A company from the heart of Devon is celebrating after winning Innovation of the Year at the 2020 UK Packaging Awards for its unique eco-friendly packaging. Furthermore, Newton Abbot based Westaways sausages has been shortlisted as one of five finalists – including four goliaths of pork, beef and poultry processing in the UK – for the Meat, Poultry and Seafood Manufacturing Company of the Year in the Food Manufacturer Excellence Awards. This major award will be announced next February.
Managing Director Charles Baughan said: “We knew we were doing the right thing in challenging the need for producers to use plastic trays wrapped in films that cannot easily be recycled. There are over 400 million packs of meat products sold in the UK every year packed this way. I hope this ground-breaking innovation by our small team will challenge the whole sector. Here in South West England we live in a wonderful part of the world, and we know that packaging does not always end up where it should, we feel strongly that doing nothing is not an option.”
To create their certified compostable packaging, Westaways spent three years trialling materials to replace the plastic tray. This led to them using a card tray and sleeve made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. The film overwrap came by Westaways working closely with Fabbri Group, creators of Nature Fresh, the world’s first bioplastic compostable cling film made for automatic packaging worldwide. All the packaging, including the cling film, can be put in your food waste bin or can be home composted where it will convert into CO2, water, and biomass, ready to spread on your vegetable patch.
Mr Baughan said: “Plastic is an incredible material, but it has a legacy that we can no longer ignore. We must all make changes; our changes will help others to change. Walk down a meat or dairy aisle in any supermarket, and you will see that just about every product is wrapped in plastic. Plastic film, including cling film, makes up roughly a third of all the plastic packaging used in the UK each year and the majority ends up in landfill. Our wrapping is different. It is a compostable bioplastic that will fully disintegrate without leaving any microplastic traces.”
Mr Baughan added: “Large corporations and supermarket chains have had the same opportunity to do something about the problem. Why has it taken our relatively small Devon company to lead the way in the UK and develop what we hope will become an industry standard?”
For more information about Westaways, visit www.westawaysausages.com.