Companies are investing in greener packaging

The numerous applications submitted for the Greener Packaging Awards illustrate how strong companies are interested in the environment.

These efforts made by Belgian companies to use less and greener packaging are bearing fruit. The competition was tough for this third edition of the Greener Packaging Awards, organised by VAL-I-PAC and Fost Plus, the two Belgian companies that help Belgian organisations recycle their waste. From cleaning products that you dilute yourself to glue in cardboard boxes, companies have lots of imagination for reducing their environmental footprint.

Packaging for food products and items which are used frequently often has a poor design. However, companies go to great lengths to design environment-friendly packaging and even reduce the amount of packaging. Fost Plus and VAL-I-PAC, the two organisations responsible in our country for ensuring that companies control their packaging waste, decided to launch the Greener Packaging Awards three years ago. They use these prizes to reward companies that make innovative efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging solutions.

“Packaging is necessary to protect and preserve products, and to inform customers. The Awards aim to reward companies who make packaging greener thanks to original initiatives. Given the impressive number of applications we received, we can say that companies are paying increasing attention to this aspect.” William Vermeir, Director of Fost Plus.
A selection of nominees

Unipro wins the first prize in the “industrial packaging” category. This company no longer packs its glue in jerry cans but in bags which are packed in boxes made from recycled cardboard. The result: thanks to its ‘Cube it simple’ initiative, the company succeeded in reducing its waste by 80% and lowering the amount of glue remaining in the packaging.

In the “household packaging” category, MagiPro wins the first prize. BEVIL is the company behind the Magi Pro range and they now deliver their cleaning products as screw-cap refills with 20 ml of highly concentrated product. You dilute the product yourself, at home, in half a litre of water, and this reduces the packaging drastically.

On our website you can find the complete list of winners as well as the companies nominated in the different categories. Here is a selection:

  • The same contents in smaller spray cans. By compressing the gas and air together, Dove, AXE and Rexona have been able to make their spray cans smaller. Unilever won this prize because it succeeded in reducing the size of its packaging and in making transportation more efficient with the same contents in its spray cans.
  • Boxes made from recycled cardboard. Since recently, customers shopping at Colruyt can put their goods in an Ecobox which now replaces the plastic basket. These boxes are manufactured by VPK Packaging from 15,000 tonnes of old cardboard packages from Colruyt.
  • Compostable bread bags. The new bread bags at Carrefour are fully compostable. ACE Packaging manufactures the ink applied on the bags itself from renewable materials.
  • Vacuum-packed meat. In Delhaize stores, the plastic film for vacuum packing covers the meat directly. This means the meat can be kept twice as long, up to nine days, and contributes to reducing wasted food. The meat remains juicier and is more tender.

Strict requirements

Public authorities impose strict requirements on Belgian companies with regard to processing their packaging waste. As a result, Belgium has been a recycling pioneer in Europe for several years: 600,000 tonnes of industrial packaging waste and  680,000 tonnes of household waste were recycled last year.

“Companies are increasingly taking responsibility to fulfil their obligations when it comes to packaging. By doing this, they understand that innovative designs that also focus on the packaging life cycle are interesting from an ecological as well as an economic point of view. New packaging and transportation methods benefit people and the planet.” Johan Sneyers, Director of VAL-I-PAC