Carbon, Packaging Compliance

itsu have been a loyal member of Comply Direct’s packaging compliance scheme since 2014 & we are thrilled to have worked on a packaging optimisation project with them beyond compliance

Here is how we supported Asian-inspired food brand itsu with optimising their food packaging and reducing its environmental impact by making the switch to a recyclable material.

The challenge

itsu approached Comply Direct for support and advice with their decision making process about switching from a hard to recycle mixed plastic food packaging film, to a recyclable mono-material. It was paramount for itsu to understand the environmental impact of this change, therefore, they needed Comply Direct to assess the material’s recyclability, compatibility with recycling streams, carbon impact and any effects of upcoming legislative changes to the new plastic polymer type, in order to ensure enough benefit and enable itsu to make an informed decision. itsu are an Asian-inspired food brand, first established in 1997 with their London, Chelsea restaurant, subsequently growing to over 75 locations across the UK and internationally. itsu have been a member of Comply Direct’s packaging compliance scheme since 2014, meaning our current, in-depth knowledge of their packaging flows allowed us to effectively work with itsu on this project and ensure maximum benefit in line with their packaging optimisation goals.

The solution

A life-cycle assessment was completed: We utilised a UK wide life-cycle approach to measuring the environmental impact of the new proposed plastic packaging type, considering emissions from a range of greenhouse gases (converted into CO2e) associated with extraction of raw materials, processing, manufacture, transport, sortation and disposal. Using the carbon metric instead of weight we get a more complete picture of the carbon impacts of waste. Recyclability was assessed: We exploited a recyclability methodology developed by RecyClass which is an EU recognised value chain platform based on a scientific approach to thoroughly assess the performance of both types of packaging. This tool supports better design for plastics recycling. Legislative impact analysis was carried out: We identified the key core regulatory changes on the horizon which itsu shuld consider when looking at packaging material changes and provided a compliance cost analysis covering packaging recovery note (PRN) and Plastic Packaging Tax costs, showing the comparison between the current packaging type and the proposed recyclable option.

The results

itsu were ultimately able to implement the change to a recyclable plastic material for their food packaging as a result of Comply Direct’s assessments and support. It was found that there were significant carbon benefits to using a recyclable film in the UK, the general recyclability of the new proposed material was categorised considerably higher in comparison to the previous material, the overall compliance cost impact was minimal against the more significant benefits and there were multiple competitive, public relations and reputational benefits to making the material switch.

itsu's thoughts

“Comply Direct were instrumental to this project and the switch to a more sustainable solution. Their expert advice was invaluable to make the right decision both for the environment and the business.” In response to completing our part of itsu’s packaging optimisation project, they commented on their overall experience of our service and expertise: “Professional, quick and detailed advice provided; always willing to delve deeper to fully scope out all queries.”