- Kraft Heinz installed new roofs made from recycled plastic packaging – made from post-consumer material made from flexible plastic, similar to what the CPG giant uses for its products – at manufacturing facilities in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and Holland, Michigan.
- The company installed the recycled roof boards in late 2020 as part of its participation in Materials Recovery for the Future, a non-profit group that promotes the technical and economic feasibility of collecting and recycling flexible plastic packaging. Kraft Heinz will monitor the performance of the recycled material versus traditional building materials and potentially standardize its use if the test goes well, the company said. Kraft Heinz will also forward the results to the Association of Plastic Recyclers’ Demand Champion program, which she joined last year.
- Flexible plastic is an important part of food packaging, but it can be difficult to recycle. In 2018, discarded packaging was produced 82.2 million tons of waste – 28.1% of all waste this year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. This year, 14.5 million tons of plastic packaging were produced. About two thirds of it ended up in landfills.
Kraft Heinz sets new standards for recycled plastic packaging.
The recycled roof boards are 4 feet by 8 feet and 94% of each panel is made from post-consumer plastic and fiber. The company didn’t state how much roof was covered with the recycled boards, but it will definitely be tested. Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, saw a foot of snow in February, while Holland, Michigan saw more than two feet, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
If this test works and the recycled material is as good as the traditional roof, it could be a game changer for Kraft Heinz. It’s not clear how much flexible packaging the CPG company uses on its products annually. According to statistics on the Kraft Heinz website, as of 2019, around 30% of packaging fell into the non-recyclable packaging category, including flexible plastic film or rigid plastic containers.
The company is pursuing several sustainability goals, including the production of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. To achieve this goal, the brand is testing a recyclable and compostable paper cup for macaroni and cheese Heinz ketchup bottles made from recyclable PET in the United States. Food grade plastic.
While Kraft Heinz doesn’t currently use recyclable flexible plastic packaging, it may be a relatively easy step to take. Earlier this month, General Mills introduced a recyclable plastic wrapper for its Nature Valley Crunchy granola bars and decided not to patent the wrapper so that other manufacturers could use it.
As manufacturers work to reuse their waste products – both through upcycling products that save food from the garbage and manufacturing processes that use waste to generate energy – a successful test result could put Kraft Heinz in a class of its own. The company could potentially renovate its factories using its own post-consumer waste, which would have a detrimental effect. According to Kraft Heinz’s annual report, the company has 81 manufacturing facilities worldwide and owns all but three.
The Kraft Heinz pilot project will be a permanent proof of concept for the use of recycled plastic as roofing material in industrial buildings. This can help publicize this reuse of plastic packaging and improve the strength, weather resistance and longevity of this roofing material. According to a report made for the American Chemistry Foundation, as of 2018, 46% of recycled plastic film is this type of lumber. The biggest unsolved problem could be getting consumers to change their behavior and recycle more flexible plastic – which is currently only the case with non-retail trash cans.