SOUTH AFRICA – Consumer packaged goods firm, Libstar has invested in its Precious Plant packaging range along with other biodegradable and compostable products, to reduce waste and contribute to the circular economy.

The investment is in response to a report by the Industrial research organization Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, which revealed that 45% of the available food supply in South Africa is lost or wasted.

The report goes on to state that about 49% of that waste happens in the processing and packaging stage of the value chain.

According to Derek Couzens, Commercial Executive of Rialto (Libstar group member), the company now has over 120 and counting, enviro-friendly packaging products having started off with just five biodegradable and compostable products in 2018.

“By the end of the year, we are aiming for 40% of all our Food Service packaging to be entirely sustainable, either recyclable, biodegradable or compostable,” stated Couzens.

“That is essential if we are to do our part in being responsible corporate citizens.”

The firm is shifting its packaging into a circular economy model designed to be recycled, used as compost or reused repeatedly.

“Being environmentally ethical is not just the right thing to do, it is also an ultimate sustainable value-add to one’s business and business partners,” he added.

For example, the push for creating circular economies has fuelled the use of bagasse, a waste product of sugarcane, as a sustainable packaging solution, says Couzens.

Couzens also adds that consumption choices have also given the company a push to have more sustainable products in its portfolio.

“Companies that fail to take sustainability seriously will have a hard task attracting the customers of the future,” Couzens explains.

As things stand, recycling is one of the best practical examples of what circular economies could look like.

To contribute to reducing waste and increasing recovery, as well as the recycling and reusing of materials in the South African market, extended producer responsibility fees were introduced locally in November 2021.

In Europe, large portions of waste are either incinerated or exported and therefore the region has a lower recycling rate compared to South Africa where very little waste is incinerated.

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