Sustainability

1 April 2023

Guideline on more eco-friendly packaging

Reading time: 4 min.

Packaging is part of everyday life. However, a large number of negative ecological effects can arise along its value chain. At REWE Group, we intend to avoid or reduce these impacts on the environment by using more eco-friendly packaging for our private label products – with a comprehensive strategy and ambitious goals.

Background

The manufacture of packaging is associated with the exploitation of natural resources, the consumption of energy and water, and the emission of greenhouse gases, which is disproportionate to the relatively short useful life of the packaging. A large part of the packaging is disposed of or, in the worst case, ends up in the environment. This generates a lot of waste, and in many cases valuable raw materials are lost. Packaging, however, has lots of different important functions such as transporting goods or providing a surface to apply information for the customers. Particularly, the protection of the product or the hygiene aspect leads to a conflict of objectives when it comes to a more environmentally friendly packaging design. The challenge that we face as a company is to use as little packaging as possible and necessary and to make unavoidable packaging more eco-friendly and recyclable.

Our goals

Our goal is 100 per cent more eco-friendly private label packaging by the end of 2030: For this purpose, we at REWE Group want to avoid or reduce packaging where possible or to diminish its impact on the environment. To this end, the use of materials should be reduced and the recyclability promoted, and reusable alternatives, secondary raw materials and certified raw materials should be used. In addition, we set ourselves further sub-goals, including:

  • By the end of 2025, the range of products offered in reusable or loose packaging will be doubled compared with 2021,

  • 20 per cent less plastics will be used compared with 2015

  • and all plastic packaging will be made recyclable.

  • We also strive to achieve an average recyclate content of 50 per cent in our single-use PET bottles by the end of 2023, and

  • an average recyclate content of 30 per cent by the end of 2025.

Our measures

We support our goals with many measures. For example, we have formulated packaging material-specific dos and don’ts – considering positive and negative factors. The changeover to reusable systems or the use of secondary raw materials are dos, while unnecessary multi-packs or an increased packaging weight are don’ts. In order to work on innovative approaches and progress for more eco-friendly packaging along the entire value chain, to promote developments on the market and to be in constant exchange with all relevant stakeholders, REWE Group is involved in initiatives and research projects and collaborates with partners such as the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). Customers can now find unpackaged organic fruit and vegetables in our stores, as well as other products with packaging that saves plastic or is made from recycled material. We communicate the improvements in our packaging with corresponding labelling information to provide guidance to our customers.

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