Less is more
The packaging material used for chocolate contributes very little to the product’s environmental footprint. Nevertheless, Chocolats Halba reduces the amount of packaging used wherever possible, recommends more environmentally friendly packaging to customers and is on the look-out for innovative new solutions.
Many consumers look at a product’s outer covering when they are assessing how environmentally friendly it is. But extensive scientific studies show that packaging is far less harmful to the environment than the product itself. For instance, the packaging material adds just five to 10 percent to a chocolate bar’s environmental footprint.
Paper from sustainable forestry
Nevertheless, Chocolats Halba is working to environmentally optimize packaging and is constantly testing out new materials. In 2011, Chocolats Halba teamed up with an environmental consultancy institute to investigate all its packaging material using the “Environmental Impact Score” method developed by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), and implemented the resulting findings step by step.
Since packaging has to fulfil a wide range of requirements and, most im- portantly, must prove its worth in practice, the most environmentally friendly materials are not always used. And because Chocolats Halba also produces lots of products for retail brands, it only has a limited influence on the packaging its business customers use.
To minimize the environmental impact of packaging, Chocolats Halba has – since 2012 – used bar wrappers and cardboard packaging made entirely from material manufactured from FSC-certified timber. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that campaigns for sustainable forestry around the globe.
Aluminum foil with a high recycled content
Whereas a practical solution has been found for paper, the search for environmentally sound alternatives to conventional aluminum foil is proving considerably more difficult. Aluminum foil is traditionally used for chocolate wrappers because it has outstanding barrier properties and is easy to shape and reseal.
Unfortunately, aluminum production has a very large environmental footprint. Mining the raw materials and processing them creates pollutants and toxic residues, and the manufacturing process requires a largea mount of energy.
However, aluminum can be fully recycled with very little effort. The aluminum foil that Chocolats Halba uses generally contains around 50 percent recycled aluminum, which improves the environmental footprint of the packaging considerably.
OPP instead of aluminum
OPP film is a relatively new packaging material. It is a plastic film made from polypropylene that is stretched during the manufacturing process to achieve particular properties. OPP is currently one of the most environmentally friendly plastics available. Chocolats Halba always makes its customers aware of these alternatives during sales and consultancy discussions.
Chocolats Halba is also constantly scouring the market for promising innovative materials. It keeps a particularly close eye on the situation regarding renewable raw materials that could be used in sustainable packaging solutions. However, there are no satisfactory solutions available at present. For instance, film made from corn starch generates high levels of environmental pollution and competes with food production. Experience to date also shows that its composting properties do not live up to expectations.