Berry Gardens’ punnets to be produced using Prevented Ocean Plastic
Berry Gardens, one of the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production marketing groups, will this summer launch new recycled packaging using Prevented Ocean Plastic which has been collected from beaches and coastlines that would otherwise have ended up in the ocean.
The new rPET packaging, produced exclusively by Sharpak Aylesham will feature in the majority of own label punnets supplied to major UK supermarkets by Berry Gardens. Punnets will contain up to 80% recycled content with each punnet containing a minimum of 30% Prevented Ocean Plastic.
Nearly 90% of plastic consumer packaging that ends up in the ocean enters from shorelines in developing regions. Berry Gardens use of this packaging initiative is expected to prevent more than 204 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean–- the equivalent of 8.2 million water bottles.
As a grower-owned co-operative, all packaging suppliers used by growers are approved centrally, which means all Berry Gardens grower-members will commit to using the new packaging moving forward. This unique set up means that, at launch, Berry Gardens will be the only soft fruit producer supplying UK supermarkets with own label berry punnets using Prevented Ocean Plastic.
Prevented Ocean Plastic, which is supplied by Bantam Materials to Sharpak Aylesham and certified by OceanCycle, refers to plastic bottles that are collected from the shoreline before being responsibly converted into high quality raw material. Found within a 50 km distance of an ocean coastline or major waterway, any plastic waste left uncollected would end up as ocean pollution.
Nick Allen, chief executive officer at Berry Gardens, said: ‘We are committed to establishing responsible business initiatives throughout our supply chain and as an industry which has historically relied on virgin plastic, we are proud to announce that the majority of punnets used by our growers for major UK supermarkets will now include plastic which would have otherwise ended up in the ocean.
‘As a grower-owned co-operative, we are in a unique position to be able to work and support our grower members in developing more sustainable and environmentally better practices. We are striving to work with our growers to continue to produce and bring to market the very best quality and tasting fresh berries with as little impact on the environment as possible.’
The packaging has been developed by Sharpak Aylesham, part of Groupe Guillin, a major packaging manufacturer that produces Berry Garden’s own label punnets.
Raffi Schieir, European director of Bantam Materials, said: ‘We need to increase take up of recycled plastic, collecting what is already in the natural environment so it can replace new plastic, save our oceans from devasting pollution and cut carbon emissions. Berry Gardens’ leadership in using recycled ocean bound plastic will help to protect both people and planet, and is an important step in turning an aspiration for a closed loop plastic economy into reality.
‘As well as diverting plastic away from our oceans, Prevented Ocean Plastic helps coastal communities in developing countries by supporting bottle collectors, collection centres and local recyclers based there. We want to change the way everyone thinks about plastic waste, so it is recognised as valuable and everyone involved in the collection and recycling process is valued. This is an exciting next step on that journey.’
Patrick Gautier, UK division director for Sharpak, said: ‘I would like to thank Berry Gardens for recognising and embracing this real and positive action to reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution and to help educate consumers that plastic is a valuable resource, not to be littered into nature.’