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The end of the tin can as Sainsbury's pioneer non-metal 'green' alternative


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The end of the tin can as Sainsbury's pioneer non-metal 'green' alternative


By SEAN POULTER - More by this author » Last updated at 21:39pm on 9th December 2007 commentIconSm.gif Comments (1)

canDM0912_228x316.jpgOn the way out? The £1.7million industry is under threat


A supermarket is to replace some of its tin cans with cardboard cartons in a green-friendly initiative. The packs, which are made from wood pulp, will help reduce Sainsbury's carbon emissions by cutting down on transport costs.

They are two-thirds lighter than metal canisters and more can be loaded on to a single lorry because they are rectangular rather than round.

Manufactured by Tetra Pak, the cartons will initially be used for Sainsbury's own-label chopped tomatoes.

The chain expects to be using the Recart packs for tinned fruit and a host of other products within five years.

The carton will save on recycling costs because, when crushed, it takes up a ninth of the space of equivalent cans and jars.

Peter Knutsson of Tetra Pak said the packs will use wood from sources certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury's packaging manager, said: "The launch of this type of packaging is another world first.

"It combines the benefits of lighter and recyclable Tetra Pak packaging with the use of FSC-certified material.

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"This will make it more efficient for us to transport to our stores and much easier for our customers to carry home."

Tetra Pak, which is more usually associated with milk and juice cartonsrecently branched out into wine containers.

It is conducting trials on an octagonal cardboard container for some of the wines produced by Australia's Banrock Station.

The packs are 20 per cent lighter than bottles despite holding 33 per cent more wine.

The switch to Tetra Pak has been helped by the fact that 70 per cent of councils now have the technology to recycle the firm's products. Heinz has also started shipping some of its products, including baked beans and soup, in cartons that can be put in the microwave.

Ambrosia, meanwhile, sells its custards and rice puddings in cartons as well as cans.

The shift toward cardboard packaging makes economic sense for supermarkets because soaring steel prices - driven be demand in China and India - have pushed up the price of metal cans.

Steve Thomas, of industry body Canned Food UK, insisted manufacturers were facing up to the challenge from new packaging products and changing consumer tastes.

"Tinned foods are still an essential part of our weekly shop," he said.

The annual turnover of the industry is put at £1.7billion.

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