Responsibility is vital for the environment

A healthy environment is an essential element of sustainable development. This goes beyond individual companies, which is why HARIBO wants to do its part.

Blue electric car with HARIBO branding at charging station
Blue electric car with HARIBO branding at charging station

Environmental and climate challenges are growing. At the same time, an intact environment is an absolute must for future development, which is why HARIBO takes environmental responsibility so seriously.

For us it’s primarily an issue of packaging: How should our packaging be produced to ensure the optimal quality of our products? Which food safety requirements need to be fulfilled? How do we do this while minimizing the use of resources? How do we increase the recyclability of our packaging materials even further? And are there any alternatives in terms of materials or technologies?

Packaging – just the right amount of protection and materials

Packaging for safety and security

The most important thing that food packaging has to do is to protect its contents. This is where stringent legal requirements such as the EU’s Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 come into play. The packaging has to protect its contents from contamination and spoiling. It also improves transport options and extends the shelf life without compromising the quality, thus helping to reduce food wastage. This is also important, as it generally takes many more resources to produce food products than it does to manufacture their packaging.

Packaging at HARIBO

At HARIBO we pay great attention to our packaging. We generally use monomaterial packaging, made solely from polypropylene (PP). This plastic is generally easy to recycle – provided that appropriate disposal structures and processes are available and used. Composite materials, which are more difficult to recycle, and multipack packaging are an absolute exception at HARIBO. At present, more than 90 percent of all HARIBO product packaging can be recycled, which has been certified by the renowned cyclos-HTP testing institute.

In 2019 we examined the weight ratio between the content and packaging in our own study on the 100 best-selling sweets and snack items in Germany (based on Nielsen for the year 2018*) – for the sake of comparison, always in reference to 1,000 grams of filling. The results showed that, with their reduced packaging, all five HARIBO products took top places among the 100 best-sellers. Our products performed well even in terms of the recyclability of the packaging: the five HARIBO products listed were 100 percent recyclable.

* Private labels were not listed by name in the Nielsen ranking. The calculations thus refer to the 76 products mentioned by name of the top 100.

Packaging and recycling

Recovering the raw materials used in an effort to close material cycles is one of the key methods for minimizing resource and energy consumption. This cycle principle requires two things:

  • A functional waste management system (as in Germany)
  • Recyclable materials such as our packaging also need to reach the disposal company pre-sorted, so that they can be separated from each other and fed into the actual recycling process.

The quality of recovered raw materials (known as recyclates) as starting materials is improving all the time. But in the stringently regulated food packaging segment, they have already reached their limits. This applies, for example, to impurities that need to be avoided during the recycling process – the disposal company has to properly separate the materials according to variety, otherwise the recyclate cannot be used for food packaging.

Disposal structures are still insufficient in many countries around the world, representing a major challenge for recycling. Without structures like these, recyclable packaging materials cannot be recycled.

Further development of our packaging

We always strive to improve our packaging, pursuing the following three approaches, in particular:

  • Reducing packaging
  • Further improvements in recyclability (design for recycling)
  • Alternative materials

Opinions regarding the degree to which packaging made from paper or bioplastics could be used as an alternative vary just as widely as those regarding bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as a whole. Even environmental organizations themselves have come to the conclusion that the environmental impact of these packaging materials – based on the current state of science and technology – is generally no lower than that of petroleum-based packaging materials, when viewed from an overall environmental perspective.

We will, however, actively follow technological developments in this area, continue to assess potential applications and test promising opportunities for success.