Eco Guardian wins Sobeys plastic waste challenge

Sobeys announced the winner of its Plastic Waste Challenge, launched in March to challenge Canada’s industry to identify commercially viable alternatives for hard-to-recycle plastic meat and seafood trays in stores.

Eco Guardian, a Newmarket, Ontario-based retail packaging supplier, won the challenge with sugarcane and bamboo fibre packaging. Eco Guardian is a Canadian-owned business with 17 years of experience in the packaging industry.

Replacing plastics

For more than 50 years, the food industry has relied on plastic and Styrofoam to preserve food quality and freshness, transport goods locally and globally, and deliver convenience to their customers. Over the last five years, plastic food packaging has been banned or limited in many geographical regions in Canada based on environmental and regulatory pressures. the bottom line is, the continued use of plastic packaging is not sustainable.

The main objective of the challenge was to find a commercially viable packaging alternative solution for in-store wrapped seafood, meat, and in some cases, produce, to replace the current packaging which includes a Styrofoam tray, a moisture pad, and a plastic wrap.

Innovation

The company said the challenge gave it the chance to come up with an innovative solution for reducing hard-to-recycle plastics, especially in a way that consumers will notice and appreciate.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with Sobeys to engage in discussions around piloting our solution in some of Sobeys’ Nova Scotia stores. This product has been years in the making, and we are nothing but proud to see it gain the recognition it deserves,” Eco Guardian said in a statement.

Eco Guardian will receive a $25,000 cash prize from Sobeys, as well as the opportunity to engage in discussions with Sobeys around piloting the concept in select Sobeys stores in Nova Scotia, a 12-month residency package with Ignite Atlantic, and continued engagement with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

Additionally, Divert NS will contribute up to an additional $25,000 to support the launch of the potential pilot.