According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 311 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, the equivalent of more than 900 Empire State Buildings. Annually, 8 million tonnes of this plastic enter our oceans. Packaging is a considerable contributor to this issue, however it also plays an important role in food quality, safety and reducing food waste.
Nigel Hughes, Senior Vice President of Global Research & Development at Kellogg Company, is responsible for leading a team that drives cutting edge innovation. That includes looking at how packaging can protect Kellogg's foods, deliver the quality that people expect, while also supporting a more sustainable future. Here, he provides an update on how Kellogg is progressing towards its global packaging goal.
At Kellogg, we're wasting no time in working toward our goal of using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025. Our goal aligns to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's (EMF) New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which we were among just a handful of food companies to sign on to in 2018. Doing so is part of our global Kellogg's Better Days® commitment to create better days for 3 billion people around the world by addressing the interrelated issues of food security, climate resiliency and well-being.
Speeding up our efforts
Already, more than 97 percent of our timber-based packaging that goes into cereal and other boxes comes from either recycled or certified-sustainable content. And we're speeding up our efforts. For example, although plastic packaging is just one part of our overall packaging mix, we've already ensured that 32 percent of what we use globally is recyclable. And we have many projects in the works to ensure that we achieve our 2025 sustainable packaging goal.
Around the world, our approach to reducing waste with more sustainable packaging includes three tenets:
In 2018, we transitioned to compostable paper foodservice products in all our plants and offices … no more plastic and no more single-use foam. In our U.S. operations in Illinois and Michigan alone, we diverted 2 million pieces of silverware, 105,000 straws and 110,000 bottles from landfill every year. We're also removing the plastic spoons from our joyböl™ granola smoothies. Once this is complete, no Kellogg food packaging will use plastic forks, knives, straws, stirrers, polystyrene or oxo-degradable plastic.
Over the years, we've significantly reduced the amount of material in our cereal boxes and other packages. We've reduced flap sizes, eliminated excess air and introduced other innovations to make our packaging better for the environment.
Currently, we have some instances where we bulk ship cereal in reusable bins from the production facility to the final destination where it is packed into pouches or bag-in-box packages. This happens with our granolas and cereals in multiple regions. In Africa, India, China and Australia, we've significantly reduced packaging using this approach.
In Europe, we redesigned our cereal pouches to use recycle-ready material, eliminating approximately 480 tonnes of non-recyclable packaging each year.
In the United States, Bear Naked® recently launched new, store drop-off, recycle-ready packaging for their granolas and granola bites. The new packaging includes a "Store Drop-Off" logo and website link to help people find a nearby recycle drop-off location. All Bear Naked granolas and Bites varieties will adopt this packaging going forward. We've had similar success in the U.S. reducing packaging in our MorningStar Farms® veggie foods by moving to resealable bags. As an added benefit, the bags help fight freezer burn, which reduces food waste.
Most importantly, we're looking at breakthrough packaging innovation by considering sustainability right from the start. We're excited about the opportunities to deliver for people, our customers and the planet.
Encouraging more recycling through partnerships and new technologies
As we continue to exclude, reduce and redesign, we're also encouraging more recycling and partnering on new technologies. For example:
More than 110 years ago, the very first box of Kellogg's cereal was created with recycled content. So using sustainable packaging is part of our DNA. Today, the people of Kellogg are proud to be taking this commitment to the next level. While we don't have all the solutions, we're hard at work researching, collaborating with partners, and piloting new approaches to keeping our foods safe and fresh while also protecting the planet. You can learn more about our efforts in our newly published 2019 Global Sustainable Packaging Milestones.
About Kellogg Company
At Kellogg Company (NYSE: K), we strive to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. Our beloved brands include Pringles®, Cheez-It®, Special K®, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes®, Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg's Corn Flakes®, Rice Krispies®, Eggo®, Mini-Wheats®, Kashi®, RXBAR®, MorningStar Farms® and more. Net sales in 2018 were approximately $13.5 billion, comprised principally of snacks and convenience foods like cereal and frozen foods. Kellogg brands are beloved in markets around the world. We are also a company with Heart & Soul, committed to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 through our Kellogg's® Better Days global purpose platform.
Visit www.KelloggCompany.com or www.OpenforBreakfast.com
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