We're committed to improving packaging sustainability and are working hard to reduce the environmental impact of packaging across the business.
Our commitment to doing better
We know packaging pollution is an issue many New Zealanders care deeply about. It's an issue we care deeply about too.
As one of the first retailers in New Zealand to sign up to the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration, we are working towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable retail and private label (Pams, Value and Gilmours) packaging by 2025. This commitment applies to all packaging types. For example, plastic, fibre, glass, and metal.
Packaging serves an important role in the food and grocery sector to protect goods, extend shelf-life and communicate information to customers. But, it is important that packaging is designed with 'end-of-use' and the New Zealand recycling system in mind.
Some of our top priorities are:
- Removing and reducing unnecessary packaging.
- Product stewardship and circular design (making sure resources are used again and again and considering how they're disposed of).
We are proud to work collaboratively to help bring stores, suppliers and customers with us on this journey, and we have been busy taking stock of the packaging used and sold across our business, so we can roll out improvements to "remove", "reduce" and "reuse".
Our packaging principles
To keep our work focused, we have also developed 10 Sustainable Packaging Principles and are actively encouraging our suppliers to move in this direction with us.
Examples of our packaging principles:
- To include messaging in packaging design to let consumers know the best way to dispose of it after use.
- Where appropriate, design packaging so it can be reused.
- Where plastic is necessary, prioritise clear plastics type 1 and 2, as these are recyclable through all kerbside collections in New Zealand.
Are you a supplier? Find out more about these principles and NZ specific resources.
What we've been working on
We're proud to have led the way with the elimination of polystyrene foam meat trays and the adoption of widely recyclable rPET meat trays (clear trays made from at least 50% recycled content). We began the move to rPET meat trays in 2012, which impacts about 120 million trays used in our fresh departments per year.
Did you know? This was a collaboration between Foodstuffs and Alto, a packaging supplier, where we worked through at least four design cycles to get the formula right.
If you've got an rPET tray at home, remember to remove the overwrap, rinse the tray and pop it in your kerbside recycling bin.
Watch the video below to learn more about New Zealand's waste challenge and how our rPET trays are making a difference.
The Refillery was the first partnership of its kind in New Zealand between ecostore and a supermarket chain! In the same way shoppers buy nuts and seeds from the supermarket bulk bins, customers can now refill their ecostore bottle by tap or pump at participating New World stores.
The process is simple: select the product, whether it’s shampoo, conditioner, hand and body wash, laundry or the dish-washing liquid, fill your bottle to the top, write the product code and name on a label, put the label on the bottle and go to the checkout to pay.
Following a successful launch at New World stores in the South Island, shoppers can now find ecostore refill stations in some of our North Island stores, including New World New Lynn, New World Browns Bay and New World Whitby.
Bring your own container
After successful trials, customers can now BYO containers at New World and PAKn'SAVE North Island stores! By enabling customers to bring their own clean, leak-proof containers for use at our butchery, seafood, bakery and delicatessen counters, we're working together to to reduce waste and look after New Zealand.
Designing for the whole product lifecycle
Foodstuffs have partnered with the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to establish the Plastic Packaging Circular Innovation Programme. The programme focuses on finding ways to design waste out of a product's lifecycle and the broader system in New Zealand.
As part of this initiative, we ran three interactive masterclasses in 2019, working with suppliers, policymakers and innovators to help find circular solutions for product creation and disposal. The theme for the 2020 Masterclass was data for decision-making, reuse models, soft plastics and compostables.
The results of the 2019 and 2020 masterclasses have now been published and are available for free.
The theme for the 2020 Masterclass was data for decision-making, reuse models, soft plastics and compostables.
Did you know? The Plastic Packaging Circular Innovation Programme has also been listed as a case study in the Rethinking Plastics report by the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.