Starting this summer, Berry Gardens officials say they will aim to help save the environment by utilizing Prevented Ocean Plastic in most of their own-label punnets.
The berry and stone fruit production marketing group says the plastics will come from items scooped up along beaches and coasts. More than 30% of those punnets, which will contain 80% recycled materials, will have those ocean plastics in them.
Berry Gardens estimates the initiative will spare the oceans of more than 200 tonnes of plastic, it says, or “the equivalent of 8.2 million water bottles.”
“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,” Nick Allen, Chief Executive Officer at Berry Gardens said.
“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.”
Berry Gardens, which claims it will be the only soft fruit producer using Prevented Ocean Plastic, says all of its grower-members within their cooperative must use the new packaging when it is launched.
The rPET packaging was created by Sharpak Aylesham, which is a part of Groupe Guillin, a packaging manufacturer that produces Berry Gardens’ punnets. Prevented Ocean Plastic is suppled to Groupe Guillin by Bantam Materials, which says more companies need to get on board with the mission for a more sustainable environment.
“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,” said Raffi Schieir, European Director of Bantam Materials. “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.”