SOUTH AFRICA – In line with Shoprite groups’ ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, its subsidiary Checkers is the first South African retailer to replace its rotisserie chicken packaging with fully recyclable, responsibly sourced cardboard boxes.

To promote the circular economy, the Group has committed to ensuring that 100% of its own-brand packaging is reusable, recyclable and compostable, and that it contains on average 30% recycled material content by 2025.

The recent move is set to prevent 68 tons of non-recycled multi-layer laminated material from being landfilled every year.

As the retailer continues to make changes that are better for the planet, good progress has already been made, transitioning key packaging categories, including having an all paper and carton board packaging at in-store deli’s, bakeries and fresh fish sections are now 100% responsibly sourced.

In addition, private label Crystal Valley Fresh Milk’s bottle cap colour has been changed from blue and red to white, which enables recyclers to eliminate downcycling into darker cap colours like black.

In the next two months, Shoprite seeks to replace PET Thermoform plastic sandwich punnets with a Kraft carton sandwich wedge which has a small window, for easy removal before recycling.

Currently the group through its reverse logistics operations recycles 4 653 tons per year of plastics and 40 327 tons per year of cardboard.

Shoprite chief executive Pieter Engelbrecht said in the retailer’s Sustainability Report 2021 that many of the challenges that communities faced were linked to climate change.

The group, according to Fin24, had realised how sudden and intense the impact of a global crisis can be, as experienced through the Covid-19 pandemic, hence they remained resolute in playing their role to address climate change.

Last year, the group said it advanced its sustainability-related commitments by setting science-based targets in response to climate change and by articulating a position on biodiversity.

The Sustainability team also improved its disclosure of sustainability-related information through better Global Reporting Initiative alignment and reporting disclosures.

According to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ National Waste Management Strategy 2020 (NWMS), referring to the 2018 State of Waste Report, in 2017 South Africa generated 55 million tonnes of general waste, with only 11 percent being diverted from landfill.

These trends, coupled with limited growth in the gross domestic product, were associated with increases in waste generation.

The department said in the absence of aggressive strategies to avoid generating waste, the total volumes of waste generated would increase in future, which would in turn require greater effort in waste diversion simply to maintain the current rate at which landfill airspace was depleted which was already recognised as being unsustainable.

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