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waste

BRC seeks to reduce unnecessary retail waste

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Company Shop Group have joined forces to help reduce unnecessary waste in the retail industry.

The Company Shop Group, a redistributor of surplus food and products, has also been confirmed as the BRC’s official Sustainability Partner for the year ahead.

It will be working closely with the BRC, engaging with BRC members through various digital resources and events ‘to help educate, inspire and change mindsets across the industry’ when it comes to sustainably handling surplus stock and reducing unnecessary waste.

The partnership comes at a critical time, as the country enters a third national lockdown which will create ongoing high levels volatility within the supply chain as a result of retail and hospitality closures, likely leading to an additional increase in surplus stock.

To support the industry’s recovery from the pandemic, the BRC and Company Shop Group are encouraging retailers and businesses to ensure they are unlocking all value from stock and operating as sustainably as possible. The Group’s distribution network enables it to provide ready-made solutions to help retailers to minimise unnecessary waste, extract maximum value from surplus and ensure all products reach the end consumer, as intended.

The Group works with all the major retailers, manufacturers and brands to stop good food and products from needlessly going to waste. By purchasing surplus stock from the FMCG supply chain and redistributing it across its network of 17 membership-only stores at heavily discounted prices, Company Shop says it alsoprovides a financial return to its industry partners, whilst generating positive social and environmental benefits.

The latest partnership between the BRC and Company Shop Group reflects both parties’ long-standing relationship and is another step on the road towards building a more sustainable retail industry, with the reduction of unnecessary food and product waste and greater industry collaboration key.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The BRC and Company Shop are at the forefront of driving a greener, more sustainable retail economy. This new partnership creates a powerful collaboration supporting the industry to embed more sustainable practices across its supply chains. As we begin to look at how we might recover from the coronavirus crisis there has never been a better opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable industry.

“We look forward to continuing the work already underway and hope that this partnership will give BRC members the insight and opportunities to make the progress needed to reduce food and product waste.”

Jane Marren, Managing Director of Company Shop Group, said: “We have long worked closely with the British Retail Consortium and its members to help tackle unnecessary waste and to champion sustainable business practices which protect the environment, support businesses stability and maximise positive social impact.”

“It is essential that businesses use surplus management and redistribution as an asset for themselves, for the planet and for communities everywhere. Fluctuations in the supply chain are likely to be greater than ever this year, especially with another national lockdown, but we can help – if stock can be eaten, used or worn, then we can take it.

“This partnership with the BRC is fitting for our collective and ongoing sustainability work, and we very much look forward to continuing to work closely together as we support the industry and our retail partners to achieve their ambitious goals.”

Hazel 4D are stretching to meet the plastic waste challenge

By Hazel 4D

Pallet-wrapping in the UK uses over 140,000 tonnes of plastic each year and a huge percentage of that is waste. The cost is massive, in money and environmental impact.

So, what can we do to minimise plastic usage and waste without compromising stability? Our retail and logistic customers look to us to blend materials, machines and monitoring into a perfect solution. Hazel 4D’s commitment to cutting waste and enhancing stability at the same time is already reaping results for many of them, like Micronized Food Products Ltd.

“With our old machine, tests showed we were using 810g of stretch film per pallet. The Hazel 4D team were able to get this down to 167g per pallet by optimising the new machine’s settings. That’s a plastic reduction of 79%, a major environmental win as well as a substantial annual cost saving” says general manager Andrew Shentall.

Consultations always comes first, carrying out extensive testing using our FEF200 mobile testing unit, to really understand a customer’s current set-up and make recommendations that we know will make a difference.

“Typically, our consultants see customers wrap pallets using 17-23 micron cast stretch film, stretching between 0-200% depending on the quality of the film”, explains Kevin Oliver, H4D technical sales manager.

“So when we can go in, optimise or replace machines, introduce a great nano-film like Extremus which can achieve over 300% stretch that means we’re taking 1m of film and stretching it to 4m. We train everyone to make the best of it, we’re making immediate impact on waste and cost.”

Savings are not just on direct materials costs, either, but Packaging Recovery Notes which really add to the bill for many of the customers who we see for a consultation. This table shows how we made a difference to a pet food manufacturer, reducing their PRN costs by 81%.

