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Sappi join forces with leading grocery retailer to launch sustainable food packaging solutions

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Sappi join forces with leading grocery retailer to launch sustainable food packaging solutions

October 31, 2010 - 23:46
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Oct. 27, 2010 (Press Release) -Leading grocery retailer, Pick n Pay, and South Africa's global paper group, Sappi, have joined forces to launch an eco-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags and spearheaded a new direction in food packaging.

Pick n Pay launched the paper grocery bags in September to online customers for their deliveries, and introduced them at their new flagship store in Hurlingham, Gauteng on Wednesday 20 October. The new store, which is known as Pick n Pay on Nicol, will offer not only paper grocery bags, but also a variety of paper-based packaging throughout the store. All bakery products, for instance, will be packaged in paper bags, as will all fresh produce. The delicatessen will also make use of a range of paper-based packaging made from Sappi's innovative Resilio range of papers, which are not only strong and greaseproof, but also fully recyclable.

The new packaging, which has been custom-developed to meet Pick n Pay's stringent quality standards, also represents the pioneering retailer's commitment to sustainability.

Even the new paper grocery bags have been carefully engineered to ensure that the switch to more eco-friendly options does not compromise on convenience. The new bags, which are also being tested at other pilot sites, offer shoppers a fully-recyclable and fully-biodegradable option. In addition, they hold up to 10kgs in weight, and have reinforced handles and a square bottom to ensure excellent carrying capacity and convenience.

"Paper has become accepted as a responsible packaging solution all over the world," says Silvana Dimitrov, Manager Retail and Industrial at Sappi Paper and Paper Packaging, "and South African consumers are putting pressure on retailers to offer more sustainable packaging choices too.

"That's why a great deal of the research and development done at the Sappi Technology Centre, situated at the Innovation Hub in Tshwane, is dedicated to finding ways of making paper the packaging material of the future."

This commitment has resulted in a grocery bag that is sustainably produced and fully recyclable and which meets Pick n Pay's high standards for performance, convenience and environmental integrity.

"Sappi is working with a number of leading companies to make the change to paper in the retail sector," says Dimitrov. "We're very excited to have partnered with Pick n Pay to bring paper packaging into grocery retailing in a such a significant way. Sappi's investment in local Research and Development and production capacity allows us to work closely with retailers and their packaging suppliers to develop tailor-made solutions which meet the needs of both the business and its customers."

But, of course, not all paper is created equal, which is why Pick n Pay chose to partner with Sappi to launch this initiative. After all, consumers looking for food-safe, convenient and environmentally-sound paper packaging choices want to know that the paper they choose has a solid, reliable pedigree.

"During the development process, Pick n Pay and Sappi addressed such issues as sustainability, the environmental impact of paper, recycling capability, biodegradability and the use of renewable energy," says Pick n Pay's Director for Sustainable Development, Bronwen Rohland. "Sappi's governance protocols make us confident that the change to paper packaging at Pick n Pay on Nicol is a significant step towards a more sustainable way of doing business."

"Sappi and Pick n Pay share a common commitment to sustainability and are proud to be working together to introduce this ground-breaking new approach to food packaging into the local market," says Dimitrov.

"Together, we are working to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, and we hope that Pick n Pay shoppers will lead the change in South Africa to paper packaging that is sustainably produced, reusable, recyclable, biodegradable and earth-friendly."