Industry Insight

Bunzl's Green Initiative

Bunzl Distribution places a big focus on how they can reduce their environmental impact. The company has environmental programs in place, and they continue to review and seek to improve their performance in this area.

Bunzl focuses on sourcing and finding packaging alternatives their customers need to support their green efforts. Whether it’s foodservice packaging or green chemicals that have less of an environmental impact, Bunzl is your source.

These products fall into three major categories:

  1. Products that are recyclable.
  2. Products that are from manufacturers utilizing sustainable production practices.
  3. Products that are certified “green.”

Corporately, Bunzl focuses on three areas to affect the environment in a positive way:

  • Increasing Recycling to Reduce Landfill Waste Bunzl has a focus on strengthening recycling practices at their facilities and our vendors and customers.Reducing waste is accomplished through a comprehensive program being instituted at our locations to recycle plastic, cardboard, aluminum cans and paper. Additionally, our e-warehouse system eliminates paper documents in many warehouse functions. Bunzl is also working with our suppliers to eliminate unnecessary transit packaging and to utilize reusable packaging. We’re assisting our customers with logistics studies to streamline the supply chain and helping them find innovative ways of improving environmental performance, including reviewing the feasibility of developing a ‘closed loop recycling solution.’Together, Bunzl, our suppliers and our customers are improving the environment at every stage in the distribution process.
  • Big Steps Toward Better Fuel Efficiency Bunzl remains focused on fuel efficiency by carefully managing our fleets and introducing trucks that reduce emissions. In North America, Bunzl has implemented a vehicle tracking system to reduce engine idling time and improve fuel economy.We continue to look for innovative solutions to reduce fuel usage. For example, some plastic goods have been vacuum-packed to reduce volume and allow us to deliver more goods per vehicle.
  • Reducing Energy Consumption Across North America At many of warehouses throughout North America, Bunzl has instituted energy efficiency measures. We’ve combined a new lighting system featuring energy-efficient bright fluorescent lights with motion detectors to manage our energy use in a cost-effective way. Our new system ensures that only the active areas of the warehouse are lit and has already produced a 30% reduction in kilowatt hour usage in the facilities where implemented.

Working with our customers and vendors to reduce our mutual impact on the environment is an important Bunzl business goal. Collectively we can build a more sustainable future.

Green Products

Bunzl is taking a proactive approach to sourcing environmentally friendly products for customers and will continue this business area further in the future. For example, we are working with a manufacturer to develop plastic bags from sustainable and renewable sources, such as the tapioca plant and sugar cane.

We also offer our Green Source™ product line of certified green towel, tissue and napkin products. Follow the link below to learn more!
Green Source Towels, Tissue & Napkins

Many customers are interested in reducing their environmental impact, but currently there is much confusion regarding the terms used to describe the different plastics available (i.e. biodegradable, compostable, degradable).

Biodegradable and Compostable

Biodegradable plastic will degrade as a result of bacterial activity under specific conditions. Compostable plastic, on the other hand, is biodegradable, but the degradation of the plastic has met certain specified standards (American standard ASTM#D6400-99) relating to the rate of biodegradation, maximum residue of material left at a specific point in time and a requirement for the material to have no harmful impact on the final compost or composting process.


Bunzl has a range of products made fully or partly from materials that have been recycled, including polyethylene bin liners, carrier bags and hygiene paper. Degradable bags made from recycled plastic are also available. Currently, recycled plastics are rarely used in food packaging because of food safety concerns.

Recyclable or Reusable

These products are made from material that can be recycled. Reusing plastic is preferable to recycling as it uses less energy and fewer resources. Bunzl can supply “Bags for Life” (e.g. more robust bags which can be made from a variety of materials that can be used more than once).