Meat packaging could see big changes over the next seven years as meat processing giant ABP has vowed to cut all unnecessary plastic from its packaging by 2025.

It comes as the firm joins with 41 others to form 'Plastics Pact', an initiative launched by sustainability experts WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme).

The project will bring together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with the UK Government and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.

All of ABP’s beef and lamb processing sites across the UK - including its Lurgan and Newry sites - will be involved in the initiative.

The project's targets include:

  • Eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative, re-usable delivery models;
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted;
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

Dean Holroyd, group technical and sustainability director, ABP Food Group, said the firm was committed to "doing all possible" to minimise the impact of plastic on the environment.

We see this as a great challenge and a huge opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded businesses to make a real and tangible difference in the fight against plastic at our sites and across the wider supply chain.

The immediate focus for UK Plastics Pact will be on identifying the priority projects that will deliver greatest impacts in the short and long term.

An example could be to increase the amount of recycled content used in new packaging, developing reusable packaging and working with partners to overcome the issue of unrecyclable black plastic.

ABP Food Group has also recently achieved quadruple accreditation from the Carbon Trust in recognition of the progress it is making in reducing its environmental impact.