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Mars Wrigley makes Skittles sustainability move

18th March 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

Global candy and snack producer Mars Wrigley is the latest food giant to move towards sustainable packaging – making a start with Skittles.

The American multinational manufacturer has signed a two-year partnership with biodegradable materials specialist, Danimer Scientific, in order to develop home compostable packaging for the candy.

The company said it was starting with smaller and single packs that were more likely to be littered and typically less likely to be recycled. It expected the new wrappers to be on shelves in America in late 2021 or early 2022.

The partnership was in line with Mars Wrigley’s goal of making 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and followed a number of other food and beverage giants which have also teamed up with Danimer on sustainable packaging initiatives.

In 2019, Nestle started work with the packaging specialists to make its water bottles biodegradable, and spirits maker Bacardi was also working with Danimer as part of its pledge to bottle all its brands in 100% biodegradable plastic packaging made with plant-based oils by 2023.

The Mars Wrigley partnership would utilise Danimer’s signature packaging – Nodax® polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) – which is produced through natural fermentation processes using plant oils such as soy and canola and biodegrades in both soil and marine environments.

The companies would work together to turn the material into a flexible package, with Mars Wrigley adding that it would “continue to evaluate opportunities to scale this novel, innovative and sustainable packaging technology across its portfolio of brands and categories”.

Mars Wrigley brands include M&Ms, Skittles, Snickers and Extra. It is one of four business segments operated by the privately-owned Mars, Incorporated which has global revenue of US$37bn and employs 130,000 people.

“The aim of this collaboration is new, biodegradable packaging for various Mars Wrigley brands, starting with smaller and single packs that are more likely to be littered and typically less likely to be recycled,” the company said.

Initial development work would kick off in North America with the goal of reaching additional markets with underdeveloped recycling infrastructures and where littering and leakage into nature were especially problematic.



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