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April 22, 2021updated 06 May 2021 5:00pm

Berry Gardens to use Prevented Ocean Plastic for own-label punnets

UK-based berry and stone fruit production marketing group Berry Gardens will launch new recycled packaging for its own-label punnets this summer using Prevented Ocean Plastic.

By Jessica Paige

UK-based berry and stone fruit production marketing group Berry Gardens will launch new recycled packaging for its own-label punnets this summer using Prevented Ocean Plastic.

The rPET packaging will be produced by Sharpak Aylesham and will contain up to 80% recycled content including 30% of Prevented Ocean Plastic.

Berry Gardens chief executive officer Nick Allen told Packaging Gateway: “Berry Gardens has chosen to work with Sharpak because of their 45+ years of expertise in the soft fruit industry and their ability to invest in forward thinking innovations, which support the packers needs for sustainability.

“Sharpak recognises the needs of our business and the requirement to support the organisation at short notice, which has been one of the key success for Sharkpak in this industry. As a result of this we have been able to build a long and successful relationship.”

Prevented Ocean Plastic is supplied by Bantam Materials and certified by OceanCycle. The material is made from plastic bottles collected from shorelines which are then converted into raw material.

Using this material, Berry Gardens expects to prevent more than 204 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean.

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Response from the companies

Allen said: “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.

“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.”

Sharpak UK division director Patrick Gautier said: “I’d like to thank Berry Gardens for recognising and embracing this real and positive action to reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution and to help educate consumers that plastic is a valuable resource, not to be littered into nature.”

What is Prevented Ocean Plastic?

Prevented Ocean Plastic is plastic that has been collected from coastal areas that would otherwise risk polluting the ocean. It is found within 50km of ocean coastlines or major waterway that lead to the ocean.

It is a product supplied by UK-based for-profit rPET distributor Bantam Materials who, in 2018, collected 1,366,521,914 bottles to convert to Prevented Ocean Plastic.

Bantam Materials European director Raffi Schieir said: “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.

“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.

“We want to change the way everyone thinks about plastic waste, so it is recognised as valuable, and everyone involved in the collection and recycling process is valued. This is an exciting next step on that journey.”

In February 2021, Sharpak-manufactured fish packaging for supermarket Lidl GB, which was made using Prevented Ocean Plastic, was awarded the Retail Industry Award for Sustainable Initiative of the Year 2020.

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