Minimizing Food Waste

According to the NRDC, 40% of food in the U.S. is never eaten. Beyond food spoilage, other environmental costs of food waste include the fertilizer, land and water required to grow unused food; the fuel consumed to process, refrigerate and transport it; and the greenhouse gas generated by landfills where it is ultimately discarded. According to the EPA, discarded food represents 21% of waste to landfill in the U.S. Much of this discarded food is never even sold—largely because it is damaged or expired. 

Packaging plays an important role in preventing spoilage at retail and at home in several ways: physical protection to prevent damage; barrier protection to delay spoilage; security features to prevent tampering; properties to promote shelf stability; more efficient portion control; and even marketing that encourages food sales. Sonoco continues to hone our packaging to better protect and present food, minimizing waste—including our new suite of ClearGuard™ clear barrier packaging, which gives consumers the clear packaging they prefer while offering barrier protection.

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EcoReel Reuse and Recycling

Through the EcoReel® recycling program, Sonoco collects used reels from utility companies, contractors and distributors, refurbishing them and then returning them to wire and cable manufacturers for reuse. As the program brings reels full circle, it makes reel recycling easy for customers, saving them the cost of disposal and landfill fees, helping them fulfill their sustainability commitments and reporting data on the number of reels returned, the number of trees saved, the cubic yards of dumpster space avoided and the estimated disposal cost saved. In one 5-year period, Sonoco received nearly 1 million tons of reels for recycling, saving end users more than $36 million in disposal costs—and saving more than 300,000 trees.

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Innovative snack packs for Dole GO Berries!™

Dole GO Berries!™, which uses Sonoco packaging, was awarded Best New Packaging as part of the Produce Innovation Awards program at United Fresh 2017, an expo dedicated to innovation in produce and fresh foods. The berries are packaged in 3-packs of fun, snack-sized containers that offer snap, rinse and go convenience. Increased airflow around the berries aids cooling and improves freshness. The plastic packaging is made with 70% recycled PET without adhesive labels, improving recyclability, and the paper sleeve is SFI™-certified.

The Sonoco Performance System

Sonoco is increasing our quality and speed to market through our Sonoco Performance System (SPS) process. SPS drives sustainable, continuous improvement in all aspects of operations by focusing on employee engagement, education and data-based decision making that together will:


• Improve safety
• Support growth and our relationship with customers
• Allow more time to focus on productivity and process improvement
• Optimize a more flexible workforce to meet challenging business demands
• Create a culture of clearly aligned metrics, accountability and process 

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  • Certified Sourcing

    Sonoco is committed to responsible use of natural resources through responsible sourcing, recycling and use of recycled fiber in our paper-based packaging. With limited exceptions, Sonoco’s global paperboard mills use 100% recycled fiber and are certified one or more fiber certification programs. These are: the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC™) Chain of Custody and Due Diligence System Standards.

  • External Failure Costs

    External Failure Cost per million dollars of sales is calculated by dividing the gross dollars issued for customer failures by the total gross sales dollars. Calculations include all money paid to a customer for product and service failures including product returns, allowances for poor quality, regrade labor, additional freight or other costs paid to a customer based on poor quality.
    External Failure Costs (per million dollars of sales):
    2013: 1,792
    2014: 1,757
    2015: 1,861
    2016: 1,710
    2017: 1,743