Greener in Europe: Cadbury's 'eco-eggs'

Cadbury in the U.K. realized a reduction of more than 75% plastic and 65% paperboard.

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In the development of articles, an editor can 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 as part of the Courtauld Commitment. This second example is from Cadbury.

Courtauld Commitment agreement

The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement between WRAP and major U.K. retailers that supports less packaging and food waste ending up in household bins. The agreement asks for signatories to support WRAP in the achievements of its objectives:
• To design out packaging waste growth by 2008 (achieved: zero growth);
• To deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010; and
• To help reduce the amount of food the nation's householders discard by 173,600 tons by 2010 versus a 2008 baseline.

To deliver this, retailers, brands, and their suppliers are working in partnership with WRAP to develop new packaging solutions and technologies across the whole U.K. supply chain. This includes using innovative packaging formats; reducing the weight of packaging; increasing the use of refill and self-dispensing systems; and collaboration on packaging design guidance.

Courtauld Commitment signatory example – Cadbury

One of the world’s largest confectionary companies, Cadbury launched a range of “eco-eggs” for sale during the 2008 Easter season, in line with the company’s Purple goes Green climate-change commitments. Called Cadbury Treasure Eggs, the range of medium Easter eggs was minimally packaged in an attractively decorated simple foil rather than in the traditional box. This represented a reduction of more than 75% plastic and 65% less paperboard than previously used with standard egg packaging.

The decision to implement this radical change in the traditional packaging form was driven by the changing attitude toward packaging by both customers and consumers, and resulted in improving the product-to pack ratio from below 20% to above 90%. The range also demonstrated that the level of breakage experienced was not significantly increased from standard performance, and consumers were receptive to the changes.

The Cadbury “eco-egg” delivered an overall reduction in the usage of plastic by 277 tons and paperboard by 129 tons, saving more than 2,000 trees as a result. In total, as a result of the combination of launching the unboxed Treasure Eggs to avoid excessive packaging and reducing packaging on the standard eggs, Cadbury saved 1,265 tons of packaging during Easter 2008.

Comment from Cadbury
“The Courtauld Commitment is a strong foundation to drive an absolute reduction in packaging and must be seen as only the starting point to developing a truly sustainable supply chain. Cadbury’s commitment to the environment is at the heart of its workplace culture, and the company has worked hard for the past 15 years to reduce its impact on the environment. Working with WRAP and participating in the independent U.K. waste forum has allowed Cadbury to further understand the specific role packaging plays within the complicated U.K. waste strategy. It also provides an opportunity to connect with organizations that have similar beliefs and challenges.”

Doug Hughes, S&T, packaging development and commercialisation manager
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