*Per pallet wrapped, ** these numbers are based on a company wrapping 250,000 pallets annually, with 62,500 pallets per each example in the table

In spite of significant opportunities to save, many businesses continue to miss out. The weakness could come at any point of the chain, explains Kevin. “They might be using a great film with a machine not configured to make the best of it. Or they might be using a great machine with poor film, or their staff aren’t trained to optimise the set-up and to maintain it. Or they’re working with very heavy, or awkwardly shaped items and think extra wrap is the only way to achieve stability. So our consultation finds those weaknesses and we respond with a complete Intelligent Load Stability system designed to lower cost, lower waste and optimise stability, no matter what you’re packaging.”

Our waste saving solutions consistently deliver a more stable pallet, too. Our recent Intelligent Load Stability review for a bathroom manufacturer reduced their plastic usage by around 80% and their costs by £60,000. Our consultation found that they spent significant time and money applying heavy shrink hoods to bulky pallets for stability, using costly propane shrink guns.

Installing energy efficient pallet-wrappers, switching to Extremus film and removing the need for shrink hoods and guns streamlines the whole operation, takes a fraction of time per pallet and makes a huge cut to their plastic wastage – our customer saved 16.64 tonnes of plastic per year!

“Hazel 4D have proven to be a partner we can rely on and we have now placed an order for a permanent custom pallet wrapping machine. It’s nice knowing that we have a responsive partner that we won’t have to chase should we need maintenance in the future.

I would not hesitate in recommending Hazel 4D, their pallet wrapping machinery or Extremus Nano film technology to any potential client wishing to upgrade their pallet wrapping systems and make improvements to their operation.”

Micronized Food Products Ltd.

COULD WE HELP YOU CUT COSTS AND PLASTIC WASTE, TOO?
When we work with you to understand your needs, recommend a tailored solution and optimise machines and material, you get total load stability and a real weight off your mind. Plus, we’ll make sure it stays that way with regular visits to ensure your system is always on top form.

Click here to book a free consultation and find out more.

Call a packaging expert on 0113 242 6999 or email us at wecar@hazel4d.com

UK launches landmark blueprint for resources and waste

Businesses and manufacturers will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste, under a major new government strategy.

The move will overhaul England’s waste system, putting a legal onus on those responsible for producing damaging waste to take greater responsibility and foot the bill.

The announcement forms part of the government’s ambitious new Resources and Waste Strategy, the first comprehensive update in more than a decade.

Producers will also be expected to take more responsibility for items that can be harder or costly to recycle including cars, electrical goods, and batteries.

Householders will also see the existing complicated recycling system simplified, with new plans for a consistent approach to recycling across England. Timings for introduction will be subject to discussions at the Spending Review.

The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out how government will:

  • ensure producers pay the full net costs of disposal or recycling of packaging they place on the market by extending producer responsibility – up from just 10% now
  • review producer responsibility schemes for items that can be harder or costly to recycle including cars, electrical goods, batteries and explore extending it to textiles, fishing gear, vehicle tyres, certain materials from construction and demolition, and bulky waste such as mattresses, furniture and carpets
  • introduce a consistent set of recyclable materials collected from all households and businesses, and consistent labelling on packaging so consumers know what they can recycle, to drive-up recycling rates
  • ensure weekly collections of food waste, which is often smelly and unpleasant, for every household – restoring weekly collections in some local authorities. This will be subject to consultation which will also consider free garden waste collections for households with gardens, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill
  • introduce a deposit return scheme, subject to consultation, to increase the recycling of single-use drinks containers including bottles, cans, and disposable cups filled at the point of sale
  • explore mandatory guarantees and extended warranties on products, to encourage manufacturers to design products that last longer and drive up the levels of repair and re-use
  • introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses. Should progress be insufficient, we will consult on introducing mandatory targets for food waste prevention
  • clamp-down on illegal movements of waste at home and abroad by introducing compulsory electronic tracking of waste, and tougher penalties for rogue waste crime operators if they mislabel their waste to dodge tax rules

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.

“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste.

“Through this plan we will cement our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, leaving our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

The strategy sits alongside government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, the recently published Bioeconomy Strategy, and the Clean Growth Strategy.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, said: “The government has listened to industry and these steps have the clear potential to dramatically change the way the sector operates to increase recycling and recovery rates.

