Wienerberger look to reduce plastic packaging
Company aiming to reduce raw material consumption as part of efforts to facilitate circular economy
LET’s Build Beyond – Wienerberger’s recently launched sustainability strategy – outlined the need to tackle resource scarcity to safeguard the planet. To this end, in a bid to reduce raw material consumption across the business, the company is focusing on product design, manufacturing efficiency, and the packaging materials used to protect and securely transport its goods.
Over several months, Wienerberger’s procurement, operations, and H&S teams have been collaborating with customers and logistics partners to reduce the volume of plastic packaging materials (foils) used and have undertaken extensive trials of both reduced foil thickness and foil-free packaging.
In the meantime, the company has made the decision to remove the coloured ink from its plastic packaging, which means the packaging can be recycled as a higher-grade material, ultimately reducing society’s reliance on virgin raw materials.
Wienerberger say the move is part of efforts to facilitate a circular economy and that in future they will trial collections of used plastic materials from customers for recycling into new Wienerberger packaging.
Stephanie Palmer, the company’s head of sustainability, commented: ‘We continue to work hard to reduce our consumption of plastic packaging. Our decision to use unprinted packaging improves its recyclability and complements our commitment to reduce overall plastic packaging consumption by 30% by 2023. By meeting this target, Wienerberger will prevent 180 tonnes of plastic entering the construction sector supply chain.’
Now, each pallet load packaged with clear, unprinted foil where a brand logo used to be, will, instead, be marked by an easily removable paper label containing the same information (product name, details, handling advice etc).
Wienerberger’s head of procurement, Kevin Perkins, added: ‘This will also reduce lead times and minimize the risk to the supply chain, as unprinted foils are significantly easier to manufacture than printed alternatives. It will also make it easier to move foils between sites for trials or during supply challenges, without the limitations of site-specific printing.’