In a move to reduce its reliance on virgin plastic for flexible wrappers for its Cadbury chocolate range, Mondelēz International has inked a deal with global packaging leader Amcor to source 1000 tonnes of post-consumer recycled plastic.
The new agreement follows the adoption in 2022 of wrappers containing 30 per cent recycled plastic for the Cadbury 160-185-gram Dairy Milk family blocks. The recycled content will now be increased to 50 per cent (measured according to the mass balance approach*), with the roll-out of the new material to start in early 2024 on Cadbury blocks and expanding across bar lines such as Cherry Ripe, Crunchie and Twirl, as well as pieces wrappers for Roses and Favourites.
For Australia's packaging value chain, the deal is important because it creates confidence in the market for recycled material, and in so doing, helps build a future for plastic recycling in the country.
President of Mondelēz International Australia, New Zealand and Japan, Darren O’Brien, said, “Reducing virgin plastic use and supporting a circular packaging economy is a focus for our business and this latest deal to purchase recycled plastic is another important step in our journey.
“By halving our virgin plastic needs in our Cadbury chocolate blocks, bars and pieces portfolio produced in Australia, we are on a path to better packaging.”
Amcor is supplying the material from imported sources, since there is no food-grade PCR plastic available in the local market. To accelerate the availability of recycled content for flexibles, Mondelez and Amcor have both invested in Licella's new advanced recycling plant for soft plastics in Melbourne, currently under development and scheduled to come on stream in 2025. When it does, it will have the capacity initially to process around 20,000 tonnes per annum of end-of-life plastic, with plans to scale up to around 120,000 tonnes per annum.
Commenting on the new deal, Mike Cash, president of Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, said, “Being able to source this significant volume of recycled material for Mondelēz International gives them the opportunity to differentiate and grow, and demonstrates the collective commitment of Mondelēz International’s leadership.”
*What is the mass balance approach?
According to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC), mass balance is the most commonly used approach in the chemical industry. The mass balance approach refers to mixing stock material throughout the value chain process but recorded through verifiable bookkeeping. Since chemically recycled or bio-based feedstocks are typically blended in the manufacturing, complex, physical segregation of recycled content is often practically and economically infeasible. The result will be an overall figure for how much recycled or bio-based feedstock is present within a batch, as opposed to an individual product within it.