A hand reaches for an Aproz bottle on a shelf in Migros.

Packaging matters

Environmental packaging

We need to talk! About packaging. Like so many other things in life, this is not a black-and-white situation.

From
Janine Radlingmayr
Date
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What we do

Packaging can really divide opinion. What kind of packaging is necessary? What kinds of packaging damage the environment the least? What happens to them when we recycle them? Packaging can actually be sustainable in the sense that it prevents food spoilage and therefore food waste.

Our goal

Our goal is to only use packaging where it makes sense and to reuse it afterwards in a closed-loop recycling system.

Our four focus areas for making packaging more environmentally friendly:

  1. Circularity: We place an emphasis on recycled materials when designing our environmentally-friendly packaging.

  2. Reusable not single-use: Wherever it makes sense, we use reusable packaging as an alternative and expand our range of unpackaged products.

  3. Reduced material use: Our guiding principle; the lighter the packaging the more sustainable it is.

  4. Innovative packaging solutions : New materials and packaging solutions are constantly being tested.

What should packaging achieve?

Packaging a product is a science in itself. This is because every piece of packaging has to meet a wide range of requirements and is dependent on various factors.

Packaging should:

  • Protect the product (shelf life and hygiene)

  • Present information (origin, ingredients, best before date, etc.)

  • Present the product in an appealing way

  • Ensure the product is easy to transport logistically

  • Be practical to use

  • Be as environmentally friendly and recyclable as possible

  • Cost as little as possible

Migros is only satisfied if the packaging encompasses an optimal balance of all factors over its entire life cycle.

Sometimes we simply omit the packaging completely. For example, organic bananas, organic pears, organic aubergines are just a few of the products that Migros sells loose and without plastic sleeves. We also prefer to use Natural Branding labels for selected products, which replace the small plastic sticker. This means we can present our products in an even more natural way with an even clearer conscience.

Migros prevents the accumulation of plastic waste

Since 2010, we have saved 17,520 tonnes of packaging material or have optimised packaging as much as possible. In doing so, we have reduced the amount of plastic used in many cases. Wherever possible, we reduce the amount of packaging used, we use recycled materials or we package our products in a more environmentally-friendly way. What does this mean specifically? For example, we are reducing the amount of plastic in the various packaging that we use for Anna's Best & M-Classic ready meals: thanks to the thinner tray with reinforced sides, we can save a total of 20 tonnes of plastic every year.

The use of optimised packaging is not always obvious, for example, when recycled material or FSC cardboard from sustainable forestry is used.

But what does more environmentally friendly actually mean?

Environmentally friendly means that Migros

  • uses more sustainable materials, such as FSC-certified paper instead of conventional paper, or we

  • use other types of packaging, such as bags instead of cans.

Our goal: 100% sustainable paper and cardboard packaging

A very large proportion of our packaging is already certified. However, this doesn't mean we have become complacent. We are also continuing to work on converting all paper and cardboard packaging used by Migros-owned industrial companies to recycled or FSC-certified materials over the next few years.

We think about products and their packaging at the same time

To achieve maximum efficiency, Migros develops the packaging and the product concurrently when developing new products. We take the entire life cycle of the product and its packaging into account. For instance, this is how the use of Natural Branding for various fruit products came about.

We focus on life cycle assessments

When searching for optimal packaging solutions that are as environmentally friendly as possible, we work with life cycle assessments. The life cycle assessments calculated by Migros take into account the entire life cycle of the packaging, from raw material extraction to disposal. In doing so, we assess the effects on the environment, such as the environmental impact of CO2 or the acidification of soils.