Good packaging is important: it protects products, allows food to be stored longer and often provides useful information. As a retailer, we also opt for sustainable packaging, with the least possible environmental impact.
What is sustainable packaging?
The most sustainable packaging solution is not always what you think it is at first glance. This is because many elements play a role in the entire carbon footprint of a product and its packaging. You have to take into account food spoilage, energy use in the production of the packaging, water use, transport and the like.
For our private labels – such as Boni and Spar – we accept the challenge to choose the most sustainable packaging per product. Our sustainability experts conduct research for this, such as life cycle assessment screenings.
How does Colruyt Group make its packaging more sustainable?
1. Avoiding packaging: zero waste shopping
If possible, we simply leave out the packaging. A lot of fruit and vegetables are sold in bulk, i.e. unpackaged.
2. Less packaging
Sometimes, packaging is necessary to keep a product fresh for longer. The environmental impact of food waste is often greater than that of the packaging. In that case, we try to replace, use less or reduce (part of) the packaging so that we need to use fewer materials.
- We replaced the plastic lids of our nut and cheese packaging with resealable film. This reduced our plastic waste by more than 68 tonnes annually.
- The Boni and Everyday salad spreads also received new packaging: good for 45.5 tonnes less plastic waste per year. Their rounded bases means you can get to the content easier without food loss.
3. Reusable packaging
You can also avoid packaging by reusing it. Again and again and again…
- The reusable bags for fruit and vegetables allow us to save no less than 150 million plastic bags every year.
- You can take your shopping home in our reusable folding boxes and shopping bags, which are made from packaging waste themselves.
- In several Bio-Planet stores you can fill your own jars or have them filled.
- And in the reusable organic cotton Bio-Planet bread bag your bread stays nice and fresh.
4. Investing in recycling
Sustainable packaging is designed with a view to easy recycling after use. Our goal is to extract the purest and highest quality materials as possible after use of the packaging, which can then be reused as sustainable packaging materials. The more we recycle, the fewer new materials we need, so the better for the environment.
How do we make our packaging easy to recycle?
- We prefer packaging that is made entirely of one type of material.
- If this is not possible, we choose materials that are easy to separate.
- Light and transparent packaging is easier to recycle than dark packaging
- We ensure that labels and printed sleeves do not have a negative effect on the recycling process.
- More and more of our packaging has icons that indicate to which waste stream the packaging belongs.
5. More sustainable packaging materials
We choose packaging made from recycled or renewable materials.
- Trays for fruit and vegetables, made with recycled paper and cardboard
- Packaging from recycled plastic (rPET): from liquid detergents and all-purpose sprays to drinks bottles
- Biobased materials, made from renewable raw materials such as sugar cane or bamboo
- Certified packaging materials: PEFC or FSC, GOTS, the EU Ecolabel, etc.
What do the sustainability labels on packaging mean?
GOTS: this label guarantees that the used textiles are organic, from the harvesting of the raw materials to the ecologically and socially responsible production and processing.
EU Ecolabel: this label guarantees environmentally friendly production. It takes into account, among other things, recycled raw materials, energy consumption, emissions of pollutants and packaging waste.
How can you contribute to less (plastic) waste?
As a retailer, we try to choose the most environmentally-friendly packaging for each product. We also raise our customers' awareness to do their bit by sorting their waste correctly. Only in this way can the packaging be recycled and given a new life.