Sustainability is a journey. It’s not a project with a beginning and an end, but a constantly evolving process. We love our planet over here at Kashi, and we are motivated to do whatever we can to make our own impact a little less. That’s one of the reasons we have been researching our packaging for some time. In fact, Shannon Moore -- Lead Packaging Engineer at Kashi -- travels the globe looking to find innovative solutions for packaging that will carry a lighter footprint.
We sat down with Shannon after her most recent trip to find out where we are on our path to greater sustainability. Here’s what she had to say.
What is Kashi doing to move toward more sustainable packaging?
In October 2018 we signed to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This incredible foundation pushes for a more circular economy globally and “works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.” We are now committed to have 100% of our packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.
Where do you stand on those goals today?
Well, our cereal boxes and snack bar boxes have been curbside recyclable for years. The biggest challenge is the film packaging. We used to partner with Terracycle on our film packaging but we were looking for something that was more consumer friendly. We understand that consumers need convenience, so we are looking for a better solution. Kashi is working with the group How2Recycle -- “a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public. It involves a coalition of forward thinking brands who want their packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through smart packaging labels.” We were one of the first companies to do that in the food space.
What are the greatest challenges to finding truly sustainable solutions?
Firstly, we always want to make sure we don’t create a food waste problem. When you change to more sustainable packaging, you want to ensure you are not risking creating more food waste. Then there’s the issue of getting new packaging to be produced efficiently in the manufacturing plant so we don’t cause waste or scrap issues.
We also need to make sure we are looking at any new packaging innovations from a full 360 angle… For example, what is the greenhouse impact of using a particular material?” And “Is it really compostable?”
Finally, any new technology has to work within the recycling stream where people live. It’s not enough for us to simply create something more sustainable -- we want to hear it is truly being recycled!
How is Kashi overcoming those challenges?
We had to make sure we were deploying a collaborative spirit. Traditionally, you’d go to a packing supplier and tell them what we need. But because the technology we believe we need doesn’t really exist, we are partnering with a range of suppliers to develop these technologies. I go to every test personally to see if it stands up to our brand’s demands. Ultimately, we want to find solutions that work for our planet but also work with people’s everyday lives. We believe that that is how we will achieve our most successful outcomes!