Earth Day 2024 Battling Plastic Pollution

This year’s Earth Day centers around the theme of plastic, a topic of significant relevance for Ahold Delhaize and its local brands. Across our range of products, packaging materials like glass, paper, aluminum, and plastic are utilized. However, the prevalence of plastic packaging presents a dilemma: while it ensures product quality and safety, there’s a pressing need to reduce single-use plastic and prevent its accumulation as waste or pollution. Globally, millions of tons of plastic find their way into landfills or the environment annually, with this figure steadily increasing.

Acknowledging our responsibility, we are committed to transitioning towards a circular economy. This involves eliminating unnecessary plastic, adopting reusable and recyclable packaging, and increasing the use of recycled content in our own-brand plastic packaging.

Collaboration is key to effecting change. Ahold Delhaize is part of the Global Commitment, a coalition of major consumer goods companies collaborating with stakeholders across the value chain to drive circularity efforts. Additionally, we engage with various network organizations to explore sustainable packaging solutions. For instance, some of our brands participate in national Plastics Pacts aimed at fostering a circular economy for plastic.

Our commitment to sustainability extends to practical initiatives. For instance, Alfa Beta has introduced paper packaging for its organic produce, reducing plastic usage significantly. Albert Heijn replaced plastic bread clips with paper alternatives. Moreover, collaborations with innovative companies like Avantium N.V. enable us to introduce sustainable packaging solutions such as plant-based polyethylene furanoate (PEF) bottles.

Furthermore, we actively engage in recycling initiatives. Delhaize, for instance, partners with Fost Plus and major coffee brands to recycle coffee caps, diverting them from landfills. Food Lion’s collaboration with partners has resulted in a pioneering initiative to recycle flexible plastics into new food-grade packaging, contributing to a circular supply chain.

Despite progress, challenges persist. Meeting targets for reducing virgin plastic usage and increasing recycled content remains a challenge due to infrastructure limitations and the availability of certified recycled materials. Nevertheless, we remain committed to our goals and have achieved a significant reduction in virgin plastic usage.

Moving forward, we recognize the need for accelerated action. We will continue collaborating with stakeholders, sharing best practices, and advocating for policy changes. Joining initiatives like the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty underscores our commitment to driving systemic change towards a circular economy, where plastics are effectively managed to prevent pollution and waste.

Source link