Responsibly Sourced Packaging
Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of taking action on packaging. In recent years, we've focused on ensuring that all the paperboard used in our pint cartons and novelty boxes comes from environmentally friendly sources. And in 2018 we embarked on a mission to eliminate single-use plastics from our products.
FSC Certified Paperboard Containers
Today all of our paperboard packaging has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. FSC certification means that the pulp in the paperboard comes from forests that are managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, and other forest sustainability criteria.
Our current paperboard pint is covered with a polyethylene plastic- based coating, which acts as a moisture barrier. The coating is a critical component of our packaging to ensure the highest quality ice cream for our fans. Unfortunately, this type of coated paperboard is not widely recycled at this time, and regardless of recyclability, we are troubled that our packaging is partly composed of single-use plastic.
To address this, we have begun a multi-year project with the goal of using packaging that is widely recyclable and compostable, and that can degrade quickly into harmless materials in the natural environment if it escapes waste management. The first step is reducing the amount of plastic coating on our paperboard pints, which we aim to implement in 2019. We anticipate that this change will allow our pints in Europe to be widely recycled with other coated paperboards. Because coated paperboard is currently not widely recycled in the Canada regardless of what type of coating is used, recyclability will remain a challenge until systemic changes are made. We are currently working in collaboration with several coating manufacturers to identify and test biodegradable coatings to replace the plastic-based coating now used.
Scoop Shop Packaging
Single-use plastic is a massive global environmental problem that we cannot recycle our way out of – the only solution we see is to stop using it. We estimate our Scoop Shops currently use roughly 30 million spoons and 2.5 million straws per year. That’s why in 2018 we began our transition away from single-use, petroleum-based plastics in our Scoop Shops. By early 2019, we will no longer offer plastic straws and spoons in any of our 600+ Scoop Shops worldwide, but we’re not stopping there. We also plan to address plastic cups and lids by the end of 2020.
Ben & Jerry’s has already embarked on its plan to get out of single-use plastic in its Scoop Shops:
- August, 2018—Scoop Shops were encouraged to keep straws behind the counter and made them available by request only.
- By April 9, 2019 (Free Cone Day!)—Scoop Shops will complete the transition to paper straws and wooden spoons.
- By the end of 2020—Ben & Jerry’s will find an alternative to clear plastic cups, plastic-lined cups, and plastic lids.
We know this solution is not a perfect one and we’re committed to exploring additional options to further reduce the use of disposable items. Thankfully, our Scoop Shop business has a baked-in solution to plastic waste: it’s called our Waffle Cone!