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Suma food blazes a trail in green packaging

Suma Foods of Elland in West Yorkshire has been wholesaling wholefoods, eco-friendly products and fair trade goods for over three decades and in that time has introduced a number of products which are now accepted as the norm in mainstream grocery.1 April sees them introducing another innovation previously unseen in the UK food market.

A recent repackaging exercise led to developments that could fundamentally change recycling in flexible food packaging. “We discovered, through one of our commercial partners, that the same technology that can recycle plastic bottles into more plastic bottles could conceivably be applied to flexible food packaging2 like bags of fruit or nuts” says Andrew Mackintosh Suma’s PR manager “not only is the carbon footprint of the process lower than any other packaging medium 3, but it also means that the packaging itself is 100% recyclable”.

Britain creates over 3 million tonnes of plastic waste each year with an estimated 56% of all plastics waste being used packaging, three-quarters of which is from households. It is estimated that only 7% of total plastic waste is currently being recycled.4

From April 2010 the full range of Sumas packaged dried fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and snacks will be in this recycled and fully recyclable packaging, representing over 250 product lines.

“Our customers trust us to make ethical decisions on their behalf” said Mackintosh “and we are confident that this form of packaging has the potential to make a great deal of difference environmentally”.

For further information:
Customer Support: 01422 313843 or support@suma.co.uk

1. First to UK market with:
• Vegan margarine
• 100% Recycled Paper Toilet Rolls and Kitchen Towels
• Organic Canned Tomatoes
• Organic Canned Soups
• Organic Canned Beans
• Organic Fairly Traded Canned Beans
Voted The Grocer magazines inaugural Specialty Wholesaler of the Year

2. rPET stands for recycled PET, the bottles that we are all familiar with used for water and soft drinks. PET is Polyethylene terephthalate, a member of the polyester family, which most people don’t realize. What has always been the case is that PET is the same chemistry as polyester. The difference is that a PET bottle is moulded and polyester is a fibre. So in most respects PET and Polyester are synonymous.
When anyone puts a bottle in the recycle bin, it may go back through the recycle process to become a bottle, or it may become a polyester fibre of some kind or in this case Suma packaging . It may come back all kinds of forms. Polyester is tremendously strong, inherently water resistant, and pretty much totally colour fast. Additionally, polyester is found in tyres, ropes, conveyor belts, safety belts and lots of industrial applications.
Any one of these applications could have rPET origins, but, most don’t. What makes rPET fascinating is how much energy is saved in production and of course, it consumes what would otherwise go to landfill, the bottle. So when you see something labelled as rPET, rest assured that it is a recycled material.

3. David Morris of the International Rayon and Synthetic Fibres Industry (www.cirfs.org) a European membership organization that does the homework for the synthetic fibres industry, there is no other organization pursuing this kind of question.
These are the comparative measure of the kg (that’s kilograms) of CO2 emissions per kg of fibre for the following materials:
• Nylon 9
• Cotton 6
• Polyester 4
• Organic Cotton 2
• Wool 2
• PLA 2
• rPET polyester less than 1

4. Source: Analysis of household waste composition and factors driving waste increases – Dr. J. Parfitt, see www.wasteonline.org.uk for further information.

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