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Mars Food and Amcor announce move to recyclable microwavable rice pouch

Mars Food has announced that it will begin to use recyclable mono-polypropylene plastic (PP) for its microwavable rice pouches in 2021. The project will bring to market the industry’s first food safe, mono-material microwavable rice pouch. Launching with an initial pilot in the first half of 2021, the business has ambitions to further scale the technology across its portfolio beginning at the back half of the year.

The use of high performing mono-PP material will allow Mars Food to retain the shape, shelf life, functionality and high safety standards needed for its brands’ packaging, while ensuring pouches can be mechanically and chemically recycled where infrastructure exists, and designed for future recycling where it doesn’t yet.

The breakthrough is a result of a three year partnership between Mars Food and Amcor. The companies share a vision to support a circular economy where packaging doesn’t become waste. The progress is part of Mars’ Sustainable Packaging Plan, which outlines the business’ commitment and plans to achieve 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2025. The project will also move Amcor closer to achieving its pledge to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.

Fiona Dawson, global president, Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers, said: ‘We are committed to finding more sustainable solutions for our packaging that are food safe without compromising quality. This is a huge step for us towards our 2025 commitment of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.

‘We believe in tackling the world’s sustainability challenges together, and through this partnership with Amcor, we will pilot, learn and then scale the volume of recyclable mono-polypropylene pouches across our portfolio.’

Amcor has led the packaging development through its material science and packaging sustainability expertise. This upcoming launch builds on Amcor’s recent AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable breakthrough. This will be its first application for microwaveable food and the first in a stand-up pouch format.  

‘Our research and development team has invested its passion and expertise to develop a unique innovation roadmap of more sustainable solutions for plastic, paper and aluminium packaging. Thanks to that foresight and leadership in innovation, we are excited to announce yet another industry first in recycle-ready packaging,’ said Michael Zacka, president Amcor Flexibles EMEA.

Mars Food accelerated the development of the new material through rigorous testing and conducted significant scale up tests in its production facilities in the UK, challenging what was previously considered possible throughout the production process. Working in collaboration with Amcor, it then ensured the material development met all its functional requirements while protecting product quality and safety.

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