Spar Group advances sustainable packaging

Connie Queline

Spar Group advances sustainable packaging

The world is facing an ongoing plastic crisis, with the World Economic Forum warning that single-use plastic consumption is expected to increase from 460 million tonnes in 2029 to 1 231 million tonnes by 2060.

This makes the Spar Group’s commitment to phasing out harmful plastics and its efforts to reduce the contribution of non-recycled multi-layered materials in oceans and landfills particularly timely.

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In a statement released by the group on 28 February 2024, it emphasised its deliberate approach to design for circularity and its commitment to designing packaging that is reusable or recyclable and contains recycled content.

Read: World’s top plastics users likely to miss sustainability goals

“In 2023 alone, The Spar Group has recycled 19 thousand tonnes of cardboard and plastic through reverse logistics operations. All carrier bags are now made from 100% recycled materials, with a minimum of 70% post-consumer waste, and are 100% recyclable, diverting about 4 000 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills a year. These numbers represent a 40% drop in the carbon footprint of their production,” read the statement.

Reports suggest that the Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town metros have less than 10 years of useful landfill life remaining.

Commenting on this, the group’s sustainability executive, Kevin O’Brien said: “In fact, in April last year, an EWN story reported that the majority of SA’s metro landfills are left with a one to two-year lifespan at most. This is a huge concern that needs to be tackled head-on if we are to curb environmental degradation.”

Further commenting on the steps taken by the group to advance its sustainable packaging O’Brien said: “We’re actively pursuing responsible packaging, sustainable product design and eco-conscious processes that prioritise the well-being of our planet. We’re also highly deliberate in the development of eco-friendly initiatives and alternatives, including the utilisation of responsibly sourced raw materials, all of which make a difference in the elimination of problematic plastic.

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“What is clear is that recycling alone will not solve the plastic waste crisis. Achieving the targets that we’ve set for ourselves will mean making tough decisions and investing heavily, but we’re prepared to do this. If retailers of all sizes throughout the country would do the same, the retail sector’s contribution to plastic waste would reduce significantly, and our impact on the environment would improve,” concluded O’Brien.

Terri-Ann Brouwers is a Moneyweb intern.

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