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Packaging firm thinks 'inside the box' following supermarket's pledge to ditch plastic

An award winning global packaging company based in Nottingham has said it is ready to cope with an increased demand for cardboard and paper food packaging after supermarket giant Iceland announced plans to phase plastic out completely by 2023.

The Wilkins Group, which manufactures food packaging for a number of UK supermarket chains, said it already has the facilities to produce the latest innovative cardboard food packaging on mass.

Earlier this week Iceland announced plans to use recyclable paper and pulp trays instead of plastic for its new food range. The move comes as concerns grow about the effects that plastic has on the environment, in particular the danger it poses to marine life, as highlighted on BBC’s Blue Planet. Eight million tonnes of plastic make their way into the oceans each year, and an area the size of France has formed in the Pacific Ocean.

Justin Wilkins, sales director at The Wilkins Group, which won the international trade award at the Midlands Family Business Awards, said:  “We are well placed and fully capable of producing cardboard food packaging. We have produced millions of cartons over the years.

“We already have the machines ready to go.”

The cardboard and paper packaging, some of which boasts the very latest innovative design, can be microwaved and put in the oven.

The company, which has hubs in Sri Lanka, China, Romania, India and Bangladesh, has already been working with a supplier to create a transparent paper lid and is ‘looking at options’ including a possible press form tray.

Justin added: “The challenge with cardboard is the cost, plastic is cheaper to make. Despite this, the benefits are that you can print onto cardboard and the packaging can come ready assembled in one piece, rather than in multiple layers.

“Other benefits are that it looks smart. It can also deal with very high temperatures, of up to 260 degrees if required utilising a patented system of ours".

“Plastic is a problem because a lot of it is single use, like coffee cups, so it is undoubtedly a wasteful form of packaging, but plastic does have a place, it’s got to, in the overall scheme of things. But will it be as prominent in the future as it is at the minute? Probably not.”

He compared the shift to sandwich packaging, which used to be plastic before the current cardboard containers. 

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