Packaging plays an important role in food safety, but due to the packaging wastes, our Earth is facing serious challenges. In order to solve this, it is important to build a resource circulation system, and everyone’s determination to protect nature and society is needed to actualize the system. To fulfill a sustainable resource circulation system where we can deliver nature to our consumers’ tables and bring it back to nature, CJ CheilJedang established a packaging strategy. As a part of the strategic implementation, we are expanding collection systems to build a resource circulation system, and expanding investments for R&D in sustainable packaging materials such as developing alternative materials to plastic and biodegradable materials(PHA). And by building a resource circulation system that covers all value chains, we will lead the way in reducing pollution that is caused by the use of packaging.
CJ CheilJedang recognizes the negative impacts of packaging and is fully committed to reducing it by making a transition towards recyclable, reusable, and compostable packaging. To expand sustainable packaging that considers nature and society, CJ CheilJedang operates a research organization, an execution organization and an ‘eco-friendly packaging council’ to pursue strategic tasks throughout all stages including product planning, research and development, production, consumption, and disposal/collection through collaboration. In 2022, we expanded sustainable packaging to a variety of products, resulting in a reduction of 817 tons of raw plastic materials. We also operate an integrated sustainable packaging program and apply the newly-adopted COMPASS* tool to reflect sustainability in packaging designs. For foundational improvement, we are collaborating with external partners to create technology-based systems and platforms In addition to improving products as well as strategic tasks. In terms of R&D, various researches for ecofriendly packaging are being conducted, such as material reduction, alternative materials, recycling technology, packaging technology, etc.
* COMPASS is a packaging software platform that provides analysis on products and packaging materials’ environmental footprints. CJ CheilJedang adopted this platform in 2021 to measure and improve GHG emissions of packaging materials.
To reduce raw plastic materials and CO2 emissions, we are implementing the 3R policy(Redesign, Recover, Recycle). In eco-friendly design (Redesign), we removed unnecessary plastic materials and optimized the size and thickness of packaging materials, resulting in reduced raw plastic materials and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to minimize the environmental impact by using eco-friendly raw materials(Recover), we applied biodegradable packaging materials for the first time in Korea. In terms of recycling(Recycle), we use the scrap generated during the production of Hetbahn containers when making gift set trays. By using recycled plastic, we reduced the amount of new plastic materials used in making containers. In addition, we established an implementation plan for packaging using the 3R policy, and based on this, we are planning and executing global eco-friendly packaging projects.
Commercializing the multi-layer scrap reuse technology for Hetbahn container prodcution
Traditionally, Hetbahn containers are manufactured through thermoforming. We've developed an innovative technique that reintegrates scraps from this process back into Hetbahn container production, while also succeed at its large-scale mass production. Furthermore, we've successfully completed safety verification for the use of recycled materials, aligning with global regulations. In 2022, we incorporated 30% scraps in the manufacturing of Hetbahn containers, which is the maximum amount of scrap input. This substantial increase has led to significant reductions in the use of virgin plastics and CO2 emissions, making Hetbahn containers even more sustainable.
Developing recyclable paper-based
We have developed a recyclable paper-based packaging material to reduce plastic consumption. Through meticulous research, we've identified an optimal paper formulation (60% paper content) to improve water repellency by applying coatings on both sides of the paper and increased the use of pulp. Our estimate, using our internal COMPASS tool, suggests that this innovation will cut plastic usage by 50% compared to conventional frozen rice products, ultimately resulting in a 55% reduction in emissions.
Communication with consumers is essential for promoting recycling at the post-consumer stage. CJ CheilJedang strives to make recycling easier for consumers.
Improving the recyclability rating
CJ CheilJedang manages the packaging recycling ratings of approximately 4,000 products and works to make them easier to recycle according to the Packaging Material Ease of Recycling Rating Standards. In 2022, we made improvements to 42 out of 252 products rated "Difficult to Recycle" in the 2021 ratings, and increased the percentage of products rated "Normal" or higher from 92.9% to 95%.
Beksul Sesame Oil: An easy to remove plastic cap
We have improved the way consumers can remove the cap from our sesame oil bottles, making it easier for them to recycle the container. By adding a diagonal incision on the outer part of the cap, the cap can now be easily removed with a small amount of force, eliminating the need for any additional tools. As a result, the product received "Excellent" rating in the Ease of Recycling Rating and won the World Star Packaging Awards 2022 - Recyclable Packaging from the World Packaging Organization (WPO).
CJ CheilJedang actively collaborates with various stakeholders, including companies, governmental bodies, and consumer associations, to establish a sustainable packaging network.
Joining the EU 4evergreen alliance
CJ CheilJedang has participated in the EU 4evergreen alliance to contribute to a carbon-neutral society by ensuring the circularity and sustainability of packaging. The members of the 4evergreen alliance collaborate through a four-step process to develop tools and guidelines on various aspects of packaging and share the outcomes with stakeholders.
Joining the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) in the U.S.
