The humble egg box is set to receive a green makeover this weekend at Waitrose, with the launch of new packaging made from ryegrass.
In a UK first, the eggs in the Waitrose Duchy Organic range will now be packaged in boxes made from equal amounts of rye grass and recycled paper.
Waitrose predict the switch will save 77 tonnes of wood/recycled paper per year.
While the technology is still very new, it is planned to extend the packaging to other egg boxes in the Waitrose range. It has been developed with the company’s egg supplier Stonegate and packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki.
The new green-coloured packaging will protect its contents like a traditional egg box, but uses 60% less water during production and release 10% less Co2 compared to a standard pulp egg box. It is also 100% recyclable.
“We often take the humble egg box for granted as it reliably keeps your eggs intact until you’re ready to crack them open,” said Waitrose egg buyer Frances Westerman.
“While we’ve found no better way for safely getting eggs to your kitchen table, we’re always looking at way we can use less packaging and more sustainable materials to ensure that we minimise our impact on the environment.”
Waitrose is not the first retailer to go green with egg packaging. Last year, Tesco converted all of its own-label free-range egg lines from pulp carton to new eco-friendly plastic packaging.
A Waitrose spokesman added: “We’re continually going through our ranges to reduce packaging. We announced in 2013 that we were looking to halve our packaging by 2016 (compared to 2005 levels).
“We’re on track to doing this and have achieved this through redesigning packaging in a number of areas.”
This includes products like beef mince and cubes that now have flow-wrap packaging, which reduces packaging by half.
Smoked salmon packaging has also been reduced by 50% while the grocer has also introduced new wine bottles made from 60% recycled glass, which delivers a 30% reduction in weight.