas – in their punnets.
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 per cent gauge reduction across all Waddington Europe punnets.
Newly-appointed sustainability coordinator at Angus Soft Fruits, Catherine Russell, commented: “Previously our punnets were made from 80 per cent 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.”
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 the company 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 per cent rPET.