Michigan State University celebrated the opening of the newly renovated MSU School of Packaging building on April 20, following a fundraising campaign that raised more than $10 million. “This significant expansion of our facilities, enabled by the generosity of donors and stakeholders, will reinforce MSU’s longstanding leadership in packaging education,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “These improvements anchor our commitment to the excellence of our School of Packaging and will help us prepare the next generation of leaders in packaging science.” Established in 1952, the MSU School of Packaging was the first school of packaging in the United States and now is the largest packaging program in the country, with over 600 undergraduate and graduate students.
Nestlé recently announced that its well-known brand, Smarties, will be using recyclable paper packaging for all of its products worldwide!
This represents a transition of 90% of the Smarties range, as 10% was already packed in recyclable paper packaging. The rollout of the new material, which will be complete in the UK and Ireland by April, makes Smarties the first global confectionery brand to move to paper packaging, removing approximately 250 million plastic packs sold worldwide every year. The innovative new designs includes sharing bags, multipacks and giant hexatubes made from coated paper, paper labels or carton board, all produced from sustainably sourced and recyclable material.
Alexander von Maillot, Global Head of Confectionery at Nestlé, said: “Moving Smarties packaging to recyclable paper is one of our key sustainable packaging initiatives in the confectionery category. It is a further step in realising Nestlé’s ambition to make all of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one-third in the same period.”
Louise Barrett, Head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York, said: “Developing safe and convenient paper-based solutions for Smarties has required the pioneering of new materials and testing by Nestlé packaging experts at our R&D centre for confectionery in York and at the Swiss-based Institute of Packaging Sciences. We adapted our existing manufacturing lines to allow for the careful handling that is required for paper, while also ensuring recyclability across all new formats.”
The smart packaging choice that’s good for the environment
Paper-based packaging has an excellent environmental record. On average, UK manufactured corrugated boxes contain 76% recycled fibre. Once used, paper-based packaging is easy to recycle. In the UK and Europe, the collection of packaging is hugely successful with over 80% collected for recycling. This superb recycling rate prevents an area of board the size of Greater London from going to landfill every four months.
However, even if paper packaging is irresponsibly discarded, due to its natural compostable characteristics it will have a relatively low impact.
Paper packaging is the natural choice
Well-designed, efficiently produced, appropriately used, and responsibly disposed of packaging provides multiple benefits. It’s essential for minimising damage to products and extending their useful life, for example, the shelf-life of food so that all the resources used to make those products are not wasted. It allows for efficient distribution and safe and convenient access to goods. It communicates vital information to the customer and it can provide pleasure to those receiving gifts or enjoying luxury items.
“Paper-based packaging can be part of a solution against global food wastage – which amounts to as much as 1.3 billion tonnes – one third of food produced worldwide for human consumption – by minimising wastage and food damage along the chain.”
Paper packaging (which includes paper, card, corrugated cardboard, cartons and sacks) is often the sustainable packaging choice. Its key raw material, wood fibre, is a renewable resource and it’s also the most recycled of all packaging materials. The European paper industry can demonstrate a long-held commitment to resource efficiency and to minimising its contribution to climate change.
Making the right packaging choice for our planet
Nestlé is taking an important step to minimising the effect of their products on the environment. By converting to paper, they are ensuring less non-recyclable packaging is entering the waste stream. Only 42% of plastic packaging is recycled in Europe, much of which is single-use and has a damaging impact on wildlife and the natural world.
It’s important to ensure that, whatever the choice, its full impact is considered.