Mars Wrigley To Create Biodegradable Wrappers For Its Candy Brand Skittles

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In partnership with Danimer Scientific, confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has announced that by early 2021, its world-famous Skittles candy will be sold in biodegradable wrappers.

U.S.-based multinational manufacturer of chocolates and sweets Mars Wrigley has joined forces with Danimer Scientific, a developer, and manufacturer of biodegradable materials, for a two-year partnership that will see the development of home compostable packaging for the their candy brand Skittles.

Danimer Scientific has developed a biodegradable packaging called Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) made entirely out of natural materials, meaning it is produced through natural fermentation processes that make use of plant oils like soy and canola, which are soil as well as marine- friendly.

This circular material serves as a sustainable alternative to conventional petrochemical plastic and is also renewably sourced, thus eliminating all waste.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, Mars Wrigley VP of Global Sustainability, Alastair Child, said that the impact of plastic on nature is one of the major sustainability challenges of our generation. “There are no simple solutions and transformational innovation is necessary, we have to think and act differently. Collaborating with Danimer to advance this breakthrough technology represents a major step to creating positive societal impact and better environmental outcomes across the full lifecycle of small, flexible packaging.”

Natural resins produced by Danimer to develop products that are biodegradable, replacing plastics made with petrochemicals. Source: Danimer Scientific

The impact of plastic on nature is one of the major sustainability challenges of our generation. Collaborating with Danimer to advance a solution that uses breakthrough technology represents a major step to creating positive societal impact and better environmental outcomes across the full lifecycle of small, flexible packaging

Alastair Child, Mars Wrigley VP of Global Sustainability

This new announcement is in line with Mars Wrigley’s US$1B Sustainable in a Generation Plan, in which the company committs to convert all its packaging into circular materials, meaning that by 2025, it aims to make 100% of its packaging – reusable, recyclable or compostable.

CEO at Danimer Scientific, Stephen Croskrey, said: “Expectations for sustainable packaging vary from market to market, making it essential for new materials to be adaptable in meeting different standards without sacrificing quality. PHA provides a versatile platform for manufacturing material that is renewably sourced and leaves a minimal impact on the environment upon disposal. We look forward to working with Mars Wrigley in fighting the global crisis of plastic waste.”

The initial development will kick off in North America and if successful will expand to all of Mars Wrigley’s plastic-wrapped confections, and can also be embraced by other CPG companies that are dependent on flexible plastic packaging. 

In the past, Danimer Scientific has worked with Nestlé to make its water bottles biodegradable, as well as with Bacardi and QSR supplier Eagle Beverage to make biodegradable plastic straws. To further its mission, the company hired PepsiCo packaging veteran Brad Rodgers as its new vice president of technology development R&D.

As consumers become increasingly aware about the consequences that plastics have on the environment, several companies are looking for innovative ways to help this change and reduce plastic pollution.

For instance, recently, New York City-based cult favourite burger restaurant Shake Shack joined forces with Restore Foodware to announce a pilot of sustainable AirCarbon cutlery and straws across the U.S.

In the beauty industry, to slash more than 120 billion packaging units produced globally every year annually within this sector, beauty retail giant Ulta Beauty partnered with circular packaging service startup Loop to offer customers all its cosmetic products in reusable and refillable packaging that includes the use of aluminum as well as glass bottles.

On a larger scale, French beauty and skincare brand, L’Occitane en Provence opened its first eco-friendly themed storefront in Hong Kong that provides shoppers the brand’s select low-waste range with refill options, a take-back program to recycle empty bottles, green workshops and projects co-hosted with local environmental charities and more. 

A number of CPG and retail giants are jumping on this bandwagon, like news of retail behemoth Carrefour collaborating with the Loop to offer reusable and returnable packaging to consumers thus promoting a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle.


Lead image courtesy of Danimer Scientific.


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