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Recyclable Mono-Material Snickers Bar Packaging Debuts

A healthier, low-glycemic formula candy bar wrapped in a mono-material polypropylene film that adheres to “Designed for Recycling” guidelines is healthier for the environment.

Rick Lingle

December 27, 2023

2 Min Read
Mars China

Improving the sustainability of flexible packaging films, pouches, and other formats in the packaged food category starts with a first step away from nonrecyclable multilayer barrier films.

That improvement often means a switch to a recyclable mono-material film, which Mars China has taken in announcing this month the launch of a dark chocolate cereal Snickers bar.

It is claimed to be a significant step towards sustainable packaging using a mono-material polypropylene (PP) that follows "Designed For Recycling" guidance and “can be easily recycled in designated channels”.

Available in select outlets, the new healthier-for-the-environment packaging matches the heathier-for-you, low-sugar, low-glycemic index snack.

The release points out that flexible packaging for food products typically consists of multiple layers of different materials to meet food safety and shelf-life requirements while being lightweight and flexible. However, the complex structure and materials make it challenging, if not unrealistic, to recycle.

In contrast, mono-material flexible packaging using single-polymer PP or polyethylene (PE) packaging is easier to recycle.

The "Flexible Plastics Reborn" project.

To address the challenges of flexible plastic packaging collection and recycling, Mars China partnered with the Green Recycled Plastic Supply Chain Joint Working Group (GRPG), China Plastic Recycling Association of China National Resources Recycling Association (CRPA), P&G, PepsiCo, and Dow to initiate the "Flexible Plastics Reborn" project.

This joint effort in China explores a sustainable flexible plastic packaging collection and closed-loop recycling system by addressing design, collection, and recycling challenges. The mono-material flexible packaging of the new Snicker’s dark chocolate cereal bar is specifically designed for the recycling requirements of the "Flexible Plastics Reborn" project.

After use, consumers can collect and drop mono-film packaging like this at designated collection points covered by the "Flexible Plastics Reborn" project.

Box sustainability and improved packaging quality.

The brand has taken a more holistic approach to the product’s sustainability by ensuring the candy bars’ secondary box packaging for multiple bars uses paper material certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which supports sustainable forest management.

The brand owner also bolstered quality assurance for the new packaging by implementing more comprehensive validation and quality standards to ensure the Snickers packaging materials meet food safety requirements for product protection.

It’s one of several avenues global brand owner Mars is pursuing to avoid metallized multilayer flexible substrates; in May 2023 it was revealed that Mars Wrigley UK was piloting recyclable paper wraps for Mars Bars.

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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