The Bumble Bee Seafood Company Achieves 98% Readily Recyclable Packaging with Industry-First Shift to Paperboard Cartons on Multipack Can Products
April 8th, 2022 | Brand


The Bumble Bee Seafood Company is eliminating an estimated 23 million pieces of plastic waste per year by becoming the first shelf-stable seafood brand to change its multipack can product packaging from shrink wrap to readily recyclable paperboard cartons. The change will apply to all multipacks produced by Bumble Bee, a total of 23 SKUs including 4-can, 6-can, 8-can, 10-can and 12-can packages. The paperboard is made from 100% recycled material, with a minimum of 35% post-consumer content and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. That means that the multipack can product packaging is fully recyclable – both the box exterior and the cans inside.

In 2020, Bumble Bee launched “Seafood Future,” a sustainability and social impact program with three areas of focused commitment: Fish, Ocean, and People. The commitments included a goal to ensure that 98% of Bumble Bee packaging would be recyclable by 2025. This change from shrink wrap to paperboard will move the brand from 96% to 98% readily recyclable packaging, surpassing the goal timeline by 3 years.

“We recognize that the ocean provides food for more than 3 billion people annually. To keep feeding people through the power of the ocean, we need to also protect and nurture our ocean,” said Jan Tharp, President and CEO, The Bumble Bee Seafood Company. “We know that the packaging we use on our products can play a role in that. Changing our multi-pack packaging to be readily recyclable will help us continue to meet our commitment to keeping plastic out of landfills and out of the ocean.”

The new paperboard cartons on Bumble Bee multipacks not only benefit the environment, but also offer advantages for consumers and retail customers alike.

  • Consumers have consistently asked for sustainable packaging choices that make recycling easier. Now, consumers can easily recycle Bumble Bee multipack can products within their home recycling systems. Consumer testing also revealed appreciation for the modern and unique package design, easier-to-read label, and option to easily stack the box on a home pantry shelf.
  • Retail customers benefit from the flexibility the new package design offers on the shelf, including the option to set the product vertically or horizontally to maximize shelf space. The recyclable package also helps retailers move toward their own sustainability goals, including plastic waste reduction.

Bumble Bee partnered with R.A. Jones to develop the custom machine and execution plan, a two-year process. The Meridian XR MPS-300 made its initial debut at Pack Expo in Las Vegas in September 2021 and was installed in Bumble Bee’s Santa Fe Springs factory in December 2021. Features of the Meridian XR include a four-lane infeed for new packaging options and configurations, an air frame opening for reliable carton opening, integrated can count verification after loading, six- and 12-inch dual pitch transport, and more.

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