To what extent does Woolworths use recyclable packaging in their house brand to ensure a less harmful effect on the environment?
I researched statistics for packaging being recycled in South Africa. According to Plastics SA executive director Anton Hanekom, more organisations and individuals are becoming active in recycling.
In 2016, just over 1.1 million tonnes of plastic waste entered the waste stream, of which 42% was recycled. This marked a 35% increase in recycling since 2011 and each year this figure is growing. The recycling rates per main substrate in 2016 were: Glass 42.5% Metal 73.3% (beverage cans 72%) Paper 67.2% Plastics 44.6% (PET beverage containers 42%)
According to a recent study, packaging accounts for 8% on average of the carbon footprint of products consumed at home.
This topic was chosen because recycling is something the has always been important to me. I chose to specifically look at Woolworths because it is a well-known brand in South Africa and many people -including myself – shop there. We need to protect the environment because in order to survive we need a healthy environment. People don’t often realize the importance of recycling and the negative impact they have on our environment, I want to make people aware of the importance and provide them with examples of packaging the can recycle. Recycling is relevant in today’s world because it helps us to live more sustainably, to conserve materials, to save energy and to reduce garbage in landfills. Waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste and also reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved. By protecting the environment, we can help prevent health problems, maintain the ecosystem, and preserve the Earth for the future generation.
• To asses and identify the different packaging of Woolworths house brand foods that can be recycled
• To determine why all of the packaging can/can’t be recycled.
• To identify the environmental impact of not recycling
• To recommend examples of the different packaging people can recycle
• To identify aims the benefits of recycling at home
• Investigate what percentage of packaging (plastic, paper…) is being recycled today
Source 1: Woolworths. (2018). Waste ; Recycling. Available: http://www.woolworths.co.za/store/fragments/corporate/corporate-index.jsp?content=./article/article;contentId=cmp205998. Last accessed 19 march 2018.
This source from Woolworths themselves states that everything from their green food plastic bags, fabric reusable bags, baskets and trolleys are made from recycled materials. It is also said in the source that Woolworths was the first major South African retailer to begin using recycled beverage, juice and milk bottles in product packaging. These materials are safe and carefully cleaned to make sure it meets or exceeds international standards for food safety. By doing this Woolworths is not only reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill, but they are also saving natural resources and energy, and helping to create jobs.
Their green plastic food bags are made from a minimum 70% post-consumer and manufacturing waste. They are using reusable, recyclable plastic trays to transport food products to stores in order to reduce cardboard waste in food operations. They design packaging for easier recyclability and the on-pack recycling labels tell customers what each pack contains and how to properly dispose them. The source says recycled materials are used wherever possible and they make an effort to purchase materials from certified sustainable sources wherever possible. Woolworth has also committed to sourcing packaging materials from sustainable sources as part of our deforestation commitment.
This source is a primary source as it comes from Woolworths itself which means the information is reliable because Woolworths knows their own procedures also tells us which packaging is recyclable and how it benefits the environment. This source was recently posted in 2018 which means it is up to date and is relevant.
This source is trustworthy because this information can be backed up by doing research of the actual products in Woolworths. It gives us actual facts and examples of where Woolworths uses recyclable packaging.
This source has value because it relates to the topic question and it answers the question. It is a primary source which means all the information comes from Woolworths themselves which means all the information is exactly what Woolworths incorporates in the business.
Even though the source comes from Woolworths, there is no mention of who the author is and because it comes from Woolworths itself it is biased.
Source 2- Woolworths. (2016 ). WOOLWORTHS PACKAGING POSITION STATEMENT . Available:http://www.woolworths.co.za/images/elasticera/New_Site/Corporate/Woolworths_Packaging_Position_Statement.pdf. Last accessed 19 march 2018.
In this source Woolworths lists what packaging principles they are committed to, which includes:
• Designing packaging holistically – Bearing social, environmental and commercial factors in mind when designing packaging.
• Using packaging materials that are effective and safe.
• Using responsibly sourced materials.
• Preferring materials that are renewable.
• Preferring materials that are recyclable in South Africa.
They are committed to designing packaging for recyclability, minimising the need for non-renewable resources, as well as driving the market for recycled material through inclusion of recycled content in their packaging and products.
