The Ardagh Group has become the world’s first packaging company to receive a Cradle to Cradle certification – recognising its commitment to product sustainability.
The accreditation, which is managed by the Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency (EPEA), was awarded to the Ardagh Group for two of its products including a baby food can.
Cradle to Cradle accreditation follows the principal that products should be designed in such a way that they are 100% recyclable or 100% biodegradable.
The company believes it is essential that the packaging sector adopts these sustainability principals to guarantee its future.
Cradle to cradle sustainability has become a prerequisite for quality food packaging, according to the company.
Never become waste
“Customers take sustainability seriously, so we are working to maximize the sustainability of our product - it is an integral part of operations,” Ardagh Group head of marketing and public affairs Sharon Crayton told FoodProductionDaily.com
“We would argue that all of our packaging is sustainable, but what we have done is go through an assessment for just two products.”
The Cradle to Cradle method of production works in direct contrast to the traditional Cradle to Grave model - which involves production without any consideration of protecting resources or the environment.
The certification started with a nine-month collection period where component data for the two cans was gathered.
This data was analysed to establish the material input, material reutilisation, energy consumption, water impacts and social responsibility.
“We have done it to prove that we are making sustainable packaging, and to highlight that we are a company with a commitment to this cause,” she added.
“Sustainability in packaging is important not only to our customers, but also to our shareholders – they are all driven by this.”
“Our products never become waste, which is the idea behind Cradle to Cradle.”
“There is much debate going on in relation to the exact definition of sustainability,” added Crayton.
“Many companies will say that they that they have increased the sustainability of their product because they have reduced the weight of their packaging.”
“Yes you have reduced the weight, but the majority of the time this product will end up in a landfill.”
“Cradle to Cradle measures the long-term sustainability of a product, not whether weight has been reduced for example.”
EPEA founder Professor Michael Braungart said, “Sustainability can be a very general term that is much abused by companies. By submitting themselves to this detailed process Ardagh have proved themselves worthy of becoming not just packaging but industrial environmental champions.”
When asked about future plans for Cradle to Cradle certification, Crayton told FoodProductionDaily.com: “We cannot comment on the next steps we will be taking.”