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[GreenYes] Heinz Lightweighting steel cans in UK

WRAP Helps Heinz Adopt Lightest Steel Can Ends in UK

With support from WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme), HJ Heinz,
in conjunction with Impress Group BV, has carried out successful trials of a
new lightweighted 'easy open' steel can end.

The new end has a thickness of just 0.18mm - beating the lightest food can
end previously available by 0.02mm and creating a new 'best in class'. Heinz
now intends to convert its entire range of 200g and 400g cans to use the new
lightweight can end, a move that will eliminate around 1,400 tonnes of steel
waste annually.

WRAP awarded £250,000 to Heinz from its Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund,
a scheme set up to assist industry and retailers to reduce the amount of
packaging and food waste that ends up in the household bin. The lightweight
easy open end was developed by Impress from steel supplied by Corus and was
trialled at Heinz's can-making and filling factory at Kitt Green in
Lancashire, the biggest plant of its type in Europe producing over one
billion cans a year for a variety of Heinz products.

The second part of the WRAP-funded project will see the project partners
working together to develop and trial lighter can bodies. If this proves
equally successful and the findings are taken up across the sector, the
scheme could reduce UK household waste by as much as 28,000 tonnes per year.

"Lightweighting food cans is not as straightforward as it might first
seem," explains Gerald Sturdy, Technical Director at Impress BV. "Our 60
strong innovation team had to overcome a number of technical challenges to
ensure that the integrity of the can - its look and feel, strength and
behaviour - remained unchanged, whilst developing the lightest can ends in
the industry."

Phil Crompton, Capital Engineering Department Manager at Heinz, adds: "At
Heinz, we are committed to improving resource efficiency and through working
with WRAP and our suppliers, we are delighted to have achieved 'best in
class' status with our new easy open can-ends. This sets a new benchmark for
the sector, and by sharing the challenges in adopting the new ends with
colleagues in the canning industry, we are sure others will soon follow."

Emphasising the role of the fund in designing out waste, Mike Robey, WRAP's
Innovation Fund Manager, says: "This successful project will help to reduce
the amount of household waste we generate in the UK. Ultimately, investing
in innovations to reduce waste before it is created represents a more
efficient and sustainable approach to resource use.

"Successful developments supported by the Fund are promoted across industry
to encourage widespread take up of innovation and the Heinz project is a
great example of how the targeted use of public funds can produce an
excellent economic and environmental return on investment."

Launched in November 2004, WRAP's Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund
represents a major opportunity for the retail sector to access support to
help kick-start new thinking in packaging design. So far, the initiative has
received widespread support from within the sector and has approved 28
projects with combined funding of £4.2m, and the potential to deliver a
reduction of over 500,000 tonnes of household waste, assuming they prove to
be successful and the findings are taken up across the sector.

A further funding call was announced last month. Applications are open
until the 31st March for expressions of interest on Food Waste projects, and
20th April for Packaging Innovation tenders. Further information and
downloadable tender documents are available from WRAP:

Further information can be found at For more
information, contact Alex Massouh, Assistant Innovation Fund Manager, on
telephone 01295 819678 or e-mail alex.massouh@no.address

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