Iceland Foods is committed to removing plastic entirely from its own brands packaging, and a new range of ready meals is launching this month with recyclable trays. Ian Schofield, own-label and packaging manager, offers some tips on how to change packaging.
Currently, only 30% of plastic is recycled, and the rest goes to landfill or is dumped abroad. Iceland Foods is trying to get the government and councils to recycle more, but this will be slow, so let’s get rid of plastic – we are doing untold damage, he says.
- You must have boardroom commitment. Without it, change will never happen. And you must change the culture at head office: no single-use coffee or water cups, recycle all waste, and so on.
Set up supplier days so everybody gets the same message and rules. Challenge everything that has gone before.
- Do the easy things first. Remove plain films on frozen products and put straight into board packs – this takes out tonnage straight away. Putting eggs back into pulp trays is another good one.
Build in packaging development with the product development – they should go in parallel. Often we have good product ideas, but at the last minute think about packaging. Then we don’t have enough packaging development time to introduce new items. It is all about critical paths.
- We built our own packaging and product due diligence software. This has been critical in looking at the size of the task and the number of lines (1,000) we need to change.
Put in a programme of six monthly goals that are achievable, and stick to them.
Sell internally to all departments. You need an ambassador to achieve this.
- Shout about your success. Our reach on our campaign on social media has reached 21m.