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Candy company Mars is making a major change to its iconic chocolate bars: 'The challenge was to find the right ... solution'

Mars' Sustainable in a Generation Plan … aims to significantly reduce its use of virgin plastic by a third.

Mars chocolate bars revolutionary wrappers

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Mars chocolate bars will soon be wrapped in a completely different material. 

Mars Incorporated, the confectionery maker, has announced that the new, recyclable paper packaging will be available at 500 Tesco stores, The Guardian reports

Tesco, the U.K.-based groceries and general merchandise retailer, will sell Mars bars with the new packaging for a limited time starting this month. 

The Guardian also reported that Mars is looking to potentially implement different kinds of packaging and is seeking consumer feedback to explore new possibilities on how to wrap its products.

Photo Credit: Mars

It's also not the first time the company has made a decision of this kind. Earlier this year, Mars Wrigley — the company's candy division, which makes everything from Mars, 3 Musketeers, and Snickers bars to 5 gum and Altoids — announced plans to transition a portion of its chocolate bar portfolio in Australia to a new paper-based packaging. 

Meanwhile, Nestle is taking similar measures with its Kit Kat bars. 

The first fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1907. Since then, "annual production of plastics increased nearly 230-fold to 460 million tonnes [about 507 million tons] in 2019," according to Our World in Data.  

Yet, an estimated 95% of plastic may go unrecycled each year, and 14 million tons of it ends up in the world's oceans each year, much of which takes decades or more to break down completely. 

What's more, about 40% of the world's plastic comes from packaging. 

"For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality, and integrity of the product to prevent food waste," Richard Sutherland-Moore, a packaging expert at Mars Wrigley U.K.'s research and development center, told The Guardian.

The initiative of switching to paper wrapping is part of Mars' Sustainable in a Generation Plan, which aims to reduce its use of virgin plastic (newly made and not recycled) by 25%

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