Co Armagh-based Huhtamaki to create 20 new jobs in bid tackle plastic waste

Pictured at the new Huhtamaki Lurgan factory are: Steve Davey, Huhtamaki Fresh project manager; Jill Sloan, human resources manager at Huhtamaki in Lurgan; and Richard Smith, general manager of Huhtamaki, Lurgan.

PACKAGING firm Huhtamaki is to create 20 jobs in Co Armagh as part of a £7 million investment to help tackle plastic waste.

The Finnish-owned company is creating the roles at its new Lurgan production facility as it begins work on a project producing recyclable ready meal trays for customers including supermarket retailer, Waitrose.

The new facility makes the world's first home compostable oven and microwave safe fibre-based trays in the UK and jobs on offer include; cell coordinator, production operative, and maintenance technician roles.

The new fibre-based trays, known as Huhtamaki Fresh, replace the widely-used black plastic ready meal trays which, are often sent to landfill.

Waitrose is currently using the trays across its Italian ready meal range after pledging to stop using black plastic trays by the end of 2019.

Richard Smith, general manager of Huhtamaki in Lurgan said the project represents "one of the most exciting phases" in the life of the company.

"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 Co Armagh," he said.

“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 added:

“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.”

Huhtamaki currently employs around 230 people at its Lurgan site, which also makes egg boxes, drinks carriers and other moulded paper products.

Huhtamaki's parent company also owns Huhtamaki Foodservice in Belfast, which recently announced a major investment in a new factory in Antrim, where it will make paper straws for McDonald's.

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