When designing packaging Woolworths allows for ease of recycling by using as few packaging materials as possible. They use mono-materials rather than composite materials where possible. Almost all materials used by Woolworths for packaging are technically recyclable, but due to limitations and availability in the collection and recycling infrastructure in South Africa, it is only the rigid, heavy containers (cartons, glass bottles and metal cans) that are widely recycled. Woolworths replaced plastic milk bottles with a version containing 30% plant-based material, made from sugar cane, a renewable raw-material source that captures CO2 and reduces dependence on oil-based alternatives which is recyclable. The light flexible containers (bags, wraps and films), often contaminated with food hold very little value for recyclers and are not yet widely recycled.
To help consumers recycle their packaging, Woolworths has introduced On Pack Recycling Labels which are based on what can actually be recycled in most metropolitan areas in South Africa. They hope that by making recycling information clearer, that much more waste will be recycled; less contamination will occur in recycling streams and that more investment will be made in recycling infrastructure.
This source is relevant to the topic because it answers the question and gives examples of how Woolworths uses recyclable packaging. It also explains their principles they are committed to which gives us a better understanding of the company and why recycling is important to them. It also tells us that they are encouraging consumers to recycle their packaging.
This source is trustworthy because it comes directly from Woolworths itself and it tells us what is important to the business and what principles they follow. It was updated in 2016 which means they have been aware and practicing recycling so it is something that is a part of the company and it has developed further over the years.
This is a useful source because Woolworths tells us how they are helping customers recycle which suggests that recycling is an important part of their company values. This source adds value to the research topic because it talks about Woolworths packaging principles and how they attempt to make packaging recyclable
This source was posted in 2016 and a lot could have changed in Woolworths over the years regarding their packaging. We also don’t know who the author of this source is. The source also says light flexible containers like plastic bags are not yet widely recycled but now in 2018 every consumer is aware of recycling their plastic bags because the recycling sign is printed on the sides of the bag.
Source 3- SAinfo reporter. (2010). Woolies turns to recycled packaging. Available: https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/governance/sustainable/wooliesrpet-181110. Last accessed 19 march 2018.
The heading of this source is “Woollies turns to recycled packaging” The source reports that Woolworths has become the first major South African retailer to use post-consumer recycled plastics in its food packaging. By doing this they are helping to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to cut its dependence on imported oil stocks needed to make virgin plastic.
Since September 2010, Woolworths’ has introduced containers made with 30% recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (rPET), which is made from recycled plastic bottles. By recycling one ton of PET bottles 6.2 cubic metres of landfill space is saved as well as enough energy to keep a 15-watt energy-saver light glowing for 24 hours and there is no compromise on food safety. It also helps create jobs, the source tells us that roughly 10 000 people earn income from collecting bottles.
Recycling PET reduces carbon dioxide emissions and cuts dependence on imported oil stocks used to make virgin plastic. It also helps create jobs, it’s estimated that some 10 000 people earn income from collecting bottles.
Woolworths foods MD Zyda Rylands said in a statement “The retailer had now successfully eliminated over 600 tons of foods packaging, with more than 23% of its food products using recycled packaging materials, and most of the sleeves on its ready-made meals, dips and other food products being made from cardboard with an 80% recycled paper content.”
This source is relevant to the topic because it tells us how Woolworths is contributing to environment sustainability by using recyclable packaging. It also tells us the benefits of Woolworths introducing PET.
This source is trustworthy because the information is quoted from Woolworths foods MD Zyda Rylands (who is now the CEO). The information is accurate because it can be searched and backed up by doing research on the actual products in the shops.
This is a useful source because it answers the topic question by telling us how recyclable packaging positively impacts the environment and how Woolworths is incorporating recycling into the company to have a less harmful effect on the environment.
This was posted 8 years ago and a lot can change regarding their packaging within the business
Source 4- -. (-). importance of recycling . Available: http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/importance.html. Last accessed 19 march 2018.
This source looks at the importance of recycling for the environment. Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment which include:
• Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
• Habitat destruction and global warming are some the effects caused by deforestation. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
• Huge amounts of energy are used when making products from raw materials. Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.
