Rhug Estate has today announced it is to remove some single-use packaging from its shelves and stock sweets in compostable packaging – a first in the industry from confectionery manufacturer Calico Cottage.

From today, in partnership with Calico’s new brand The Cambridge Confectionery Company, Rhug Estate farm shop in Corwen, Denbighshire, will start to phase in impulse bags of sweets which are wrapped in compostable and transparent packaging, which breaks down and disappears in soil.

Regular biodegradable bags can take decades to degrade and can leave a residue in the soil, according to Calico Cottage, which is based near Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Managing director Nigel Baker was inspired to make this game-changing move after watching BBC’s Blue Planet and being appalled by how much plastic ends up in the world’s oceans.

He said, “The move away from single use plastic is an issue that we started to address internally at Calico Cottage in 2017. We are hugely passionate about this and have been working long hours to come up with a solution using a range of technologies, and I am proud that we have brought it to market so quickly.

“Along with our packaging supplier and some key customers, we are launching a home compostable bag with compostable labels and adhesives, which will also biodegrade in sea water. We decided to take this step pro-actively, with a significant investment rather than wait for our customers to ask for it.

“Having Rhug Estate on board with us at launch is a massive boost and demonstrates our joint commitment towards moving away from single use packaging. This launch could really be a game-changer, so we are delighted to have them on board with us at launch.”

Lord Newborough, owner of the Rhug Estate, said, “We are thrilled here at the Rhug to be the first farm shop in Wales to convert to Calico Cottage sustainable packaging. I have always maintained a policy at the Rhug Estate to protect and enhance the environment for the next generation.

“Continuing with my sustainable way of thinking, we recently started to look at how each aspect of the Rhug business can reduce its carbon footprint. We have already moved to bio-degradable and more sustainable packaging in other parts of the business including our coffee cups, coffee trays, burger & lunch boxes. We are continuously looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint by using more sustainable packaging materials so we are excited about working with suppliers like Calico Cottage who share our passion for sustainability.”

At the heart of Rhug is Lord Newborough’s commitment to an organic lifestyle. Rhug Farm is self-contained and a true ‘field to plate’ operation applying the highest standard of sustainability. Using the most sustainable farming practices Rhug prides itself on superior tasting meat products. Rhug Farm Shop stocks almost 3,000 products from local suppliers and small businesses.

Rhug Estate is one of several UK-wide launch partners, which also includes ZSL Whipsnade; ZSL London Zoo; Twycross Zoo; Blue Diamond Garden Centres; Kew Gardens; Chester Zoo; Dudley Zoological Garden; The British Museum and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Nigel Baker added, “The BBC footage about how much plastic ends up in the oceans really affected us all here and spurred us to do something about our packaging immediately. We are pleased to be leading the way in our industry and hope other retailers, like Rhug Estate, join us in this revolution.

“It’s a first step for us and can eliminate around 80% of our single use plastic packaging but we won’t be satisfied until this number hits 100%, which is a huge challenge.”

This is just phase one of the roll-out for Calico, with the second due in April/May.

The new bags are fully certified and manufactured from sustainably sourced trees, which are converted into pulp and then a liquid cellulose solution. This is then made into a transparent solid film, which is coated and cut to size.

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