Sustainability

1 September 2020

Guideline on more eco-friendly packaging

Packaging is part of everyday life. However, a large number of negative environmental effects occur along the packaging value chain. In order to reduce these environmental effects, the REWE Group strives to use more eco-friendly packaging for their private label products and has implemented a comprehensive strategy and set ambitious goals.

Background

The manufacture of packaging involves extracting natural resources, consuming water and energy and creating emissions – all for something with a relatively short useful life. Even so, products still need to be protected as well as possible. The REWE Group has set itself the challenge to use packaging that is recyclable and more eco-friendly, and to reduce packaging to only what is necessary.

Our goals

The goal is for all private label packaging to be more eco-friendly by the end of 2030: The REWE Group aims to avoid or minimize packaging wherever possible as well as reduce its impact on the environment. Using less packaging material and promoting recyclable packaging will help achieve this, as will using reusable alternatives, secondary raw materials and alternative and certified materials.

The REWE Group has also set intermediate goals. By the end of 2025, REWE and PENNY will use 20 percent less plastic in packaging and 100 percent of the plastic used will be recyclable. PET packaging for detergents and cleaning agents sold at REWE, PENNY and toom Baumarkt will be made of 100 percent recycled materials by the end of 2021, with at least 20 percent of the recycled materials coming from Germany’s “yellow bags” for consumer recycling. PET bottles will also be made of 50 percent recycled materials on average by the end of 2023.

Our measures

The REWE Group supports these goals through a variety of measures, including creating a list of “Dos and Don’ts” for packaging material, which describes actions that have positive or negative effects on packaging’s eco-friendliness. For example, switching from single-use to reusable packaging or using secondary raw materials would be “Dos”, while using unnecessary multi-packs or increasing packaging weight would be “Don’ts.” The REWE Group is also involved in research projects and branch initiatives, working with startups to develop new packaging concepts and identify alternative raw materials and innovative technologies that help eliminate packaging. Partners like the Naturschutzbund (the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, or NABU) are the catalyst behind the REWE Group’s packaging strategy. Customers at the stores will encounter a variety of unpackaged organic fruits and vegetables, as well as many other products that use recycled materials and less plastic in their packaging. Specially designed labels provide information about how the packaging has been improved.