The launch marks a change in the packaging of cheese, which has moved from a mixed, triple-ply nylon laminate - one of the hardest to recycle materials - to a fully recyclable polyethylene (PE) monolaminate structure with built-in barrier properties.
Providing a direct replacement for current non-recyclable alternatives, the new MonoFlexBE format matches current shelf-life requirements, as well as maintaining packing line efficiencies. The film also delivers a plastic weight reduction of 680mg of plastic per bag to offer further carbon savings.
Currently available across selected packs of Tesco grated cheese in stores across the UK, a full category launch is set to follow later in the year across the retailer’s own-brand grated cheese lines.
Removing the current hard-to-recycle plastic and switching to the new monolaminate material is expected to move approximately 411 tonnes of plastic into a dedicated recycling stream annually. Given its lightweight properties, the packs will also deliver a plastic saving of around 32 tonnes, removing this from the supply-chain entirely.
Mirroring the functionality of the former non-recyclable packs, the new high-clarity format also features a resealable zip for improved convenience and are fully printed up to nine colors HD flexo with a matt lacquer for a tactile finish and improved rigidity.
Denise Mathieson, senior packaging manager at Tesco said, “We’re really excited to have worked with Coveris on this new material, it is yet another step closer to realizing our ambition of single polymer packaging which is much easier to recycle.”
Given the complex product and shelf-life requirements of cheese, along with its high-speed packing demands, Coveris said the project has been both a technical and sustainable breakthrough for Coveris, Tesco and Ornua.
Gordon Walsh, commercial director at Ornua Foods UK, said, “Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do at Ornua Foods; it is an area that has huge significance to our retail partners, and ultimately our consumers. We pride ourselves in working together to achieve our goals and are delighted that this partnership between Coveris and Ornua Foods UK will deliver such a great benefit for our planet.”
FMark Robinson, Coveris’ UK Flexibles technical sales manager, added, “To have delivered a first-to-market, fully recyclable monolaminate for cheese is a real win for us and a game changer for the whole industry. Once again, we’ve proven our capabilities in developing new sustainable performance films and if we can do this for as technically complex a product as this, then we look forward to the next challenge.”