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The way our foods are packaged ensures their safety, freshness and great taste. We also consider the impact of our packaging on the environment. Our founder, W.K Kellogg, understood the importance of sustainable packaging and these dual considerations when introducing the very first boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes made from recycled content.
Kellogg has one of the smallest plastic packaging footprints among peer food companies, we are also signatories to the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Global Commitments. We are working towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging (by volume).
In addition to designing our packaging to be sustainable, we know that we need to help develop recycling infrastructure and help improve consumer recycling behavior. We take seriously our responsibility to champion education and build partnerships in this space.
Our framework involves three approaches:
- Reduce packaging usage across our portfolio by decreasing total packaging weight wherever possible.
- Exclude certain plastic items and packaging materials. This includes all single-use foam and plastic service ware, straws, and bottles at our global facilities; single-use plastic cutlery from food packaging; and exclusion of single-use plastic straws, stirrers, polystyrene and oxo-degradable plastics from food packaging.
- Redesign packaging to be recyclable or compostable.
The percentage of plastic packaging that is recyclable at scale has increased year-over-year but there is additional work to be done. Recycling rates for plastics are low across the board, particularly for recycle-ready1 materials that can be dropped off at stores. We are working to help fix this in several ways:
- Educating consumers about what they can recycle and how. For example, in the U.S., we are members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and How2Recycle (H2R). We’ve developed education for consumers helping them understand how to recycle the inner bags of all of our cereal brands and Cheez-It® crackers by taking them to their local grocery store with their other plastic bags. In Australia, we continued our commitments to on-pack labeling through the Australian curbside or REDcycle system as of 2022.
- Finding and developing new packaging technologies that are reusable or work within the existing recycling infrastructure. For example, in 2021, multi-packs of some Cheez-It® crackers in North America were redesigned, reducing our packaging material weight by nearly 360 metric tons while allowing the outer bag to be recycled in-store.
- Securing supply of recycled plastic and evaluating fit within our portfolio.
- Engaging and collaborating with peer companies, recycling industry partners and packaging suppliers to increase access and support for infrastructure and innovation.
- Regional engagement and infrastructure support
- In 2021, 76% of our total packaging globally is recyclable through readily accessible curbside service at scale, including 14% of our plastic packaging.
- In 2021, 696,000 metric tonnes of timber-based packaging3 contained recycled content (2022 data is being analyzed).
We leverage our global scale and voice to engage our suppliers, original equipment manufacturers and technology companies on delivering sustainable packaging solutions that maintain our food safety and shelf-life requirements.
While we have significant efforts underway to address waste and plastics across our value chain, we cannot accomplish our ambitious goals alone. We will continue to collaborate with new and existing partners, customers and other innovators to identify packaging solutions that protect and enhance our foods while delivering on the quality and great taste that people expect from Kellogg.
Unlike many other food manufacturing companies, Kellogg’s plastic footprint by weight accounts for only 11% of our total packaging usage. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, recyclability is defined as being done in practice and at scale. Some of our plastic is recycled in practice and at scale but the majority of our plastic is “recycle ready”, which could be recycled if adequate infrastructure existed. We are taking a two-pronged approach: to redesign our plastic packaging to suit the current capabilities of the recycling infrastructure, and advocating for an improved recycling infrastructure for soft plastic (flexible packaging).
We currently only use a small percentage of recycled content plastic. We have two challenges to overcome to increase our usage to meet our commitment. First, sourcing the small available quantities of recycled plastic. Second, safely using recycled content in line with varying food safety regulations across the globe. We are working with key partners to identify sources of recycled content for use in our packaging to enable us to meet our goals.
 Recycle-ready is defined as packaging designed to be compatible with the infrastructure in a specific country or region, but the infrastructure is not yet widely available (does not meet the minimum 30% recycled rate)
 Subject to advancement of food safety, business growth and technical solutions
 Certified sources include Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council