Sonoco Sets New Commitments for Sustainable Packaging and Recycling

Sonoco (NYSE:SON), one of the largest diversified global packaging companies, announced the expansion of its environmental and social stewardship initiatives to include commitments to achieve greater packaging sustainability and recycling in support the food industry’s efforts to reduce global food waste. These new time-based commitments, along with an update of the Company’s ongoing efforts to improve environmental, governance and social measure, are highlighted in its 2017-18 Corporate Responsibility Report, entitled Better Packaging, Better Life – for a Better World, which is available on the Company’s website at

Specifically, Sonoco set out key commitments for more sustainable use and increased recyclability of packaging by 2025, including:
•Sonoco will increase the equivalent by weight, the amount it recycles, or causes to be recycled, from 75 percent to 85 percent, relative to the volume of packaging it places into to the global market place.
•Sonoco is committed to increasing the use of post-consumer recycled resins in its plastic packaging from 19 percent to 25 percent.
•Sonoco will ensure that approximately 75 percent of its rigid plastic packaging can carry the relevant on-package recyclable claim.

In addition, Sonoco will not use resin additives that purport to degrade in landfills or waterways by simply breaking up into smaller pieces. Finally, the Company will ensure all of its production facilities using plastic pellets have systems to prevent discharges into the environment.

According to Rob Tiede, president and chief executive officer, “Sonoco believes packaging plays an important role in protecting food from damage and spoilage, while extending shelf life at retail and home. In fact, greater adoption of food packaging technologies to prolong the shelf life of produce and proteins has the potential to divert 72,000 tons of food waste from landfills in the United States, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 329,000 tons per year1.”

Tiede pointed out that solving the food waste challenge requires the collective intellectual capital and collaboration of industry experts and though leaders in food science, agriculture, horticulture, packaging, transportation and material science. In response to this challenge, Sonoco has committed $2.725 million to Clemson University to create a joint initiative called SonocoFRESH. Sonoco is also a joint development partner in the Plant City, Fla-based robotics company Harvest CROO Robotics, which is focused on improving the supply chain for fresh produce by connecting harvesting technology with new packaging technology.

1Data based on an analysis from the organization Rethink Food Waste through Economics and Data (ReFED). More insights on Sonoco’s more sustainable packaging initiatives can be reviewed in a whitepaper: “How Packaging Can Help solve Our Food Waste Problem,” which is available at
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