Im Lebensmittelgeschäft

 

 

 

PROVIDING INDUSTRY TRANSPARENCY TO ACCELERATE INNOVATION AND THE TRANSITION TOWARDS A CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN RETAIL

Retail has a major impact on the environment as the production of consumer goods is highly resource intensive.  Agricultural activities, for example, use about 70% of global freshwater, 40% of earth’s inhabitable land and emit 24% of CO2 emissions. Packaging plays vital roles to minimze food waste (extend shelf life), allow for adequate quality and hygiene standards, and protect goods during transportation and handling, while also serving other purposes such as marketing and convenience. However, packaging has become a considerable and increasing threat for the environment  itself. The topic of sustainable packaging has gained tremendous momentum with consumer boycots, governments bans, and industry commitments. Likewise, Denner AG has announced to reduce packaging by at least 20% until 2025. More detailed information on environmental impact and momentum towards sustainable packaging can be found here

In January 2019, sus.lab developed a concept for an “Innovation Centre for Sustainable Retail”, co-financed by Climate-KIC, to accelerate innovation towards a sustainable society. Literature research and interviews with retailers, brand owners, industry data providers and authorities revealed that fundamental information on the amount of packaging was missing. Up to this point, quantifications for packaging were approximated top-down using the amounts of "raw material" procured by the retailer. This approach disallows the assessment of the type and amount of packaging used per product or product category and therefore prohibiting systematic and effective packaging optimization

To fill this information gap, we developed the unique “Packaging Baseline” with Denner. In June 2019, we started to unpack the entire national standard product portfolio, covering over 3600 products. Linking the packaging data with sales data allowed us to calculate the absolute yearly amounts of packaing produced. The results show how much packaging of which packaging material is used, as well as which packaging is used for which products. This rich database now provides transparancy across the industry and can provide the foundation to support policy makers and  industry players (such as collectors, sorters, recyclers, brand owners and packaging designers) to transition towards a circular economy in retail. 

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF THE "PACKAGING BASELINE"

 

HOW MUCH OF WHICH PACKAGING MATERIAL IS PRODUCED YEARLY? 

  • The third largest retailer in Switzerland, with a market share of approximately 10%, generates approximately 50,000 tonnes of primary and secondary pacakging per year for its standard and nationally available product portfolio.

  • The largest contributor to the amount of packaging generated in a year when measured by weight is glass, accounting for almost 50% of the total packaging.

HOW MUCH OF WHICH PACKAGING MATERIAL IS PRIMARY AND SECONDARY PACKAGING?

  • More than 80% of the yearly packaging is primary packaging which consumers carry out of the store when buying products.

  • 16% of the yearly packaging is secondary packaging which the retailer collects in distribution centers and in stores.

  • The major contributor (by weight) of secondary packaging is paper in the form of corrugated cardboard boxes.

HOW MUCH OF WHICH PACKAGING MATERIAL IS USED FOR WHICH PRODUCT CATEGORY?

  • More than 60% of yearly packaging is generated through the sale of beverages.

  • The majority of glass, plastic and metal originates from packaging of beverages, in the form of glass bottles, PET bottles and cans. 

  • Almost a third of yearly packaging is generated through the sale of food items. 

  • The main contributing product category for composites and paper is food.

HOW MUCH OF PLASTIC AND COMPOSITE PACKAGING IS LABELLED?

  • 57% of the yearly generated plastic and composite packaging material are labelled plastics with codes 1 to 7.

  • 43% are unlabelled plastics and composites. These can be common plastics (like codes 1 to 7) which are simply not labelled with a code, or multiple layers of different plastics, plastic-paper, or plastic/paper-metal combinations as well as the labelled composite Tetra Pak.

 

 

 

 

 

More detailed results will be communicated after the publication such as

  • HOW MUCH OF PRIMARY PLASTIC AND COMPOSITE PACKAGING IS RECYCLABLE?

  • how much of the unlabelled plastic & composites is what?

  • how much of the labelled plastic is PET?

WATCH OUT TO NOT COMMUNICATE TOO MANY RESULTS - THIS IS JUST A TEASER UNTIL THE PAPER COMES OUT....

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS OPTIMIZATION AND INNOVATION IDENTIFICATION

Following the creation of the baseline, we started the "Innovation Project" in September 2020. The “Packaging Baseline” forms the basis of the follow-up project, co-financed by Innosuissedata-driven innovation project to develop a systematic process for packaging innovations. Through detailed analysis of the database, we will target and prioritize product categories with the highest optimization potential. More information on the follow-up project can be found here

 

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