Simply swapping black with a semi-clear colour has a significant impact on pack recyclability. This easy change is what Park Cakes, M&S and Superfos have made to produce a new look cake tub with improved sustainability. Now, the tub is labelled as ‘Widely Recycled’ in the UK.
Manufactured by Park Cakes, the 1,080ml plastic tubs from Superfos, a Berry Global company have been sold by the leading food retailer M&S for more than a decade. The success of these M&S Minibite cakes in a user-friendly plastic tub has not changed, however, recently the plastic packaging has.
Discarding carbon black
Today, the cake tub has both a new look and improved recyclability. Before, the lid and the tub were carbon black; now both have been replaced with a semi-clear natural colour, which has improved recyclability. The result is a new packaging solution which matches M&S’ commitment to ensure that all plastic is widely recyclable by 2022.
The visible change lies in the lid, now non-black and plain, while the tub artwork design made with In-Mould Labelling is unchanged.
Tangible positive impact
Nick Shaw, Packaging Manager at Park Cakes, is part of the team sparking the change and running the packaging project together with Superfos, drawing on the packaging solution provider’s knowledge about recyclability:
“Using a plain semi-clear natural colour instead of a black one is in itself a fairly simple measure, yet it has a tangible positive impact on the environment. We have taken a huge amount of non-recyclable plastic out of the waste stream and in addition, we have reduced the weight of the tub.”
Collected by 75% of local UK authorities
Importantly, the official UK label “Widely Recycled” is now applied to the cake packaging. The label signifies that the packaging is collected by 75% or more of local authorities across the UK, which is as good as it gets for the time being. As in many other countries, the collection of plastic waste is not yet streamlined in the UK, so even if a packaging is recyclable, it does not necessarily mean that it is collected for recycling.
Great on-shelf presence
According to Park Cakes, the new pack scores a big plus in a sustainability context, however, the project has also proved to be a cost-neutral solution. Park Cakes and M&S are pleased with the final result in terms of the on-shelf presence. Nick Shaw says that a number of people think the pack looks cleaner and brighter, has a punchier appearance on shelf, and looks just as good as with the previous black lid.