Lausanne, Switzerland, April 19, 2023 – Tetra Pak has made new advancements in the area of recycled content, expanding its offering of packaging solutions using certified recycled polymers to cover new formats, product categories and geographies.
The expansion is a key milestone in the company’s journey towards a circular portfolio, turning waste into new resources, and reducing the industry’s dependence on virgin, fossil-based materials. It comes at a pivotal moment, aligning with the recently released European Commission’s proposal for the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.2
As the industry looks for ways to support the EU Green Deal’s goals on climate, circularity and resilient food systems, beverage cartons with certified recycled polymers are now on supermarket shelves around Europe:
These collaborations add to a successful industry first with Elvir, a subsidiary of Savencia Fromage & Dairy. For its Elle & Vire brand, the company introduced a cap for beverage cartons, using certified recycled polymers, in 2022.
Fossil-based plastic production is set to increase by 10.8% between 2021 and 20253. At the same time, 86% of shoppers are concerned about the usage of plastic and its impact on the environment, and believe that using recycled plastic is one of the best ways to tackle this challenge4. They have also started to act on it, increasingly choosing to buy products or packages with recycled material in the last year.5
Ola Elmqvist, Executive Vice President Packaging Solutions, Tetra Pak, says: “Today, the high share of renewable materials in Tetra Pak carton packages helps them feature a lower carbon footprint than many other packaging options6. But we want to go further, continuously reducing reliance on virgin, fossil-based sources and keeping materials in circulation, together with our customers.
Actions like these signify our response to stakeholder expectations, from food and beverage manufacturers to consumers and policy makers. We also see this contributing well to the ambitions of the European Commission's PPWR proposal as well as the intent of the whole industry to accelerate sustainable innovations towards increased access to safe nutrition."
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1A ‘certified recycled polymer’ is a plastic whose cost includes a premium that pays for collection, sorting, cleaning and processing of plastic waste that cannot be recycled by conventional mechanical means, into raw material for making new plastic. The third-party certification verifies that the required amount of plastic waste has been recycled into raw material for production of new plastics, thus enabling the Circular Economy approach outlined by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation https://www.iscc-system.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Mass-Balance-White-Paper.pdf
2The European Commission’s proposal for the Packaging and Packaging Waste regulation is available in full here: https://environment.ec.europa.eu/publications/proposal-packaging-and-packaging-waste_en. It includes recycled content targets for different types of packaging containing plastic – the ones relevant to beverage cartons are the targets set for contact sensitive non-PET packaging: 10% by January 1st, 2030 and 50% by January 1st, 2040. Different recycled content targets apply to single use plastic beverage bottles.
3. Erema reports fossil-based plastic production is set to increase from 370 million metric tonnes in 2021 to 410 by 2025.
4 Source: Tetra Pak Sustainable Packaging Consumer Research 2021
5 Source: Tetra Pak consumer research on Communication on recycled content – Oct 2022, involving 2,400 respondents across four markets: Australia, Germany, Spain, USA.
6 Source: ifeu 2020, “Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Tetra Pak® carton packages and alternative packaging systems for beverages and liquid food on the European market.”