The Ferrero strategy of the 5Rs for virtuous packaging

Plastics and the challenges of sustainable packaging in general were the subject of a roundtable discussion held in Milan on 24 June during the presentation of the Ferrero group’s 9th corporate social responsibility report.

The debate saw the participation of leading experts in the field including Giorgio Quagliuolo, chairman of CONAI, Paolo Glerean, a board member of Plastics Recyclers Europe and head of RecyClass Platform, and Paola Avogadro, Global Packaging Design manager at Ferrero. In particular, Paola Avogadro described the challenges and approach adopted by the Group to redesign its packaging or develop new solutions from scratch, concentrating both on strategic aspects and on the initial results achieved in recent years.

“Out of a total packaging volume of around 430,000 tons, 40% is fully recyclable glass, 40% is paper and board from a certified supply chain, also completely recyclable, and the remaining 20% is plastic,” she said. The company is reviewing and redesigning some of its packaging so as to guarantee greater circularity based on pilot studies conducted at recycling plants.

The process will lead to long-term sustainable projects through a strategy based on the 5Rs (Reduce, Refuse, Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse), which in the last five years has allowed for savings of more than 6,500 tons of rigid plastic. The use of 90% recycled material in the production of packaging not in direct contact with the product has saved a further 10,000 tons of virgin material. Reuse has long been a part of Ferrero’s plans: the Nutella glass cup demonstrates that alternative reuse is possible and marks an important step towards improving the circularity of packaging.