Good things come in green packages 

A large majority of Irish business believe that introducing sustainability practices within the workplaces has tangible benefits



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4 June 2024

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Sustainability measures are at the fore front of Irish food businesses, research shows. According to the 2023 SME Food Barometer, over half (57%) of the respondents said that they have embedded sustainability into their overall business strategy. For example, the top areas for investment to deliver better sustainability outcomes are energy consumption (45%), packaging reduction (37%) and plastics reduction (37%). 

A large majority (72%) reported that embedding sustainability has tangible benefits with 45% believing it is the right thing to do from a societal viewpoint. The benefits include that it leads to greater brand trust (42%), and enhanced reputation (37%). It is clear that the key areas of focus (i.e., energy, packaging and plastics) have environmental benefits but they also help the business manage costs in a period of high inflation. 

Despite commitments to sustainability efforts, only 15% of companies have made a carbon-neutral commitment in the last year. However, half are working towards making this commitment with the majority (73%) having pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

Deposit Return Scheme 

Re-turn, Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme went live on 1 February 2024, for which retailers had been preparing for month, prior to the launch.

When consumers purchase a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can that features the Re-turn logo from a shop or supermarket they will pay a fully refundable deposit in addition to the price of the drink.  

 Several shoppers complained that they had been charged a deposit fee for drinks they bought which didn’t display a Re-turn logo on their packaging. They were concerned that they would not be able to recoup the deposit fee as a result. 

Naturally, many shoppers took to social media to air their views on the topic. A number of shoppers complained that they had been charged a deposit fee for drinks they bought which didn’t display a Re-turn logo on their packaging. They were concerned that they would not be able to recoup the deposit fee as a result. 

To clarify this subject, Re-turn issued a statement on  the evening of the 1 February relating to the deposit fee on some non-Re-turn logo stock during the transition period. 

“Any consumer who pays a deposit on a drinks container will receive a full refund of the deposit when they return the empty and undamaged drinks containers to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide,” Re-turn stated. 

 Ahead of the roll-out of the much-discussed scheme, Amarach research revealed that 82% of consumers support the introduction of the deposit return scheme and 95% of consumers plan to engage with the circular economy initiative.

94% of those surveyed consider the impact their recycling behaviour will have on future generations at some level and 82% state that the deposit placed on drink containers will incentivise them to return empty drinks containers to participating retailers nationwide. 

 Over three-quarters of consumers (76%) believe as individuals they can make a difference to the environment by recycling drinks containers, and they mainly believe they can do this by recycling and reusing more. 

 Commenting on the scheme, Ciaran Foley, CEO of Re-turn, said: The positive feedback on the introduction of deposit return has been really encouraging. We appreciate that this is a big behavioural change and are delighted to see that we have such support.

“It is also very interesting to note how many of those surveyed are concerned about the impact of their recycling behaviour on future generations. We have no doubt that Ireland will embrace this change and support our efforts to achieve EU recycling targets and reduce litter and waste.” 

Kerrygold announces new cream cheese range  

Selection of Kerrygold Cream Cheese

Ireland’s favourite butter brand, Kerrygold will be entering a new category in the Irish market for the first time with the exciting introduction of Kerrygold Cream Cheese this Summer 

Kerrygold Cream Cheese tubs  

Made in Ireland from the milk of Irish grass-fed cows, Kerrygold Cream Cheese comes as a versatile, high-quality addition to the brand’s range, promising to delight the appetites of all who prioritise great taste and unrivalled quality.  

Launching with three main flavour profiles – Natural, Garlic & Herb, and Sweet Pepper & Chilli – the range is curated to match an abundance of consumer taste preferences, while staying true to the rich and creamy taste that Kerrygold is known for. 

The arrival of Kerrygold Cream Cheese on Irish supermarket shelves will give food-lovers choice in the category from a brand they know and trust. Kerrygold’s synonymity with natural, wholesome, and great-tasting dairy products, brings familiar qualities to the category, while each flavour ensures there’s something for all to enjoy, especially those seeking inspiration when it comes to snacking and spreading. 

