Sustainable Packaging

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.   

Our Commitments 

Today, Kellogg continues to responsibly source timber-based packaging. We are also signatories to the Ellen McArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and are proud to say we have one of the smallest plastic packaging footprints among peer food companies.  

  • In 2015, we took the step to ensure all timber-based packaging was and will continue to be made from 100% recycled paper OR certified sustainable sourcing. 
  • In 2018, we expanded our commitment to work toward 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025. 
  • In 2019, we targeted including 10% recycled content across our total global plastics footprint (by weight) by the end of 2025. 
  • In 2022, we added a 5% reduction in virgin plastic usage by the end of 2025.  

In addition to designing our packaging to be sustainable, we know that we need to work to help build recycling infrastructure and recycling behavior among consumers. We take seriously our responsibility to champion education and build partnerships in this space.   

Our Approach 

To achieve our 2025 packaging goals, 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:  

Our Progress 

In 2021:  

  • 76% of our total packaging globally is recyclable, reusable or compostable through readily accessible curbside service at scale, including 14% of our plastic packaging. 
  • 83% of our total packaging globally is recyclable through curbside, in-store or mail-in recycling options, including 72% of plastic packaging.  
  • Our plastic packaging usage was 64,407 metric tons, which accounts for 11% of our total global packaging material usage. 
  • 44% of our total packaging is made from recycled content, including 0.03% of our plastic packaging.  

We leverage our global scale and voice to engage to engage our suppliers and technology companies to deliver sustainable packaging solutions that maintain our food safety and shelf-life requirements.  

 

 Metrics 
   Tonnes ‘000 MT  % of Total Packaging 
Global Packaging Usage by material type Total Packaging Use  574  100% 
Paperboard  427  75% 
Composite Can  82  14% 
Plastic  64  11% 
Work towards 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025  Of which reusable, recyclable or compostable    473  83% 
Of which not yet reusable recyclable or compostable  101  17% 
Work toward 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by end of 2025 Total Plastic Use  64  % of Plastic  % of total 
Of which total plastic packaging reusable recyclable or compostable  14%  1.3% 
Of which total plastic packaging recycle-ready1  37  58%  5.4% 
Of which total plastic packaging not yet reusable recyclable or compostable  18  28%  3.1% 
Reduce virgin plastic by 5% by the end of 2025 from a 2021 baseline2 Amount of plastic reduced or removed by weight  New
target
New
target
Work towards 10% recycled content on average (by weight) across all plastic packaging used by 2025 Amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging  0.18  0.03% 
Continue sourcing 100% recycled or certified sustainably sourced timber-based packaging3 Timber based packaging containing recycled content  220  52% 


Our Challenges 

While we have significant efforts underway to address waste and plastics across our value chain, we cannot accomplish our ambitious 2025 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 the infrastructure existed. We are taking a two-pronged approach: redesigning our plastic packaging to suit the current capabilities of the recycling infrastructure, and advocating for stronger recycling infrastructure for soft plastic. 

In addition to our small plastic footprint, 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. 

 

[1] 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)​ 
[2] Subject to advancement of food safety, business growth and technical solutions  
[3] Certified sources include Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and Forest Stewardship Council