17 June 2019 News
Packaging company Huhtamaki is to create 20 jobs at its Lurgan site to work on the first stages of a ground-breaking new project producing recyclable ready meal trays which will help reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfill globally.
The jobs, which include cell coordinators, production operatives, and maintenance technicians, are a key part of the innovative Finnish-owned company’s investment of £7m, with funding support by the BBI JU Horizon 2020 program, in a new plant which will make the world’s first home compostable oven and microwave safe fibre-based trays in the UK for, amongst others Waitrose.
The production facility will revolutionise the ready meal market and plays a key role in Huhtamaki’s sustainability commitment to produce alternatives to plastic. The company is now hiring for the positions ahead of the plant’s full commissioning.
Huhtamaki currently employs around 230 people at the Lurgan plant which also makes egg boxes, drinks carriers and other moulded paper products.
The new fibre-based trays, known as Huhtamaki Fresh, replace the widely-used black plastic ready meal trays which, because the lasers used by recycling companies find it difficult to recognise the colour effectively, end up being sent to landfill.
Huhtamaki Fresh trays feel like cardboard, are Forest Stewardship Council certified, are able to be rinsed and recycled in the same manner as paper or can be composted at home.
Waitrose is currently using the new trays across its Italian ready meal range after pledging to stop using black plastic trays by the end of 2019. The switch has already saved 160 tonnes of single use plastic.
With regulations rapidly tightening around single-use plastics, other retailers are expected to follow suit in the future, creating significant demand for alternative recyclable products.
Richard Smith, General Manager of Huhtamaki (Lurgan), said: “This is one of the most exciting phases in the life of Huhtamaki in Lurgan, so far, and we want to expand our committed team to prepare for the next stage of that journey. Our new Huhtamaki Fresh tray does away with the need for black plastic, revolutionising the ready meal market and opening up vast potential for a product which is produced right here in County Armagh.
“We are providing the answers to some of the biggest issues facing the packaging world today while at the same time offering one of the most rewarding careers for the right candidates.”
Jill Sloan, Human Resources Manager at Huhtamaki (Lurgan), said: “These are exciting opportunities for people who want to work in a global, innovative business at the cutting edge of product development. Our people are at the heart of the business here at Huhtamaki and we make sure we provide an environment which allows our employees to grow and thrive.”
Applications for the new roles are open now at: https://huhtamaki.getgotjobs.co.uk/home
Huhtamaki’s parent company also owns Huhtamaki Foodservice Belfast which manufactures drinks cups and recently announced a major investment in a new factory in Antrim where it will make paper straws for McDonald’s, again replacing a plastic product.
Jill Sloan, Human Resources Manager at Huhtamaki (Lurgan)