This source is relevant to the topic as it gives reasons as to why recycling for Woolworths packaging is important to have a less harmful effect on the environment
This source is accurate because the reasons can be backed up by doing other research and it comes from a website that is widely used for information
The source is useful because it answers the question on why recycling is important for the environment and it gives reasons on how recycling can help reduce negative effects on the environment
We are not sure when this source was posted or who wrote it
Source 5 –. (-). Guide to recycling in South Africa. Available: http://treevolution.co.za/guide-to-recycling-in-sa/. Last accessed 17 April 2018.
The title of this source is “Guide to recycling in South Africa” The source provides us with the percentage of how much of various materials which are actually recycled in SA:
• Cans: 69 percent
• Paper: 59 percent
• Glass: About 25 percent
• Plastic: About 17 percent
The source also gives us a list of what can be recycled:
• Coldrinks and beer cans
• Food tins
• Metal lids of glass jars
• Foil and foil packaging
• Paint, oil and aerosol cans (leave labels on them so recyclers can see whether they contain hazardous material).
• Beverage bottles
• Food jars such as tomato sauce, jam and mayonnaise bottles
• White office paper
• Magazines and books (as long as nothing is laminated)
• Cardboard (boxes and cereal boxes). 4. PLASTICS
Plastics are made from oil, a non-renewable resource, and much of the plastic packaging we use every day is recyclable.
• Ice cream and milk containers
• Fabric softener bottles,
• Plastic bags
• Cling-wrap can all be recycled.
This source is relevant because it gives us a better understanding of what products we can and should recycle and shows us that there is still a lot of materials not being recycled.
This source is trust worthy because the information can be backed up and it is all facts that have already been researched.
This source is a secondary source and is useful to the topic question because it gives us an idea of what packaging we can recycle from Woolworths after buying the foods.
There is no author or date of publish on the source.
For my primary research I am looking at Woolworths house brand food packaging. This information will be collected to determine what packaging/part of the packaging a consumer can recycle. I will go to Woolworths with a list of 12 different foods as well as their plastic bags and trolleys and I will check if the packaging is recyclable or not and write down my results in a table. I will list which part of the packaging is recyclable/non-recyclable by looking on the symbols at the back of the packaging. After I have conducted the investigation I will tally up all the results and come to a conclusion. This is the best method to use because the table is easy to understand and represents recyclable and non-recyclable packaging clearly.
A face book page called Unpacked will be useful for my research. This page posted a link to a survey sent out by Woolworths about their recycling and not currently recyclable labels. I will use this survey to determine how concerned Woolworths is about recycling and how they want to become more involved in the environment.
A survey focusing on what packaging people recycle and if they encourage others to recycle will be conducted to 10 people. This will help get a brief idea of how many people recycle their packaging on a regular basis. I will then compare my primary research to my secondary research to come to a conclusion about the results.
The ethical issues of my research include tarnishing Woolworths name if the results of my research are poor. This might discourage people from buying food from Woolworths house brand because not all the packaging is recyclable. This can result in negative business image for Woolworths.
Templete of survey
This survey is being linked to woolworths food packaing and is being conducted to investigate how many people take part in recycling their packaging and if they read the labels.
1) Tick yes/no
Do you shop at Woolworths? Yes No
Is recycling important to you? Yes No
Do you recycle? Yes No
2) Fill in:
If so, what do you recycle?
3) Rank order: 1- often 2- sometimes 3-never
How often do you read recycling labels? 1 2 3
Do you encourage others to recycle? 1 2 3
Template of research and tally table
Foods Recyclable Non-recyclable
Salt & vinegar stacker crisps
Prawn cocktail crisps
Twisty tuns pasta
Biltong snack sticks
Chocolate whipped cream
Salted caramel cupcakes
Explanation of results from survey
(filled out surveys attached)
This graph represents the results of how many people shop at Woolworths.From this we can tell that 80%(8) people shop at Woolworths and 20%(2) people don’t.
This graph combines both the results from the guestions “is recycling important to you ” and “do you recycle?”. By looking at the graph we can see that recycling is important to half the people and is not important to the other half.6 people take part in recycling while the other 4 don’t.
This graph represents the amount of people who read recycling lables. shows us that only 2 out of 10 people read recycling lables often while the other 3 only read it sometimes and majority of the people (5) never read the lables.
This graph represents if people encourage others to recycle.Half of the people fo encourage recycling while 4 people don’t and 1 person sometimes does.
