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Greener in Europe: Mars' tin

Mars in the U.K. changed a container from tin to plastic to reduce its carbon footprint.

Pw 5849 2 Nl Pi Mars
As with many articles, an editor may start out with little to go on, and then end up with more than he or she can use. Thus good, if not excellent, material can end up unused in a folder—either physical or electronic.

Such was the case with a special report, Green packaging in Europe: The view from the U.K. , published in Packaging World's December issue. During my research, I connected with the U.K.'s Waste & Resources Action Programme. WRAP provided me with a recent publication filled with case-history examples of gains in reducing environmental waste by its members, primarily packagers and retailers. This first example is from Mars.

Courtauld Commitment Signatory Example: Mars

 In 2007, Mars took part in a WRAP project to trial methods of making glass food containers lighter, helping to reduce household waste. Mars achieved a reduction of 6% in the weight of its Uncle Ben’s sauce jars by working closely with its glass manufacturers. New jar molds were created, which altered the design and reduced the height of the container, producing a lighter jar. The result was a savings of 450 tons of glass each year.

Mars has also introduced a number of design changes to its Celebrations packaging, including introduction of the plastic Celebrations tub (shown), that have almost halved the packaging weight and resulted in a number of reusable options, bringing added benefits to the consumer.

By replacing the Celebrations tin with a new plastic tub, Mars reduced the weight of the packaging by 46%, representing a materials savings of 794 tons per year.

The new format has been designed to encourage reuse in the home. It can be used to store food, providing the added benefit of helping to reduce food waste. It is also safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer. This message is clearly communicated on the pack to encourage consumers to consider reusing it.

Changes have also been made to improve transport packaging by replacing corrugated carton-board cases with a plastic shrink wrap. This has led to an 87% weight reduction through the elimination of the carton board and 148 tons less packaging produced each year.

Comment from Mars:

“Through the Courtauld Commitment, WRAP has enabled a collaborative environment for packaging change throughout the U.K. Mars has openly supported this initiative, which fits with one of our guiding principles, which is to use raw materials as efficiently as possible.

“We see WRAP as a valuable partner, not only in helping Mars to deliver against its Courtauld Commitments, but also as a source of information and discussion, to guide the future direction of sustainable packaging development at Mars.

“We look forward to continuing our cooperation and dialogue with the WRAP team.”
- Amanda Davies, European Packaging Development Director, Mars
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