Amcor and Mars Food celebrate initial pilot of designed to be recycled microwavable rice pouches

Amcor and Mars Food today celebrate the supermarket roll-out of easier to recycle microwavable rice pouches in the UK. This new pouch, designed to be recycled, will be piloted with Uncle Ben’s® Ready to Heat Wholegrain rice, and will be available in Tesco stores from mid-April. The breakthrough innovation delivers on the commitment made by Amcor and Mars Food in December 2020 to deliver easier to recycle packaging for microwaveable food pouches in the first quarter of 2021.

This innovation uses Amcor’s proprietary AmLite HeatFlex technology to allow Mars Food to retain the shape, long shelf-life, functionality and high safety standards needed for its ready-to-heat rice packaging whilst adding the benefits of being easier to recycle. Amcor’s recyclable* AmLite HeatFlex® technology has a broad range of applications for food products that require the packaging to be heated either during manufacturing or at-home consumption.

The roll-out of Uncle Ben’s® (soon to be rebranded as Ben’s Original®), new pouch coincides with several major UK retailers announcing in-store trials to collect and recycle flexible packaging material such as this.

Today’s announcement reflects Amcor’s unique R&D capabilities and sustainability strategy, which are creating many new packaging innovations that spark demand for expanded collection and recycling infrastructure for consumers. Major supermarkets have announced that they expect to roll out in-store recycling to cover the whole of the UK over the coming years.

Michael Zacka, President, Flexibles Europe, Middle East & Africa at Amcor said: “The new Mars Food pouch breaks new ground and represents significant progress toward both companies’ commitment to more sustainable products. Amcor’s innovation approach is to work in partnership with brands like Mars to deliver packaging that meets the needs of their consumers, including on sustainability, and which can act as a catalyst for new waste management and recycling infrastructure. We are committed to remaining the packaging partner of choice for forward-thinking brands looking for innovative solutions that will reduce waste in the environment and drive up recycling.”

Matt Cutts, Innovation Director at Mars Food said: “This is a huge step forward for Mars and our journey to fully recyclable packaging. The work is not finished, and we hope this innovation will mean greater discussion surrounding the collection and recycling infrastructure that is needed alongside packaging development.”

Helen Bird at WRAP said: “The UK Plastics Pact strategy is for all types of plastic bags and wrappers to be collected for onward recycling. The ability to recycle the material is largely dependent on its design. In many cases this means that the packaging needs to be simplified, requiring research and innovation. WRAP is delighted to see this break-through in microwavable food pouch design which means that once it is collected, it can go on to be recycled into new items. And these collections are coming.”

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