To support the launch of Kerrygold Cream Cheese in the Irish market, a fully integrated marketing campaign including out-of-home, social, and sampling will run for six weeks this summer so consumers can taste the new gold standard in cream cheese. 

 The Kerrygold Cream Cheese range comes in a convenient 150g recyclable tub format, which will boast a fresh new brand look that will appear across the full Kerrygold product portfolio in the coming months.  

 Its arrival follows the launch of the Kerrygold 100g Butter Stick last year. Kerrygold has a rich pipeline of new product innovations planned for the Irish market including the new Kerrygold Garlic and Herb Stick which will also launch this year. 

Incentivising Irish businesses to stay on top of recycling their packaging properly  

In Ireland, why do our valuable resources end up in the wrong bin? 

  • There has always been a legal obligation for businesses to separate and segregate their waste. Most businesses aren’t aware of this obligation, and enforcement of these regulations is light touch. 
  • The cost savings to businesses by having a segregation system are not understood or are not regarded as financially impactful enough to consider. 
  • The provision of a three-bin waste segregation service to businesses is not in the interest of the profitability of the waste industry. 

With the introduction of enhanced commercial waste regulations in July 2023, recovery operators in the commercial sector must provide three bins to all customers: (1) residual, (2) mixed dry recyclable and (3) compost. 

The legislation mandates all commercial customers to be on a pricing plan where their expenses for mixed dry recyclable and compost are lower than those for disposing of residual waste. Slow adoption of the enhanced regulations since July 2023, continues to hamper sustainability efforts for Irish businesses. They must remind recovery operators of their obligation to provide a three-bin system. 

With proper sorting of packaging for recycling, businesses can cut costs. Recovery operators must provide detailed breakdowns of their recycling processes and disposal methods along with the associated costs. This can empower businesses to track their performance and identify improvements. 

Therefore, all businesses should opt for pricing plans where food and mixed dry recycling costs are less than the general one. This is essential and imperative to meet Ireland’s EU packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030. Individual efforts demonstrated by sorting and separating packaging ‘Clean, Dry and Loose’ can contribute to Ireland’s shared journey towards sustainability. 

Since its foundation in 1997, Repak members have contributed over €633 million to supporting Ireland’s climate challenge in the development of collection and recycling infrastructure to deliver our Members’ recycling targets, which all have been achieved. 

For a list of Repak-approved recovery operator and to find out what your business can do to improve its recycling process, visit

Creating a greener Ireland


ShelfLife talks to Zoe Kavanagh, CEO about how Repak is in the business of packaging for recycling, to help meet Ireland’s EU packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030

Zoe Kavanagh, CEO of Repak tells ShelfLife that she is delighted to join Repak and continue the important work this organisation has done in transforming Ireland’s recycling landscape. “I look forward to building on this foundation, working alongside our members, stakeholders, and the community to further our impact and contribute to a more sustainable future,” she says.   

Repak is aiming to create a greener Ireland to help meet future packaging recycling targets. How can business and members of the public support you in accomplishing this?  

The proper separation of materials for recycling are crucial for our environment. With the introduction of enhanced commercial waste regulations in July 2023, recovery operators in the commercial sector have to provide three bins to their business customers. Effective management of packaging for recycling not only reduces the burden on landfills it also conserves our natural recourses and minimises pollution. In Ireland, as in many other places, separating our materials into categories to include residual, recycling and compost can significantly improve recycling rates and reduce the environmental impact. When business take the lead in proper management of their packaging for recycling, its sets a positive example for consumers and encourages responsible behaviour at home as well.   

Can you tell me about your recently introduced Don’t Waste Earth Day campaign? 

 We asked the Irish public to not waste Earth Day. Our recent research revealed that 52% of the public say they always separate their recycling into the correct bins at home, which points to a solid foundation to build upon. 41% believe minor recycling efforts don’t affect the overall process which also highlights a crucial area for education and outreach. Individual actions do indeed play a significant role in the effectiveness of recycling efforts. Ensuring that recyclables are sorted correctly – Clean, Dry and Loose, not only facilitates the recycling process but also contributes to achieving future recycling targets and fostering a greener Ireland for us all.    

