How our food is packaged has huge consequences for the environment, both in the production of the materials and the risk they pose of leaking into nature.
We need to see a shift away from single use packaging, as part of a shift to a circular economy focused on reducing, reusing and recycling packaging.
We need packaging materials, from production through to disposal, to have minimal impact on the environment. Several WWF Basket metrics have been set out to track this.
WWF Basket - Key Metrics for Packaging
What is the target?
Firstly, the WWF Basket tracks data on the removal of own-label packaging, measured by unit. This is because, whatever material is used to package an item, it will have an environmental impact, so it is important to keep a focus on overall removal wherever possible. Moving away from single-use packaging towards reusable, refillable packaging systems will play a key role in driving down single-use packaging.
The WWF Basket also tracks data on the percentage of own-label packaging that is recyclable, by weight, with the ambition that 100% of this packaging is recyclable by 2025. This is because packaging needs to be recyclable so it can have another life as part of a circular economy and avoid ending up in landfill, incineration or in the environment.
In addition, the WWF Basket tracks the percentage of packaging that’s recycled or sustainably sourced. We have identified this metric because of the need to move to a more circular economy, so packaging materials should contain as much recycled content as possible, to drive down the use of virgin materials. Where available, materials should be sustainably sourced to independently verified standards.
You can find out the latest WWF Basket data on packaging in our 2023 report, What's in Store for the Planet: the Impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature - 2023.
You can find out more about the WWF Basket ambition for packaging in the Blueprint for Action and WWF Basket Outcomes and Measures.
What's in Store for the Planet: The impact of UK Shopping Baskets on Climate and Nature 2023
WWF’s Work on Packaging
Since the launch of the Basket Metric and the Retailers’ Commitment for nature, WWF has worked with retailers to highlight the global supply chain impacts of all packaging materials. We have also worked to ensure retailers start to consider the removal of single-use packaging, regardless of material, and highlighted the need for a shift towards reusable, refillable packaging systems.