CJ CheilJedang acknowledges that enhancing packaging sustainability requires the active involvement of the entire supply chain. To this end, we have established a green packaging network in the U.S. through participation in the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's SPC Engage 2022 and SPC Advance 2022. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition is comprised of members spanning the entire packaging lifecycle and is the leading voice on sustainability in packaging. Key members include global brands, packaging raw material producers, raw material converters, packaging designers, logistics, retailers, solid waste handlers, academia, and government organizations.
CJ CheilJedang has established an upcycling process to promote the recycling of Hetbahn containers. When customers purchase Hetbahn from CJ The Market and finish using the containers, they can wash and place them in designated collection boxes. Upon request, local self-sufficiency centers, in collaboration with CJ CheilJedang, collect these containers free of charge and ensure they are thoroughly cleaned for various recycling purposes. In June 2022, we joined E-Mart's "Bring Plastics and Save the Seas" campaign to further expand offline collection points as part of our efforts to encourage consumer participation. However, the plastic recycling system in South Korea is primarily focused on the recycling of PET materials. To enable the separate collection of Hetbahn containers for obtaining high-quality white PP materials, long-term infrastructure and policy improvements are required. Additionally, consumer participation is crucial as they need to clean and make the containers available for separate collection. In 2022, we successfully collected approximately 300,000 Hetbahn containers. Nevertheless, our aim is to go further; we aspire to create a world where our Hetbahn containers are collected and transformed into valuable products instead of being wasted. To this end, we will continue to expand the resource circulation platform by engaging employees and introducing the Hetbahn Upcycle initiative to more customers who play a key role in the packaging circular economy.
Transformation of the Hetbahn container
Light sticks at 2022 Mama Awards
CJ CheilJedang took the collected Hetbahn containers, recycled them, and transformed them into raw plastic to create handles for light sticks. These light sticks were then sold at the 2022 MAMA Awards held at the Kyocera Dome Osaka in Japan. All proceeds from the sale were utilized for tree planting and conservation activities. Total 3,000 Hetbahn containers were used to make the light sticks, and they were easy to be recycled, which only required separating the handles and throwing them away in plastic collection bins.
Natural humidifier kits
CJ CheilJedang repurposed collected Hetbahn containers to create natural humidifiers, which create a healthy and electromagnetic wave-free environment. These natural humidifiers were subsequently donated to those in need. To encourage employee participation in the volunteer activity, we produced a natural humidifier kit consisting of a humidifier body made of plastic materials using collected, washed, and reprocessed Hetbahn containers and non-woven fabrics. While the local self-sufficiency centers were responsible for the separate collection and washing of the Hetbahn containers, i2m produced the humidifier kit for the employees, and the Change Maker took over exploring potential recipients.
CJ CheilJedang collaborated with CJ ENM’s year-end pop-up, "tvN Let There Be Joy First (ZZLGUN CHEIL)" to showcase various items crafted from recycled Hetbahn containers. This pop-up campaign creatively highlighted the content of tvN, CJ ENM's channel. We utilized the collected Hetbahn containers to create a large tree ornament placed in the venue, along with furniture inspired by construction sites, including sofas, tables, and rubber cones. Moving forward, we aim to continue this collaboration to engage customers in the recycling of resources and promote the value of eco-friendliness.
Eco-Friendly Material Solutions
PHA is an innovative material that can be composted at home and is biodegradable in soil and water. We aim to present sustainable material solutions through PHACT, a brand dedicated to biodegradable materials based on our PHA technology portfolio. Launched in 2022, PHACT is produced through microbial fermentation of plant-based materials. In particular, amorphous PHA (aPHA) has properties similar to soft rubber, and CJ CheilJedang is the only company in the world to mass- produce this material. By utilizing PHA to develop products for packaging, food service, and household products, we aim to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastics and address the issue of plastic pollution, thereby contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
PHACT is used
Cosmetic containers are primarily made of plastic or glass. They are rarely cleaned and disposed of separately, making them difficult to recycle. CJ CheilJedang developed cosmetic containers made of PHA, a biobased and biodegradable polymer. PLA is the most used biodegradable material but is vulnerable to impact and difficult to mold into various shapes. Therefore, we developed a material suitable for cosmetic containers by mixing PHA and PLA and applied it to actual products after evaluating the suitability of the container.
WAKEMAKE Water Velvet Vegan Cushion
WAKEMAKE Water Velvet Vegan Cushion, released in December 2022, was the first cosmetic product in Korea to use PHA in its packaging. The entire container, except for the inner part that directly holds the product and the mirror, is made of biodegradable material.
BANILA CO Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
Launched in January 2023, the Banila Co Cleansing Balm features a container and an enclosed spatula made of PHA-based materials. The product package, too, is made of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper.
Communicating the packaging policy with external stakeholders
CJ CheilJedang responds to inquiries from stakeholders about the use of biodegradable plastic packaging materials and plans to remove tray containers. We strive for well-rounded communication by sharing policy-related opinions based on the current status of companies in promoting plastic-free and carbon-neutral activities to support government agencies with establishing a resource circulation system. In 2021, we communicated with Green Korea, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Commission, Korea Food Industry Association, and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.