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Even with 98% of WK Kellogg Co packaging already recyclable or recycle ready, the company continues to maximize sustainability.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

February 29, 2024

3 Min Read

At a Glance

  • 98% of WK Kellogg Co packaging is recyclable or recycle ready
  • Recyclable packaging includes stand-up pouches of granola and large cereal bags
  • Marketing campaigns center on helping consumers to recycle

How can a new company be one that’s been trusted by generations?

Consider the newly named WK Kellogg Co, spun off from the cereal division of the Kellogg Company (itself renamed Kellanova) in October 2023.

What’s not changed is that the pioneering cereal company remains steadfast to improve the sustainability of its packaging.

That’s no small feat: Today, 98% of the brand’s packaging is recyclable or recycle-ready per US standard as measured by metric tons against sales. That’s an very good percentage, the advantage of a product portfolio that’s primarily bag-in-paperboard boxes of cereal. However, the company's packaging mix also includes stand-up pouches and family-size bags of cereal.

Along with the added option of leveraging reusable packaging, the company intends to push sustainability further and deeper.

“We plan to continue to be above this level moving forward and integrate designing this into our projects for the future,” Sarah Ludmer, chief wellbeing & sustainable business officer, tells us. “This is across our full portfolio and network.”

In the words of Frosted Flakes’ mascot Tony the Tiger, that would be gr-r-reat!

We learn more about the brand owner’s sustainable packaging plans in this exclusive interview with Ludmer.

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How important is packaging’s role within the broader umbrella of “sustainability”?

Ludmer: Packaging is essential for our portfolio and a key element of our impact. We know not only is it important to create packaging that can be recycled but also strive to incorporate more recycled materials into our packaging. Additionally, we are focused on helping consumers recycle. 

Is there a single person championing packaging sustainability at the company?

Ludmer: Everyone has a role to play in ensuring we maintain our goal, but we do have a strong technical expert at the lead overseeing the strategy and program. 

Are essentially all of the brand’s products packaged cereal or what if not? 

Ludmer: In addition to packaged cereal, we also have some small snacking pouches and cups as part of WK Kellogg Co’s product packaging mix.

Can you share any successes that helped the company’s packaging reach the 98% recycled level?

Ludmer: We also are a leader in having store drop-off materials for our granola bag packaging (see Kellogg’s Develops Recyclable Cereal Pouch, shown below).

We led this initiative more than seven years ago and that continues to be one of our granola brand attributes, in which we lead in this space among peers.

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Also, in the last three years we were first to market with large bag cereals — specifically pillow packs with reclosure — to be recycle-ready. 

We have granola pouches that are also recycle-ready.  We do have a small business in snack pouches that are not recycle-ready, but this is an opportunity for future work. 

What about recycling the bags from boxed cereals?

Ludmer: Yes, these bags are already recyclable ready. This past year, we partnered with retailer Albertson’s to promote store drop-off of cereal bags using our beloved characters to engage the consumers.  We have also helped promote awareness with our retailers online.

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Does the company have any interest in bioplastics?

Ludmer: Plastics are a very small percentage of our packaging footprint. 

What can you tell us about your secondary packaging?

Ludmer: Most of the secondary packaging consists of recyclable corrugated boxes. We have reduced material in our corrugated and will continue to monitor this area of our packaging footprint. We have invested in programs that improve shipping efficiencies and reduce packaging damage. 

Anything else to comment on, especially that’s not apparent?

Ludmer: We have partnered with Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and How2Recycle for many years.  We carry their logos on our packaging to continue to encourage consumer behavior.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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