Seafood giant Young’s removes 300 tonnes of plastic from product packaging

UK market leader Young’s Seafood has removed 300 tonnes of plastic packaging from its product lines to meet environmental challenges it has set itself.

With 170 tonnes of paper, these remarkable achievements allow it to meet all of its reduction targets more than two months ahead of schedule.

The Grimsby-headquartered giant endorsed the big cuts in 2018. It also pledged to remove all black plastic – the hard-to-identify substance that puts a wrench in digitization recycling efforts.

Already an award-winning national campaign, it focused on the mass-sales engines of the Simply Breaded and Chip Shop ranges, reducing carton sizes without compromising the product.

The black trays of the Gastro range have been exchanged for cardboard trays.

It also replaced virgin plastics with recyclable materials, saving an additional 127 tonnes, including in bags of langoustines.

Helen Nickells, Head of Packaging Development at Ross House Headquarters, said: “We are extremely aware of our responsibility to bring tasty seafood to the table nationwide in a sustainable manner and reducing our use of packaging by is an essential element.

“The reduction in packaging we have achieved to date, particularly our efforts on the Simply Breaded and Chip Shop ranges, has also enabled us to generate additional environmental benefits, including the removal of 256 trucks from the roads and the significant reduction in our carbon footprint.

Helen Nickells, center, receives the Packaging Development Team of the Year award with her colleagues, as organizers and sponsors watch the UK Packaging Awards.

“This is by no means the end of the road, the results so far are brilliant, but we must not lose sight of the way ahead. Our next course of action will be to tackle functional films that are currently non-recyclable and a more complex material to replace.

“We are also on track to ensure that all of our branded paper packaging comes from FSC or PEFC certified sources, which we plan to complete by March 2021.”

A broader strategy will see all packaging be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The efforts were linked to the UK’s Plastic Pact and involved a review of the entire product line, including own brands for Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Ms Nickells said the success highlighted by a team of seven was due to its focused strategy with five distinct components: redesign, delete, reduce, reuse and recycle.

The efforts celebrated on the packaging to reassure customers earned it the title of Packaging Development Team of the Year at the UK Packaging Awards at the end of 2019. Next, 144 tonnes of plastic were removed.

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