Seeking to minimise environmental resources and maximise material lifecycle, Berry Gardens the UK’s largest co-operative of berry growers, have worked in partnership with Coveris and supplier UPM Raflatac to deliver an environmentally superior material and recycling strategy for their promotional labels.
Featuring on own-label punnets supplied to UK supermarkets by Berry Gardens and on Berry Collective branded punnets, the new promotional labels utilise UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+ - the world’s first label material verified by the Carbon Trust - to help mitigate climate change through reduced carbon emissions and forests’ increased capacity to remove carbon.
Smarter use of natural resources results in lower energy and water consumption, as well as decreased waste throughout the value chain. Sustainably sourced and more resource efficient paper label material performs equivalently within cold and moist conditions and has been adopted seamlessly across Berry Garden’s entire UK supply base.
As a grower-owned co-operative, all packaging suppliers used by growers are approved centrally, which means all Berry Gardens grower-members will use the new labels on all packed punnets moving forward.
Driven by seasonal supply and demand, the fresh berry sector remains one of the most promoted retail produce categories accounting for around 20% of total sales each year. Speed-to-market volume and price changes therefore rely on secondary labelling mechanics to support promotions, resulting in Berry Gardens labelling around 100 million packs each year across all UK retailers.
Having initially set out to minimise resources at the material ‘start of life’, a more circular approach was then sought at end-of-life to further offset CO2 impact and ensure a fully sustainable labels process.
Responsible for removing over 10,000 tonnes of manufacturing and customer by-product waste each year, Coveris’ award-winning recycling centre is now set to work with Berry Gardens to take back their glassine fibre liner waste for recycling via its sustainable partnership with RafCycle® by UPM Raflatac.
Delivering major environmental savings, the new material switch in combination with the closed loop liner recycling will deliver a 32% energy saving, reduce water consumption by 16,000 litres and support a CO2e reduction of 9%.
Commenting on the project, Siobhan Parks, Berry Gardens' Head of Packaging said: “We are committed to establishing more sustainable solutions across our business, which is why it is important we are part of a closed loop solution that supports the circular economy. Using RAFNXT+ labels help us source sustainably by reducing carbon and water levels in production. The backing paper from our labels are also collected and then this recycled fibre is reused in UPM Raflatac's Honey Glassine PCR-FSC liners. This is just one example of how we are leading the way in packaging for the UK soft fruit sector by creating stable end markets for recycled content in packaging.”
With Berry Gardens and Coveris having recently teamed up to launch a recycled food safe lidding film containing over 30% post-consumer recyclate, their sustainable partnership looks set to continue. Coveris’ Operational Excellence Director, David Smith added “This is another example of how we are leading the way for sustainable innovation across multiple product formats and testament to the value of supply-chain collaboration to deliver this. Through our strategic partnership with both Berry Gardens and UPM Raflatac this would not have been possible, and therefore want to highlight the major sustainable benefits achieved through our stakeholder synergies”.
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