In June 2018, Brakes made a number of packaging commitments including the removal of hard-to-recycle problematic plastics from its supply chain by the end of 2020.
Hugo Mahoney, Brakes CEO, highlights some of the achievements to date: “When we launched the 2ZERO20 commitment, we were the first foodservice wholesaler to make a pledge to remove black plastic. Since our announcement, we’ve made some fantastic progress and radically changed our supply chain approach removing more than 1,000 tonnes of hard black plastic.
“As you’d expect from the UK’s leading foodservice company we have a number of initiatives to reduce waste and our environmental impact across our supply chain, and our supplier partners are collaborating to help us achieve our goals.”
BRAKES’ 2ZERO20 PLEDGE
- Eliminate all non-recyclable hard black plastic from all our own brand products in our supply chain by 2020, starting with immediate effect with all new own brand products we introduce into the business
- Work collaboratively with industry experts and partners to find new innovative plastic solutions to replace any non-recyclable hard black plastic material we currently provide, such as ready meal trays, which cannot be identified in many recycling plants
Working with our suppliers and industry experts, we have now removed 96% of hard-to-recycle plastics by volume equating to 1,041 tonnes. The remaining SKUs are generally smaller items such as screw tops and we are on target to meet our 2ZERO20 commitment
- Introduce a clear labelling system on all future packaging to help customers improve recycling rates
Since we raised this issue, it has been taken up by the Government and we have paused activity while we await the outcomes of this. If nothing comes from Government, we will introduce our own scheme, but we would prefer to have one, clear industry scheme.
- Continually reduce other unnecessary packaging for all our customers, working with experts to identify other problematic, non-recyclable, non-reusable, non-compostable packaging and issue clear milestones to eliminate by 2025
- Work with suppliers to find alternatives to any problematic materials and unnecessary single-use items, with a focus on hard black plastics and in particular items within our catering disposables range, such as hard black plastic food containers and straws.
We have set up a Packaging Forum to share best practice and discuss potential alternatives. This is attended by a number of branded and own label suppliers as well as industry organisations. The brief for the Forum is to look beyond plastics to other problematic materials and potential solutions. We have also removed a number of lines and introduced alternatives for example wood alternatives for plastic cutlery.
We have also:
- Signed up to The UK Plastics Pact. We are the first delivered wholesaler to join, and we will contribute to four industry-united targets by 2025
Hugo Mahoney concludes: “We are very pleased with our progress to date, but we recognise that we must go further and continue to lead the industry. We are therefore committed to working to ensure that we create a better tomorrow.”