05.01.2022 - Company

Reducing the size of multipacks in the UK

We are starting 2022 as we mean to go on: with a strong emphasis on our core value of sustainability.

As a future-orientated business, it is important we work with our customers to achieve shared success.

A change in the making

In May 2021, we began a project that was in development for many years: the reduction in the size of multipacks, while maintaining quality. This trend originated in the kitchen towel sector, as bigger rolls were needed to satisfy consumer behaviour. As a result, the production team at WEPA UK explored how this trend could be applied to bathroom tissues.

The first customer to work with our team on this project was Tesco – one of the largest retailers in the UK, with more than 2,700 stores.

It was clear from the outset that Tesco shared our commitment to sustainability. This dedication helped to drive the project in the second half of 2021.

Technical challenges

When manufacturing these tighter wound rolls, there were several technical challenges to be overcome at WEPA UK’s Bridgend facility:

- Reduce the level of embossing but retain an aesthetic appeal

- Test and trial the optimum diameter for the roll

- Speed up the process and reduce rewind by 50%

We decided a 12-pack the right format for the first packs. This reduced the bulky 24 multipacks, while maintaining the same amount of paper. The reduction comes from tighter winding, which expels over 20% of air within the roll.

The current strain on the supply chain in the UK also added pressure to complete this project. In particular, driver availability and the need to keep shelves fully stocked in the Christmas quarter.

The WEPA UK team worked quickly to meet the fast-track launch requirements. The results mark a major achievement in such challenging times. As we implement our global strategy in 2022 this project exemplifies our flexibility and commitment to our sustainability goals.

Success in print

The success of this project has recently been covered in the UK press, including The Independent and The Grocer. The main achievements of this project include:

• Reducing the number of cores needed by half

• Reducing the size of the pack, making it easier to carry and store

• Reduction in transport resulting in over 800 fewer trips a year from the source

• The process will continue into other pack sizes, saving Tesco a reported 67 tonnes of plastic packaging a year.

Each of these achievements perfectly highlight the three pillars of WEPA’s strategy for future working:

1. Ensuring the long-term economic success of our partnerships

2. Working towards the preservation of natural resources

3. Considering how our work impacts on society

Be sure to keep an eye on our website for more updates and read more about how sustainability is at the heart of our business.

You can also follow WEPA on LinkedIn.

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