Grocers: The ‘War on Plastic’ – Not So Fantastic?

It’s the first sight you see at your local supermarket store; fruit & vegetable aisles bursting with bagged grapes, PET punnets of strawberries, four-packs of apples in trays, salads in plastic bowls and broccolis encased in shiny shrink wrap.  However, in these increasingly environmentally-conscious times, consumers the world over are beginning to query why fruit and vegetables are subject to so much plastic packaging. Arguments about hygiene, protection from bruising or crushing and extending the shelf life of certain foods are the only defence it seems. Weighted against images of our oceans being clogged up with waste and landfills now spilling out into unspoilt countryside, it’s clear that the time has come for a change.

Our Vision

Yorkshire Packaging Systems are the UK’s leading supplier of shrink wrapping equipment and shrink wrapping film. We supply many hundreds of food manufacturers and distributors across the U.K. and of these, around 70 are directly supplying and/or wrapping grocery items and fresh produce. As a result, we share our customers’ growing concern to make the impact of shrink film on the environment as small as possible.

Yorkshire Packaging have a longer term vision to make these hopes a reality. We incessantly seek to improve upon the green credentials of our existing shrink film range as well as offer new sustainable solutions for the shrink film market. All of this is delivered and developed whilst maintaining the highest quality and reliability of service and ensuring all regulations that are in force are adhered to.


Our answer to this drive for greener alternatives is a ground-breaking innovative shrink film offering, B-NAT, newly released to the UK market and currently being trialled at a number of grocery suppliers. This new ultrathin, bio-based film is the first ever to be developed from a base of green polythene, consisting of more than 40% polyethylene derived from sugarcane ethanol.

In the current global climate where there is a high dependency on finite supplies of fossil fuels, sugarcane derived ethylene is a fantastic sustainable alternative to other films currently being used for packaging. As a natural source, this product is wholly renewable whilst providing the same high degree of presentation that grocery suppliers are used to. The polyethylene created from the sugarcane ethylene provides the same level of performance as fossil polyethylene and of course the recycling properties are identical to those of it’s petrochemical alternative.

The sugarcane ethanol used in our B-NAT film generates more units of renewable energy for each unit of fossil energy used in its production, when compared to corn ethanol and sugar beet ethanol. Moreover, its cultivation has no impact at all on food production areas, helping to ensure its sustainability and heavily reduce the impact on the dependency of non-renewable resources to manufacture this film. To improve the end of life outcome, this film is fully compliant with SPI recycle code “4”.

B-NAT Bio-based Shrink Film - Blog

No Compromise

What Yorkshire Packaging didn’t want to do was launch a greener shrink film that compromised on the premium features that our customers expect and therefore would leave it redundant. To ensure its wide and prompt uptake, B-NAT’s exceptional characteristics have been ensured, which include:

  • The most attractive shelf presentation, matching the unrivalled quality of the current Bollore range
  • Optimum cohesion strength, making it a good candidate for multi-packing operations
  • A proven track record of excellent results in all processes due to its unique technical properties
  • Availability in thickness of 15 micron with more low micron options set to come.

So why is B-NAT shrink film the future for fresh produce packaging? It is widely accepted that the ultimate end-goal is for all consumable packaging items to be recycled and reused. Whilst many forward-thinking individuals or councils currently do go to great lengths to ensure their waste is minimized, the majority of the world’s population is less conscientious. Whilst we wait for recycling to become ‘second nature’ to all, B-NAT is the salve that is badly needed due to its sustainable beginnings and easy-to-recycle endings.

Ultra-thin Packaging

However, B-NAT is not Yorkshire Packaging’s first attempt to clean up shrink film’s ‘bad wrap’. Over the last decade we have focused on developing ‘ultrathin’ packaging, providing films with 9, 11 and 12 micron thicknesses that are still comparable in strength to their thicker counterparts 13 and 15 micron films. Our film experts have encouraged as many customers as possible to transition to these films to wrap their products. Ultrathin films have reduced the quantity of film rolls required to pack products that only a few years ago were still being wrapped in 19 and 25 micron films. Whilst delivering the same yield, this advancement has cut the plastic usage almost in half due to;

  • longer rolls lengths, meaning less changeovers on machines, less transportation volume and of course less materials used to package the films
  • a reduction in shrink and seal rates leading to a more efficient machine processes and power requirements

Like B-NAT, all of the shrink films in the Bollore range meet the requirements for SPI recycle code “4”.


With Yorkshire Packaging you can now shrink wrap your fresh produce to protect it from bruising and crushing, keep it hygienic and extend its shelf life without having the weight of the world, quite literally, on your shoulders. 

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