Last Refreshed: 12/6/2021 9:37:44 PM
Last Refreshed: 12/6/2021 9:37:44 PM

It is almost impossible to imagine the world without plastic, as our food system has come to depend on plastic for safety and convenience. In our business, packaging protects the safety of our food, helps reduce food waste and communicates information to customers. Packaging made from plastic can provide additional benefits, such as a lighter overall weight that reduces material use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Year after year, millions of tonnes of plastic, worth billions of dollars, ends up in landfills, is burned, or leaks into the environment. A staggering eight million tonnes leaks into the ocean every year – and that number is rising. If we don't rethink its use, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight) by .

In light of these concerns, we are conscious that we need to move to a more circular system to eliminate plastic waste. The focus of Ahold Delhaize and local brands to date is on where we can make a direct impact: optimizing own-brand product packaging, reducing single-use plastics used for carrier bags, and recycling plastic waste generated in our own facilities.

New Plastics Economy Global Commitment

And this is why, in 2018, we signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment Programme, to address plastic waste and pollution at its source, by 2025. The commitment calls on companies and governments to eliminate the plastic we don’t need, innovate so that all plastic we do use is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and circulate all the plastic we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.

Concretely, this means that by 2025 all our plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable; that we will use 25% of post-consumer recycled content in own brand plastic packaging; and that we will have eliminated unnecessary single-use plastics in favor of reusable alternatives. Furthermore we will ensure all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals and the health, safety and rights of all people involved are respected.

Several of our brands have hired packaging specialists to support our activities towards achieving our goals related to packaging. These packaging experts engage with internal stakeholders as well as with suppliers and research institutes, in order to identify the most sustainable packaging solution per product category.

Our brands’ efforts

Recyclable packaging and increase the use of post-consumer recycled content

To prevent plastic from ending up as waste, we want to make sure that all our own-brand packaging is 100% recyclable. We also encourage the use of recycled materials by putting a target on post-consumer recycled content for our own-brand packaging.

  • Albert Heijn and Delhaize Belgium joined forces to change their mushroom packaging from the traditional blue trays to 100% recyclable transparent PET plastic, which can be easily recycled into new packaging material.
  • ​The packaging of Nature’s Promise cleaners in United States, is made from 100% post-consumer recycled content​.
  • Albert invested in a new recycling center right next to the brand’s distribution center in Klecany, near Prague. As part of its sustainability program, Albert has been recycling packaging materials for many years now, giving them new life as secondary raw materials. The brand fills over 200 trucks with pressed paper and polyethylene foils per year. ​​

Reduction of plastic packaging

We reduce plastic where we can by removing unnecessary packaging, switching to lighter and less material, or using alternative materials.

  • The GIANT Company achieved an annual 30% reduction in plastic through a new Peel and Seal technology for its Nature’s Promise clamshell salads. This translates to 80 tonnes of plastic saved per year and makes the salads easier to open and reseal while maintaining product freshness for longer. ​
  • Delhaize Belgium is reducing plastic by removing the plastic wrap where it’s not needed – such as around tomato cans – as well as unnecessary plastic lids from all own-brand yogurt, desserts, sour cream and plain cheese. ​

Reusable packaging

One way to reduce new plastic packaging is by making our packaging reusable. Our brands are taking steps moving to reusable bags and piloting with other reusable options.

  • During the National Waste Care Day 2021 in Indonesia, Super Indo launched its newest environmentally friendly product, named "Fresh Bags 365 as an alternative to disposable produce bags when customers shop for fresh products such as vegetables, fruit and eggs at Super Indo stores.
  • As of 2021, reusable bags suitable for packing fruit and vegetables are available to customers in the farmers’ market sections of selected Maxi, Tempo, Shop & Go and Mega Maxi stores. ​
  • Albert Heijn has become the first supermarket in the Netherlands to stop using plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. This move will save 130 million bags, the equivalent of 243,000 kilos of plastic per year. 
  • The Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program reached a major milestone in January 2021 when it surpassed two million bags sold since its inception in 2014.