Packaging is vital to our business - we couldn’t function without it. It keeps food fresh, safe and delicious. It is also crucial in minimising food waste, one of the most important things we can do to protect the environment, as typically, ten times more resources go into a product than its packaging.
We plan to sign the WRAP Hospitality and Food Service Agreement, a voluntary initiative to help the food sector reduce waste and recycle more. Informed by the findings of our packaging review, we are optimistic that we will be able to commit to the targets in the Agreement. These are to reduce food and packaging waste by 5% by the end of 2015 and to increase the rate of food and packaging waste recycled to at least 70% by the end of 2015. We will report our progress in our next CSR update.
Two changes have reduced our packaging by 1,400 tonnes already – that's about the same weight as 127 double-decker buses. We switched our Fillet and Zinger burgers from cardboard ‘clamshells’ to paper wrappers, and moved our classic chicken meals, the Colonel’s Meal and Variety Meal, from cardboard boxes to paper bags.
Also, during 2013 we developed ways to reduce bag sizes and remove box liners, changes which will take place from February 2014 and save 125 tonnes of paper per year.
Products and packaging that currently use only recycled or recyclable materials include:
- Our iconic bucket can be widely recycled now we've removed its plastic coating
- Our napkins, which have always been 100% recycled
- Our Krushems cups, which contain 40-50% recycled materials
- The wrapper for our Mini Fillet Burgers, which is now paper instead of foil. The new packaging is 100% recyclable and biodegradable
Trayliners and recycled paper
Switching our tray liners to print on Cyclus Print 100% recycled paper has substantially reduced environmental impacts, by eliminating the resources needed to process virgin paper. The move has cut the use of wood products by almost 340 tonnes, waste to landfill by 207 tonnes and water use by 5.7 million litres. It has also reduced electricity use by 530 megawatt hours and greenhouse gas emissions by over 40 tonnes.
Welsh Carrier Bag Tax
Our restaurants in Wales have reduced the number of bags they use by 45% since the Welsh Assembly introduced a tax on single-use carrier bags. We've also raised £16,000, 90% of which went to local causes like the Noah's Ark Appeal, a children's hospital charity. The rest went towards Keep Wales Tidy.
Helping customers to recycle
We are committed to ensuring that all KFC-branded packaging clearly shows whether it's recyclable. We are exploring the use of the On Pack Recycling Label scheme that many retailers use so customers see the same label on most packaging in the UK and Ireland. We will report progress in the next CSR update.
We constantly review how well used the recycling bins in our stores, car parks and Drive Thrus are. We are working with an external waste management company to carry out a study into our waste streams and disposal options, customer behaviour and how best to encourage them to recycle. This is mainly to ensure compliance with Scottish regulations, but the results will also be in context of KFC across the rest of the UK and Ireland.