Results from research table
Foods Recyclable Non-recyclable
Salt ; vinegar stacker crisps Lid-plastic Tube
Prawn cocktail crisps Bag
Twisty tuns pasta Paper sleeve
Tray Plastic Film
Braai chicken Paper Sleeve Tray
White hotdogs Wrap
Biltong snack sticks Bag
Plain yoghurt Paper sleeve
Plastic tube Lidding film
Chocolate milkshake Bottle
Chocolate whipped cream Metal can
Salted caramel cupcakes Paper sleeve Plastic tray
Plastic bags plastic
Milk bottles Carton
Explanation of results from the tally table
I have investigated 12 foods and their packaging sold at Woolworths as well as their plastic bags and trolleys. I chose products that we normally buy every time we go grocery shopping at Woolworths. The results were interesting because it made me aware of what I can recycle and what I can’t. The results show that there is more packaging that can be recycled than non-recyclable. I was surprised to find that most of the packaging that can’t be recycled are the plastic trays which is labelled ‘not recycled currently’. Other packaging that is recyclable is labelled ‘widely recycled’. The food product that consists of more that one packaging is more likely to have one packaging that cannot be recycled. This has made me realize that it is important to read recycling labels because sometimes we just assume that all the packaging is recyclable.
I have found a face book page called Unpacked. This page posted a link to a survey sent out by Woolworths about their recycling and not currently recyclable labels. This survey shows that recycling is important to Woolworths and they want feedback from consumers so they can improve. The survey explained that the ‘not recycled currently label’ meant that these packaging’s are just not widely recycled in South Africa due to the lack of collection and recycling infrastructure, as well as unsustainable business models for products made from recycled materials. This survey helped me understand more about what the labels mean.
Linking results to the source analysis
In the Source Analysis, Source two stated “Almost all materials used by Woolworths for packaging are technically recyclable, but due to limitations and availability in the collection and recycling infrastructure in South Africa, it is only the rigid, heavy containers (cartons, glass bottles and metal cans) that are widely recycled… The light flexible containers (bags, wraps and films), often contaminated with food hold very little value for recyclers and are not yet widely recycled”. This source justified why the plastic trays are not recyclable.
The primary research shows that the trolleys and plastic bags are recyclable and in source one we are told that Woolworths are making them from recycled materials in order to reduce the amount of waste that goes in landfills and to save natural resources.
I have come to a conclusion that Woolworths uses recyclable packaging to a large extent in order to have a less harmeful effect on the enviroment. When it comes to packaging Woolworths prefers materials that are renewable and recyclable in South Africa..They are committed to designing packaging for recyclability, minimising the need for non-renewable resources, as well as driving the market for recycled material through inclusion of recycled content in their packaging and products.
As mentioned in source one “recycled materials are used wherever possible and they make an effort to purchase materials from certified sustainable sources wherever possible.” After doing research this statement is backed up by the findings. The results from the tally table have helped me come to this conclusion as I found that most of their packaging is made from recycable material and can be recycled,for example their plastic bags , trollies and milk cartons.However, other component parts of some products packaging are not able to be recycled ,for example ,the wrap of the hotdogs and the bag of the biltong stics.This is because facilities for recycling these materials are not widely available in South Africa at the moment. These parts of the packaging have the lable ” not currently recyclable” which is there to inform customers to not dispose these packaging components with other recyclables to avoid contamination of valuable recyclable material.
The survey has helped me understand peoples prespective regarding recycling packaging as there is no point in Woolworths trying their best to protect the environment when people are not awear of the importance of recycling.Therefore it has been found that majority of the people shop at Woolworths and do recucle their packaging ,however, most of the people do not read recycling lables. As mentioned above ,parts of the packaging are labled “not currently recyclable”. Even though people migh think thattey are doing a good thing by recycling they might be causing more damage than they think.By recycling these packagings they are actually contaminating other valuable recyclable material.This emphisaise the fact that Wooolworths should highlight their recyclable packaging to customers or make it more noticeable so that customers are more easily awear.By doing this Woolworths will strengthen their efforts to ensure a less harmful effect on the environment by recycluing.
In conclusion,Woolworths ,to a large extent ,uses recycled material wherever possible and ensuresse that most of their packaging is recyclable. By doing this they are helping to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and to cut its dependence on imported oil stocks which in turn has a less harmful effect on the environment..