A Wellington-based smallgoods producer is introducing new sustainable packaging, one of only a few Kiwi food producers using new technology to reduce its environmental impact.
Harrington’s Smallgoods sausages and bacon are now available in eco-friendly packaging. Made from recycled and plant-based materials, all elements (except the soft plastic wrap that seals the trays) can be recycled - including ink on the packaging, which is a significant departure for the industry.
Angus Black, general manager of Harrington’s Smallgoods, said it’s a natural progression for the company to reduce its eco-footprint.
“All our meat comes from New Zealand farms and is free-range because we believe in making ethical products - good for the environment and good for Kiwis. Improving our packaging was the next step for us, and I’m excited to be one of only a few food companies leading the way in using this form of packaging to reduce their environmental impact,” said Angus Black.
Lawrence Olsen, managing director of Exemplar NZ, has been working with Harrington’s on its new packaging and said it’s both sustainable and environmentally friendly
“It uses materials from renewable sources (plant-based materials) and recycled plastic and is recycle-ready. In our case, this means taking plastic from trays, bottles etc. and recycling them into new trays and bottles. A full end-to-end process” said Lawrence Olsen.
Harrington’s journey toward sustainability is ongoing. Next year, the packaging will be made from 100% recycled and renewable materials. Currently, the soft plastic which seals the meat tray cannot be recycled, but a new alternative is in development, and Angus Black hopes to phase it in when it’s ready.
“While we want to divert as much waste as we can away from the landfill, food safety is paramount for us - like other food producers we will be happy to adopt new technology as it becomes available. We will keep improving as we can.
“For now, we’re excited to not only have all other elements of our packaging be recyclable but also made from recycled material, so we’re closing the loop on waste. We want to encourage other food producers to work towards this goal, so we don’t overload our landfills,” said Black.
Along with sustainable packing, the company has also rolled out the Living Wage to all of its employed staff, as part of its goal to be an ethical employer.
“We introduced the Living Wage in 2018 because we believe in investing in our people. All staff employed by Harrington’s currently receive the minimum wage of $21.15 per hour. The Living Wage is an important measure as it enables people to be active in their communities, by ensuring they earn enough to pay for their living costs - it’s also an important part of our supply chain, providing complete clarity from field to fork for Kiwis."