Sausage maker shifts to compostable packaging

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Westaways hoped its new compostable packaging would serve as inspiration for other companies to follow
Westaways hoped its new compostable packaging would serve as inspiration for other companies to follow

Related tags Packaging & labelling

Devon-based Westaways Sausages has shifted to 100% compostable packaging, reportedly the first sausage producer in the UK to do so.

Already packaged in recyclable cardboard certified by the Forestry Stewardship, its sausages will now be packed in a cling-film-style wrapping that the company claimed was 100% eco-friendly.

Commenting on the development, Westaways owner Charles Baughan said the new material – a bioplastic – would change the industry.

“In a compost heap it will fully disintegrate within six months and fully biodegrade within a further six months without leaving any microplastic traces,”​ he explained.

Research by the company

Implementation of the new wrapping followed months of research by the company, as well as the installation of new specialist equipment to incorporate the wrap into the production line.

“The example we have set changes the way we do things in the food industry, and other companies should follow our lead, which would result in the environment being freed of thousands of tons of plastic,”​ Baughan added.

“I have seen the damage plastics can do and so am passionate about doing something to make a difference. It has taken our relatively small Devon company to lead the way and develop what we hope will become an industry standard.”

Shift away from plastic

2018 saw Westaways repack all of its 400g retail packs into recyclable cardboard trays, saving 5.2 tonnes of black plastic from being produced (to date February 2020). Last year saw the producer develop a tray for its larger retail packs – by June that year all of Westaway’s retail range was black plastic-free.

Meanwhile, a new recyclable material that can be used in the same way as plastic​ has been developed by research and development company VTT.

The thermoplastic cellulose material is made using cellulose and fatty acids – two completely renewable substances. It can be used in food packaging in a similar way to plastic, due to its thermoformable properties.

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1 comment

Great idea - but how does this pack actually get recycled?

Posted by Justin Kempson,

So a cellulose plastic replacement...great. But and its a big but, how and where does this actually get 'recycled' how is it separated out? Is it a shrink film? we do not currently recycle films in the UK as we have no way of either identifying the substrate nor do we have the facilities to do so. Films make up 17% of plastics put into the market so adding a cellulose based plastic into the mix will just add to the waste.
I am all for replacement of plastics where feasible but it is not good enough to say its recyclable/biodegradeable if that never actually happens at end of life. The better thing to have done would be to come out of Black plastics to clear rPET because at least that stands a chance of being recycled.

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