Greener packaging for food and drink products in time for London 2012

The Olympic Games has taken its next step along the road to fulfilling its pledge to be the greenest version of the games yet, with a decision to make food packaging used at the games from compostable materials.

Fast food wrappers, sandwich boxes and drink cartons will be given what the London Olympics is calling a ‘green makeover’ by producing versions of the containers that can be broken down by anaerobic digestion (AD). This will allow the packaging to be made into renewable energy.

The NNFCC, the UK’s National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials, and British Printing Industries have been working with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to make compostable packaging present at the 2012 games.

“The London Olympics has given us a unique opportunity to showcase the benefits of using compostable packaging,” Dr. John Williams, head of Materials at the NNFCC said.

This decision follows a number of other green commitments made by the London Olympics, including using sustainable materials for the games’ temporary buildings, minimising its impact on wildlife and their habitats, using as little waste as possible and curtailing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a release from NNFCC, the London Olympics hopes to contribute zero waste to area landfills and aims to recycle, reuse or compost 70 per cent of materials used at the games.

The release estimates that 3,300 tonnes of waste from food containers will be used at the games.

“Using renewable materials at the Olympics is a great way to demonstrate to the public how seriously the packaging industry is taking sustainability,” Andy Sweetman, chairman of the European Bioplastics Association, said. “Moving the packaging industry towards a low carbon economy is challenging, but bioplastic manufacturers are on the forefront of innovation.”

At Wiles Greenworld we too have been preparing for the London 2012 Olympics by targeting the reduction of packaging waste. We have already achieved a zero 0% to landfill target for our internal waste and our recycling scheme continues to grow in strength.

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