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Bobby Banana’s new packaging reduces plastic destined for landfill

New Bobby Banana tape to save approximately 16 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill – working toward Dole’s Promise to achieve zero fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025.

Dole is thrilled to announce that its popular Bobby Bananas are now packaged in a new, smaller tape – which will reduce the amount of plastic destined for landfill in New Zealand and can be recycled into useful items such as fence posts and garden beds.

The shift from Bobby’s previous plastic bag packaging to the new tape will prevent approximately 16 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill each year in New Zealand, with this amount able to be reduced even further via recycling through Dole’s new Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme membership.

Bobby Banana’s updated packaging is one step toward achieving ‘The Dole Promise’; a global company initiative that aims to increase access to sustainable nutrition, and decrease fruit loss, packaging waste and carbon emissions for the benefit of its stakeholders, employees, customers, and the planet. One of the Promises is to achieve zero fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025.

The shift to the plastic tape comes after extensive trialling of several different materials; with Dole currently underway with research for further improved sustainable packaging options as it continues to work towards achieving the Promise.

Dole General Manager Steve Barton says that Bobby Banana’s packaging update and The Dole Promise reflects the company’s commitment to change that helps people and the planet, particularly considering the challenges of the current climate.

“We’re proud to implement a change that creates a positive impact as we work towards a more equitable and sustainable future. It’s our responsibility as the people of today to provide a better planet for the generations of the future and updating Bobby Banana’s packaging is one small step toward achieving that goal,” says Steve.  

New Zealanders can drop their Bobby Banana tapes, along with other soft plastic waste such as bread bags, pasta and rice bags, at Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme drop off points where they are collected and provided to Future Post, which recycles the plastics into fence posts, vegetable garden frames, and parking bumpers.

Along with reducing the impact of plastic waste, recycling Bobby Banana tapes and soft plastics into useful items will benefit Kiwi organisations such as Oke Charity, which provides South Auckland primary schools with sustainable fruit and vegetable gardens. Dole is the foundation partner of Oke Charity and provides the organisation with financial and volunteer support to help achieve its goal of building these unique outdoor classrooms.

“Creating change requires collective action, and we’re asking Kiwis to get on board and do their small bit to help. If every New Zealander recycled their Bobby Banana tapes, it would be enough to create 158 garden beds – a number that would make a huge difference to charities such as our partner Oke Charity,” continues Steve.

Children in the garden as part of an Oke Charity initiative

New Zealand is the first market to roll out the new Bobby Banana tapes, with the learnings set to drive similar change in other Asia markets such as Korea and Japan.

Alongside the Bobby Banana packaging update and Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme membership, Dole is working toward achieving the Dole Promise via several other local initiatives, including a sponsorship of the Motutapu Restoration Trust; and ‘The Good Bunch’ partnership with Salvation Army, to donate 47,000 bananas donated to food centres nationwide during 2021.

“We’re very proud of our partnerships here in New Zealand and know that our efforts here will see us contribute significantly to our global promises,” says Steve.

Bobby Bananas grow at the lower end of the stem and are specifically selected for their size and sweetness. Containing all the natural goodness of regular bananas in a smaller size, they are a popular choice for children’s lunch boxes.  

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