“With consistent collections and advanced facilities like this at Southwark more recyclable materials can be collected for reprocessing into new products. As a business we are ready to invest, to take advantage of new technology, build more infrastructure and work with brand owners and local authorities to harness resources on an industrial scale.

“It’s the direction we have been hoping and waiting for, and with the public and businesses playing their part the UK can build a sustainable future.”

Paul Vanston, CEO of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), said: “Substantial credit is due to Secretary of State Michael Gove, Environment Minister Therese Coffey and officials for the high quality and depth of their engagement work in the lead up to this Resources & Waste Strategy.

“The focus on whole-system changes is welcome including packaging reforms, consistency of councils’ household collections, and ways to increase investment in recycling infrastructure.”

On the same day, the government announced £8 million of funding for eight new research projects that will explore new and different ways of making, using and recycling plastics.

GUEST BLOG: Enforcing packaging standards delivers ethical and financial value

Switched on brands are becoming ever more aware of the importance of packaging when it comes to consumer experience. Far too few, however, have yet to address the extraordinary packaging inefficiencies that exist throughout the supply chain.

Where is the consistency in packaging types -both material and size – that can not only enforce sustainability and ethical standards but also enable cost saving optimisation of pallets, containers and warehouse space?

David Griffiths, Product Marketing Manager, Adjuno, outlines the value of enforcing robust packaging standards across the global supply chain…

Packing, Shipping and Storing Air

Minimalist packaging may be the new black when it comes to consumer facing goods, but across the supply chain the situation is far from slick. When some retailers are handling thousands of different packaging types from suppliers globally, the implications on cost, sustainability and efficiency are very significant.

Given the risk of product damage associated with packaging that is too small, many suppliers will err on the large side – but the costs of this approach, both direct and indirect, are considerable. In addition to wasting money on unnecessary material, what about the wasted space? With multiple sizes used, pallets are not optimised, nor are containers; while oversized packaging also impacts the number of items that can be stored in the warehouse or distribution centre (DC), or in-store. Packing, shipping and storing air is an expensive business. Add in the cost of ethically disposing of damaged or unusable packaging, and reconsidering this area should be about far more than the consumer facing experience.

Plugging the Leak

With the rising pressure on costs and growing stakeholder expectations regarding ethical business practice, retailers need to take control and plug the financial leaks across the supply chain associated with packaging inefficiency. And that means defining and, critically, enforcing very clear packaging standards on suppliers.

Just consider the supply chain implications of reducing packaging types from thousands, even hundreds, to just a dozen – from the material consistency that transforms recycling and waste disposal activity to the optimisation of shipping and storage. And the financial returns that can be achieved by creating packaging standards across the world are significant – from a typical 5% to 10% reduction in the amount of packaging material being used to an improvement in container utilisation of 5% – 15%. The return on investment is compelling – and quick.

Enforcing Control

The starting point must be a robust review of requirements: what are the packaging requirements of the product? What are the space restrictions in the DC? What can containers handle? And what are the feasible packaging types that can be enforced? The challenge, however, is not simply to create these standards but to ensure they are enforced globally. Going through the exercise of rationalising packaging is great but fail to robustly enforce the standards and suppliers will rapidly revert back to using all various shapes and sizes.

Compliance is key – and that means ensuring a retailer has excellent visibility of the supplier’s packaging plans. The easiest approach is to automatically accept orders packed using the authorised sizes and materials. If a supplier cannot access approved packaging for some justifiable reason, retailers can also offer a short list of acceptable sizes – while also ensuring the substitution is automatically communicated. The big win is to have immediate visibility when a supplier proposes the use of unauthorised packaging – enabling a retailer to accept or reject an order based on the potential financial (and ethical) implications of failing to follow the defined standards.

It’s not just retailers that need visibility. In order to inspire suppliers to stick to the rules, they need to be easy to find as well as adhere to. Suppliers need to have excellent visibility of the retailers requirements in order to quickly locate the right type of packaging and keep the process running as efficiently as possible.

Conclusion

This is a massive mindset shift – and one that will be increasingly considered not just at the time of each shipment but during supplier assessment. In a world where packaging is fast becoming a key component of sustainable and ethical business, a supplier’s commitment to the use of standardised packaging must become a fundamental component of the decision making process.

Minimalist packaging is indeed the new black – from supplier all the way through to consumer.