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Mars Bars get an environmentally friendly new wrapper

Mars bars have undergone a redesign, opting for recyclable paper wrappers instead of plastic, as part of an initiative by Mars Food to explore more eco-friendly materials for their chocolate bars. The new packaging will be introduced at 500 Tesco stores across the UK starting from Monday. This decision follows Nestle’s lead, as they have been using paper packaging for Smarties since January 2021 and for some of their Quality Street sweets since December 2022. Among the Quality Street range, nine out of eleven traditional sweets have transitioned to paper-based packaging, while the Orange Crunch and the Green Triangle continue to use their recyclable foil wrappers. Mars acknowledges the challenge of finding paper packaging that provides sufficient barrier properties to protect the chocolate.

The shift away from plastic is motivated by the fact that Mars’s current plastic wrappers, like many other items such as crisp packets and chocolate bar wrappers, are not recyclable. This leads to their accumulation in landfills and water pollution. In the Philippines, where tons of single-use plastics end up on shores, some of this packaging is repurposed by being stuffed into bottles and used to make building bricks. The RSPCA highlights the problem with single-use plastic waste, emphasizing that it does not biodegrade but instead breaks down into smaller particles that persist in the environment and pose a threat to wildlife for many years to come.

Although the government announced a ban on single-use plastics such as plastic cutlery, plates, and polystyrene trays in January, it has not yet been implemented. Plastic straws were banned in the UK in 2020, with India following suit in 2022, and France has prohibited the use of single-use plastics in takeaway food establishments since January.

Mars Incorporated estimates that this change will make “200 million bars per year carbon neutral” in the UK, Ireland, and Canada. Andrew Flood, Tesco’s packaging development manager, expressed his enthusiasm for partnering with Mars and stated that this initiative aligns with Tesco’s own strategy of reducing plastic and packaging throughout its business.

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