Plamil Foods Ltd

Recycling

Recycling

So free Smooth Thin BarAt Plamil, the original vegan business, we have always put ethics at the forefront of our business. We are very familiar with issues that are not always as easy as they may appear to resolve, and unintentional outcomes can occur from well meaning actions that are not carefully considered. Rushing to meet the marketing executive's dream is often not the best overall solution.

We must also remember that you eat what we love to make, and that the chocolate must be safe and secure right up to the time you enjoy.

The big question

The big question... is it best to 'create and recycle' or 'create and compost' (and is that industrial compost, or at home?)

There are plenty of news reports highlighting that following a vegan diet is itself the best environmental outcome, but at Plamil we incorporate additional positive environmental actions.

Over a decade ago we changed to only 100% renewable energy to make our products, and to our knowledge we remain the only company today that does this. For decades we have used as much recyclable cardboard in our packaging as possible, and display FSC logo on some retail products, and have recycled material from our factory back for re processing.

Chocolate bar wrapping

We have long been concerned about the material used in chocolate bar wrapping, moving away from dual aluminium and paper labels many years ago. We also moved to single material, away from metalized film, as mixed material is considered as not good to recycle.

We are delighted that plastic packaging has come to the forefront of people's minds, and we continue to strive to reduce the plastic packaging we use, being the first company to highlight that plastic packaging on Easter items is completely unnecessary.

Packaging issues & developments

The issue of different types of packaging is complex and under constant review. Environmental considerations need to be considered together with energy and resources to manufacture, reuse, recycle, dispose of, consumer or industrial compost. The packaging industry is working hard to solve the issue of how to deliver consumer products safely, particularly for chocolate, but no utopian solution has currently been found that addresses all aspects.

Taking a long hard look at current solutions of compostable wrapping for chocolate highlights many unresolved issues.

  • specifications of this type of material do not meet shelf life expectations of chocolate
  • packaging made with Eucalyptus is made using sulphuric acid extraction methods
  • considerable confusion remains between industrial composting and consumer composting
  • no comprehensive recycling of compostable materials programme for consumer
  • statistically very few consumers home compost, many local authorities refuse compostable packaging in food waste
  • placing compostable packaging within recycling creates serious contamination within the recycling process for other plastic
  • compostable materials can be made with animal by-products and we see reports that these materials are even being developed using milk protein

There are promising developments for chocolate packaging which we are constantly monitoring. We consider the current thinking and ethos that chocolate bar packaging produced and recycled is in the long term a better environmental balance than compostable material.

  • use packaging specified for use with chocolate (to the end of shelf life)
  • only pack bars in material that is not mixed with metalized foil
  • encourage recycling process

We continue to assess all options but you can be assured, as our long term ethics has proven, we will make the best choice possible, as we have done for over sixty years.