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IRN-BRU to join packaging and food waste revolution

Scottish soft drinks company AG Barr is joining a UK-wide scheme to reduce household food waste and cut product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain.

4 Mar 10

The IRN-BRU maker is signing up to Courtauld Commitment 2, a voluntary waste reduction agreement for major grocery retailers and brand owners, supported by Zero Waste Scotland, which launches new targets today.

Working with Zero Waste Scotland, AG Barr will aim to reduce PET plastic use in bottles produced at its Cumbernauld factory by 8% - a saving of 375 tonnes of PET a year, or enough to make 18 million 500ml bottles.

Robert Wiseman Dairies, a signatory to the original Courtauld Commitment, which launched in 2005, has also announced that it will take part in the second phase.

The Courtauld Commitment has driven a revolution in the nation’s shopping baskets over the past five years by changing the way products are packaged.

Its cumulative impact has meant some 500,000 tonnes less packaging was used in the period 2005 – 2009 – that’s enough to fill a queue of refuse trucks, bumper-to-bumper, from Edinburgh to Inverness and back again.

The new targets announced today will move away from solely weight-based targets and aim to achieve more sustainable use of resources over the entire lifecycle of products, throughout the whole supply chain.

The three new targets are:

  • Packaging – to reduce the weight, increase the recycling rates and increase the recycled content of all grocery packaging, as appropriate.  Through these measures the aim is to reduce the carbon impact of this grocery packaging by 10%.
  • Household food and waste – to reduce UK household food and drink wastes by 4%.
  • Supply chain product waste – to reduce traditional grocery product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 5% - this includes both solid and liquid wastes.

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

"One of the biggest challenges society faces over the next decade is reducing the environmental impact of the things we buy.

"Since 2005, the Courtauld Commitment has driven a revolution in the nations' shopping baskets.   However it’s no longer enough to look at the impact of packaging alone – that’s why Courtauld Commitment 2 takes into account the environmental impact of waste at supply chain and household levels as well.

"We’re thrilled that major Scottish companies, like AG Barr and Robert Wiseman Dairies, as well as the major supermarket retailers, have committed to this new agreement so early on, and we’ll continue to work with the rest of the supply chain to ensure we deliver the stretching targets we’ve all agreed to."

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"As a nation, we have made excellent progress in making Scotland a cleaner place to live and today is an example of the true innovation happening on our doorstep.

"Last month, I announced that Scottish local authorities are recycling at nearly 36 per cent, edging ever closer to our target of 40 per cent – but we can’t stop at that. I am further encouraged to see some of Scotland’s major private sector companies doing their bit and signing up to this voluntary initiative.

"I welcome the commitment from AG Barr to reduce the packaging on their products and would encourage more to follow their lead. AG Barr has pledged that 25 per cent of the plastic in all their Strathmore water bottles will come from recycled plastic. Their action, along with the other Scottish signatories of the Courtauld Commitment, will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s journey towards a zero waste society."

Roger White, CEO of AG Barr, said:

"We are very happy to support the work of Zero Waste Scotland by signing up to the resource minimisation objectives as outlined in the Courtauld Commitment 2 agreement.

"The aims of the Commitment, to waste less materials, re-use and recycle packaging are not new activities to AG Barr but have been a part of our overall sustainability strategy over the years. This includes our Returnable Glass Bottle scheme in Scotland which has been operating for over 135 years.

"We are delighted to be the first new Scottish company to sign up to this important agreement and we are committed to the development of a broad range of initiatives aimed at minimising our ongoing use of packaging resources."

David Douglas, Environment Manager for Robert Wiseman Dairies, said:

"As a company we are committed to reducing the impact of packaging waste within the grocery sector, something which is reinforced by our involvement in the Courtauld Commitment. Reducing this waste can result in significant environmental and carbon savings, as well as harness a number of business benefits."

The 29 founding Courtauld Commitment 2 signatories are:

  • AG Barr
  • Alliance Boots
  • Apetito
  • Arla Foods
  • Asda
  • Britvic
  • Constellation Europe
  • Cooperative Retail
  • Dairy Crest
  • Danone Dairies
  • Danone Water
  • Fosters EMEA
  • HJ Heinz
  • Innocent Soft Drinks
  • Mars (UK)
  • Molson Coors
  • Morrisons
  • Muller Dairies
  • Musgraves
  • Nestle
  • Northern Foods
  • Robert Wiseman Dairies
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
  • Unilever
  • Vimto
  • Waitrose
  • Warburtons
  • Weetabix

Notes For Editors

  • The Courtauld Commitment is a UK-wide voluntary agreement between WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and major grocery retailers and brad owners.  It is supported by the Scottish Government through its Zero Waste Scotland programme.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is the new programme created by the Scottish Government to support delivery of its Zero Waste plan.
  • Zero Waste Scotland has been created to provide a one-stop-shop for support and advice to individuals, businesses and local authorities in order to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use natural resources more efficiently.
  • It will integrate the activities of WRAP Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Tidy, Remade Scotland, Envirowise in Scotland, NISP in Scotland, and some programmes delivered by the Community Recycling Network for Scotland.
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