Making Our Packaging Compostable/Recyclable

Hadleigh Maid's Journey to Fully Recyclable, Biodegradable and Compostable Packaging

Was there anyone who wasn’t touched by David Attenborough and the BBC’s Blue Planet programme that showed how plastics pollute our oceans and the animals that we share it with?

It certainly made the Hadleigh Maid team sit up and take note.

Gavin Bowie, Hadleigh Maid's Sales & Marketing Director, summed it up as follows:

“We can all make a difference and as a small business owner supplying food and chocolate to the trade we feel we can do more and lead the way. After all why leave it to the large corporations?  They cannot instigate change as quickly as small businesses and if all small businesses act together the combined noise they make would definitely get the big corporations listening and reacting too”.

So what have we done so far?

In January 2018, we reviewed all the plastic packaging we currently use, assessed it’s need and how we could replace it.  Surprisingly we were delighted to find out that we could replace it all and we have been on a mission ever since. 

First we replaced the plastic canister used in The East Of England Coop’s 150th Anniversary Gold Walnut Mallow Whirl with a fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable food contact cardboard alternative.

Walnut Whirls

Next up our Walnut Whirls in twin packs. The two-part plastic trays were replaced with a one piece fold-up food contact card insert holder. We have also added a biodegradable acetate window PLA film patch so that the product can be still be viewed through the window.

6 out of 8 of our Walnut Mallow and Truffle Whirls have been upgraded in this way.

New packaging is ready on one more line and the last Whirl lines will be changed once current packaging is exhausted.

Tea Cakes were a similar challenge and again the two-part plastic trays have been replaced.

They are now supplied in a beautiful cardboard box, with photo image, which better communicates what the product is.  Inside the box we use another one piece fold-up food contact card insert holder.

Both Milk and Dark Chocolate Tea Cakes have now been converted.

New Chocolate Bar Slabs

All 4 were launched from the outset in a fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable card sleeve livery and biodegradable PLA film bag.

New Vegan Friendly Chocolate Truffle Whirlpools and Boxed Dazzle Drops  

Both are packed in a fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable card box livery and biodegradable PLA film bag.

“Probably” the First Fully Biodegradable Selection Box of Assorted Chocolates in the World!

Our next big challenge is to create what we believe to be the first recyclable, biodegradable and compostable Chocolate Selection Box.  Our proudly crafted delicious chocolate Truffles and Pralines will be presented in a mix of paper and board packaging.  The plan is to replace the black plastic tray with food contact board and we hope to go live in early 2019.  Watch this space, it’s not far off!

Even our reseal tags for tamper evidence are made from plant cellulose and the glue for the cartons is made from sugar and we will be changing our outer case plastic parcel tape with brown self-adhesive paper tape too.

In summary...

In just 12 months over 70% of our range has proudly been launched in or converted to  fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable packaging.  We are not hanging around!

Our remaining range will receive the upgrade as soon as possible but only as and when we exhaust our existing packaging.  We are not just throwing out packaging as this would be irresponsible. 

Please support our cause and choose Hadleigh Maid Chocolate. We are sure you will enjoy our range and now even more without the guilt of building landfill sites or filling oceans with plastic.

Go on Give us a Whirl!



The technical stuff: 

​The cardboard

Most single-use food & drink cardboard packaging products, including coffee cups and sandwich packs, are lined / laminated with plastic based film, prohibiting general recycling and as such will not degrade in landfill much before 500 years! In contrast our new cardboard packaging is:

  • Sustainable, natural and carbon balanced
  • 100% recyclable, anywhere (in any paper waste stream).
  • 100% naturally biodegradable anywhere
  • 100% naturally compostable anywhere
  • It will degrade entirely back to natural fibres if disposed by alternative methods... within just 3 months!

The bag and window patch films

These are both made from renewable and sustainable sourced PLA (Polylactic Acid) bio-based resins produced from corn or other starch/sugar sources.  The starch and sugar content of the plants used are converted into lactic acid by microorganisms via a fermentation process and the lactic acid is polymerized and becomes poly-lactic acid (PLA):

  • PLA is extruded into film and becomes flexible packaging
  • Flexible sustainable packaging is composted into CO2, water and biomass
  • Biomass is absorbed by plants, and the cycle continues making the films are 100% biodegradable, recyclable and home compostable.