The Kraft Heinz Company: Recycled Flexible Packaging Roof Board

The Need: In support of our Vision To Sustainably Grow by Delighting More Consumers Globally, we are committed to responsible, sustainable practices extending to every facet of our business. The Kraft Heinz ESG strategy prioritizes the issues that matter most to the company’s business and stakeholders, focusing on areas that have the greatest impact.

We’re focused on designing better packaging that incorporates more recycled and recyclable materials by collaborating with external packaging experts, organizations, and coalitions across the value chain to explore technical, end-of-life and infrastructure solutions. Multi-material plastics is one of the biggest challenges we have, so we focus a lot on collaborations and partnerships that address these challenge areas.

This is why we partnered with an industry coalition on an initiative like Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), a non-profit research collaborative that set out to determine the technical and economic feasibility to collect, sort, bale and recycle flexible plastic packaging.

The Solution: To incorporate products made from recycled flexible packaging (films, wraps, bags and pouches) into our supply chain, we launched a pilot project in collaboration with MRFF stakeholders to demonstrate the use of roof board made from this recycled flexible packaging.

Using 4’ X 8’ roof boards, each compromised of 94 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and fiber, our team of engineers and our roofing contractor installed new roofs at three manufacturing facilities in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin; Holland, Michigan; and Granite City, Illinois from 2020 to 2021.

Which of the Pact’s 4 Targets does your work help achieve? TARGET 3: Undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging by 2025

What makes it particularly smart or circular? Throughout this project, we identified end uses where we can leverage these materials within our own facilities. If the pilot project works and the roof board performs as well as standard building materials, there is an opportunity for us to incorporate it in additional facilities in the future. Additionally, the roof board is fully recyclable at its end of life.

Results, Benefits, and Outcomes to Date: This project is a powerful example of what’s possible when we invest in sustainable packaging and the circular economy. We are continuing to monitor the performance of the roof board at the three locations, and we are continuing to look for opportunities to use the roof board on future projects.  

How are you communicating your success? In 2021, Kraft Heinz became an inaugural member of the Association of Plastic Recycler’s Residential Film Demand Champion Program to demonstrate our commitment to use PCR film and flexibles in our supply chain.

What’s Next? We are currently monitoring the roofs in the pilot project for performance versus standard building materials. If the recycled materials perform as well or better than standard building materials, we will strongly consider standardizing the use of this recycled material in the future.

Core Team, Partners, & Participants: The recycled roof board pilot project has been a collaboration between internal departments at Kraft Heinz and external cooperatives, including the Materials Recovery for the Future (MRFF), a waste manufacturer, roofing specialist, and our roofing contractor.

Quote: “It was a privilege being part of MRFF, which not only helped identify ways to curbside collect and recycle flexible packaging, but also identified end markets that we could leverage within our facilities. Our test project highlights the company’s commitment to sustainable packaging and the priority it places on its Environmental, Social and Governance commitments. Kraft Heinz continues to search for ways to make our packaging recyclable and to incorporate recycled content within our supply chain.” – Erik Groner, The Kraft Heinz Company, Research Lead, Packaging Engineer)

Company/Organization Information: The Kraft Heinz Company is a globally trusted producer of high quality, great tasting and nutritious food and beverages. Kraft Heinz is co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh. At the end of 2021, Kraft Heinz had 79 manufacturing and processing facilities, 5,500 ingredient and packaging suppliers, 210 external manufacturers, and approximately 36,000 employees around the world.

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