The Pakman Awards Ceremony is due to take place on the 24 October 2024. Can you tell me about the awards?  

We will be celebrating the 10th year of the Pakman Awards this year. Over the past 10 years we have celebrated organisations, communities and individuals both young and old, who have demonstrated excellence in waste management and recycling. Our call for entries will commence in June on and I would like to thank our continued sponsors who have supported the ceremony and help make it a huge success for our industry and our environment as a whole.   

  What next for Repak, do you have any new initiatives in the pipeline that you can share with me?   

We are in the business of packaging for recycling, to help meet Ireland’s EU packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030. Individual efforts demonstrated by sorting packaging ‘Clean, Dry and Loose’ are imperative and can contribute to Ireland’s shared journey towards sustainability. Repak’s ambition is to grow our membership base, develop long-term strategic partnerships with operators who are committed to improving Ireland’s packaging recycling performance while providing expertise and leadership. All efforts will be made to ensure we capture materials for recycling helping us move from a linear economy to a circular economy.  

Bunzl Ireland – Providing tailored solutions  

Continuing to lead the transition to alternative solutions  

Plastic pollution is one of the defining environmental challenges of our time. When plastic is used only once or is not properly recycled, it damages our environment, pollutes our oceans and can enter the food chain. Bunzl Ireland recognises its responsibility to be part of the solution on designing out waste and ensuring less plastic ends up in nature.  

Bunzl Ireland’s scale means we can drive change quickly and it is well placed to provide customers with trusted and objective advice on complex issues.    

Bunzl Ireland’s commitments  

  • Taking further action on packaging and products.  


  • It will support its customers to remove, replace and reduce single use plastics.  


  • It will significantly increase the amount of recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging supplied to its customers to help them meet their targets.  


  • Every single packaging product and disposable in Bunzl Ireland’s range will be offered with an alternative that is recyclable, reusable, compostable or renewable.  

Bunzl Ireland has a strong record of helping its customers transition to alternatives successfully and it is well positioned to benefit from the transition to alternative products.  

 The types of packaging and products Bunzl Ireland supply 

 Consumable products facing regulation  

 Plastic products most commonly being addressed by legislation in our markets (e.g. straws, stirrers, plates, bowls and cutlery). 55% of packaging made from alternative materials in 2023.  

Consumable products likely to transition to alternative materials  

Plastic products that have measures and legislation in place to control their usage, for example a charge for using plastic bags (e.g. carrier and fresh produce bags, coffee cups, cold drink cups). 10% of the group’s revenue attributable to single-use plastic consumables which are likely to transition to products made from alternative materials.  

Packaging and products made from alternative materials  

Products that are widely recyclable or compostable (in line with national guidance), made from a renewable resource, for example palm leaf or sugar cane or reusable products such as ‘bags for life’ or refillable coffee cups.   

 Supporting a more circular economy  

Supporting smart material choices  

Bunzl Ireland develops new packaging strategies for customers and provide alternative products that meet customer targets and product requirements.  

 Designing for circularity not waste  

Bunzl Ireland supports its customers to adapt to new legislation and transition to recyclable, compostable, renewable and reusable products.  

Promoting responsible packaging usage and reusable options  

The company is working with its customers to rationalise the products they use.  

 Partnering to support closed-loop solutions  

Bunzl Ireland supports its customers’ circular initiatives and recycling practices.  

Essential nature of wine 

Fresco di Masi Bianco  

The Masi story begins in 1772, when the Boscaini family carried out their first harvest in the prestigious vineyards in ‘Vajo dei Mas’i, a valley in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica region. After more than 200 years of passionate winemaking the company is still in family hands, run by the sixth, seventh and eighth generations. 

