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Heinz could save 30,000 tonnes a year

Baked Bean giant HJ Heinz is to pioneer a new light weight can that could eventually reduce UK household waste by up to 30,000 tonnes a year.

The company has produced a container with an end thickness of just 0.18mm and intends to convert its entire range of 200g and 400g cans in a move that will eliminate 1,400 tonnes of food waste annually.

With £250,000 from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)’s Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund, the can was developed by Impress Group BV from steel supplied by Corus.

Heinz capital engineering department manager Phil Crompton said: “At Heinz, we are committed to improving resource efficiency and through working with WRAP and our suppliers we are delighted to have achieved ‘best in class’ status with our new easy open can-ends.”

“This sets a new benchmark for the sector and by sharing the challenges in adopting the new ends with colleagues in the canning industry, we are sure that others will soon follow.”

The can has been trialled at Heinz’s can-making and filling factory at Kitt Green in Lancashire, the biggest of its type in Europe that produces over a billion cans annually.

Project partners will now work together to develop and trial lighter can bodies, in a move that if equally successful will reduce household waste by up to 28,000 tonnes a year.

WRAP Innovation Fund manager Mike Robey said: “This successful project will help to reduce the amount of household waste we generate in the UK. Ultimately, investing in innovations to reduce waste before it is created represents a more efficient and sustainable approach to resource use.”

The WRAP fund was launched in November 2004 and has received widespread support from within the industry, providing 28 projects with £4.2 million. If trials prove successful and findings are taken up across the sector, it has the potential to deliver a reduction of over 500,000 tonnes in household waste.

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