Iceland is set to replace some of its plastic packaging with Mondi’s functional barrier paper, which is reportedly recyclable in existing waste streams and guarantees the same shelf life as its previous packaging.

Mondi says its functional barrier paper is made from renewable materials, with the company offering a fully integrated solution where paper production and coating is managed in-house.

According to the company, the solution ensures that the paper packaging can be recycled after use. Mondi adds that paper is the most widely recycled material globally, with 83% of paper-based packaging apparently being recycled in Europe.

Additionally, Mondi claims that the functional barrier paper offers complete product protection and ensures the same shelf life as previous plastic packaging. The high stiffness of the paper reportedly means that it is puncture resistant, which can help to support an efficient filing process on existing machinery.

Falk Paulsen, sales and business development director of extrusion solutions at Mondi, comments: “Iceland has set out ambitious sustainability targets and has already made great strides in reducing plastic packaging.

“Some products need more specialised solutions to ensure consumers get safe, high-quality food. Mondi’s functional barrier paper uses a wafer-thin coating that provides all the necessary barriers to keep food fresh and can still be recycled.”

Earlier this year, Iceland began a trial of plastic-free or heavily reduced plastic packaging in 115 of its stores in the UK. The retailer’s frozen chicken dippers will be the first product to hit the shelves in Mondi’s paper-based packaging, allegedly reducing the amount of plastic used per year by 80%.

Stuart Lendrum, head of packaging, quality and food safety at Iceland, adds: “We’ve been bold in our aims to remove plastic: we were the first UK retailer to publish our plastic footprint along with our pledge to ultimately become plastic free.

“To deliver on this “Doing it Right” promise, we knew we would need the expertise of global packaging suppliers like Mondi.

“Their collaborative EcoSolutions approach meant that our teams worked together to consider all elements of the product manufacturing and delivery journey. We now have a sustainable solution that is efficient to use, protects the products and meets the expectations of our customers.”

Iceland is aiming to be the first UK supermarket to become ‘plastic neutral’ through its partnership with Seven Clean Seas, which will involve offsetting its plastic footprint by recovering and recycling nature-bound plastic in an equivalent weight to the retailer’s plastic usage. The retailer has also committed to eliminating plastic packaging from its own brand products by 2023, with the offsetting initiative focused on ‘unavoidable’ plastic use.