In every phase of the production process, Masi noted that it bases its activities on social, ethical, and environmental values, with a positive outlook for the future. Care and respect for the environment are ‘integral’ to Masi’s culture and philosophy.  

Masi’s Fresco di Masi—a wine which the renowned Venetian producer says offers a ‘renewed vision of sustainability’ was launched in the Irish market last year. Fresco di Masi is a range of organic wines that interpret a ‘renewed vision of sustainability’, produced through a process called ‘by subtraction.’ According to Masi, this process minimizes human intervention in nature and marks a return to the ‘essential nature of wine.’ 

The brand also underlined the importance of its use of 100% sustainable packaging. The wine is presented in a light, transparent bottle, with a natural cork stopper and no capsule, to ensure that it is plastic free. 

Meeting consumer demand for paper-based packaging  

Minced meat in SEE® packaging 

Smoked Salmon fillets in SEE® packaging 

SEE® has developed a new paper-based bottom web to support food processors and retailers in reducing plastic usage and meeting consumer demand for paper packaging.  

The new CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Formable Paper is made from 90% FSC® certified fibres and can enable 77% plastic reduction in bottom web packaging, when used in replacement of PET/PE webs*. 

Aldo Galbusera, senior marketing manager, Europe at SEE®, said: “We’re seeing a trend of food businesses reviewing packaging materials to improve circularity, reduce plastic usage and to satisfy shopper expectations for using paper-based options. CRYOVAC® Brand Barrier Formable Paper delivers in all these areas and provides processors with a practical, easy-to-integrate, sustainable packaging solution.” 

The new paper-based packaging bottom web is compatible with both Vacuum Skin Packaging (VSP) and Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) top webs. It has been designed to run on a range of rollstock, thermoforming and VSP equipment, and is ideal for packaging a range of products including fresh, smoked and processed meats, fish and seafood, cheese and alternative proteins.   

Galbusera, added: “Our latest paper-based food packaging solution delivers the superior barrier protection that the CRYOVAC® brand range is well known for. It has exceptional oxygen and barrier performance to keep food fresher for longer and extend shelf life, helping further reduce environmental footprint through lower levels of spoilage and wastage.  

“CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Formable Paper is designed to help retailers drive sales. Its composition of 90% renewable fibres can appeal to sustainability-conscious shoppers, while virtually leak-proof seals help improve product presentation and deliver optimum taste, moisture, freshness and texture. The bottom-web is also easy-open to meet consumer demand for convenience.” 

The paper-based bottom web is available in white and kraft colours and is compatible with CRYOVAC® brand Darfresh® vacuum skin films to secure products in place and minimise any in-pack movement. CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Formable Paper is made from 90% paper and 10% plastic and can be recycled with paper (in accordance with Aticelca® 501 UNI 11743 pass levels) where such local recycling services are available. 

Learn more:  

*77% plastic reduction based on comparisons between using CRYOVAC® brand Barrier Formable Paper and a PET/PE bottom web. 

New paper multi-bag packs for Snack A Jacks 

Walkers rolls out new paper multi-bag packs for Snack A Jacks, set to eliminate 65 tonnes of virgin plastic each year.

Following successful rollout of paper outer packaging across Walkers Baked multipacks last year, Snack A Jacks is the second brand to adopt the new format. The new, paper outer bag is set to reduce use of virgin plastic by 65 tonnes per year. 

It can be recycled with other paper packaging in home recycling bins and reduces greenhouse gas emissions of the individual outer pack by 52%. 

This latest move forms part of PepsiCo Positive, the health and sustainability transformation plan from Walkers’ parent company, which includes an ambition of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. 

 Across PepsiCo Europe, the company also plans to eliminate fossil-based plastic in crisp and snack bags by 2030. This ambition applies to UK brands including Snack A Jacks, Walkers, Doritos, Quavers, Wotsits, and Pipers, and will be delivered by using 100% recycled or renewable content.  

[1] Compared with previous plastic outer multi-bag pack annual volumes. 

[2] Compared with emissions produced by previous plastic outer multi-bag pack. 



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