Greetings Today magazine, giving you the bigger picture

Eco packaging’s a sweet idea

Blue Planet inspires Calico Cottage to launch compostable transparent bags


 WITH sustainability and recycling a hot topic among the greetings industry, other suppliers are getting in on the act and confectionery manufacturers Calico Cottage are phasing out single-use plastic packaging for a compostable alternative.

The Cambridgeshire-based company are the first in their industry to offer the option for retailers to stock their impulse bags of sweets in compostable, transparent packaging which breaks down and disappears in soil in just six to 12 weeks, under the brand of Cambridge Confectionery Company.
With issues of plastic glitter getting into the food chain, and the recyclability of cellobags hitting the news in recent months, card publishers are at the forefront of research into ways to make their products even more eco-friendly – G.F Smith’s paper made from recycled coffee cups is one of the latest innovations.
Retailers are keen to keep up so additional products which meet the criteria are increasingly popular.
Millions of the regular biodegradeable bags, which can take decades to degrade, are used in the UK every year, prompting Calico Cottage to launch their new range last Tuesday, March 27, for which they worked on closely with Futamura Group and Direct Packaging Ltd of Rochford, Essex.
The new bags are certified to EN13432 and manufactured from sustainably sourced trees, which are converted into pulp and then a liquid cellulose solution which is then made into a transparent solid film that’s coated and cut to size.
Managing director Nigel Baker said: “The move away from single-use plastic is an issue that we started to address internally at Calico Cottage in 2017. We’re hugely passionate about this and have been working long hours to come up with a solution using a range of technologies, and I’m proud that we have brought it to market so quickly.
“Along with DPL and some key customers, we’re launching a home compostable bag with compostable labels and adhesives, which will also biodegrade in sea water. We decided to take this step pro-actively, with a significant investment, rather than wait for our customers to ask for it.
“The term biodegradable is widely used and often misunderstood. Millions of these packs are sold every year in the UK and often leave harmful residues behind in the soil as well.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to eliminate single-use plastics within 25 years but, inspired by watching the BBC’s Blue Planet programme, Calico Cottage decided to act much sooner.
Nigel added: “The footage about how much plastic ends up in the oceans really affected us all here and spurred us to do something about our packaging immediately. We are pleased to be leading the way in our industry and hope other retailers join us in this revolution.
“It’s a first step for us and can eliminate around 80 per cent of our single-use plastic packaging, but we won’t be satisfied until this number hits 100 per cent, which is a huge challenge.”
Operations manager Jon Millard said: “We’re already working on the second phase of the launch which is planned for late April and May. This move could really be a game-changer, so we are delighted that retailers across the country are so keen to join us.”
Calico Cottage’s launch partners for the new range will be phasing the packaging on to shelves in coming weeks, and include Zoological Society Of London, Chester Zoo, Twycross Zoo, Dudley Zoological Gardens, The British Museum, Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Paignton Zoo, Newquay Zoo, Living Coasts and Rhug Estate. Kew Gardens and Blue Diamond Garden Centres are set to join shortly.

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