Tetra Pak teams with Saudi firms to increase recycling and circularity in the region

Through forging collaborative relationships and investing in new technologies, Tetra Pak strives to help establish and foster the growth of circular economies1 in locations across the globe. Our cooperation with Obeikan Paper Industries (OPI), the largest paperboard mill in the Middle East and North Africa, enabled the development of a pioneering, highly efficient carton recycling line. We also teamed up with STP (Saudi Top Plastic) to establish a comprehensive local recycling solution for carton packages, including the recycling of PolyAl2.

Background and initiative – two pioneering collaborations

In 2017, Tetra Pak took a step towards advancing recycling initiatives by investing in a recycling line with Obeikan Paper Industries in Riyadh. This marked the first-ever investment of its kind, not only in Saudi Arabia, but also across the entire Arabian region.

Recycling all components of carton packages, especially polyAl, is a key challenge in the region. After an extensive search, Tetra Pak identified STP as the collaborator for polyAl recycling. The partnership was cemented with a signed agreement in 2020, solidifying their commitment to advancing polyAl recycling in Saudi Arabia.

Repulping line

Image: Obeikan’s new recycling line (source: OPI)

Results – technological innovation for efficient carton recycling

Tetra Pak's state-of-the-art equipment has demonstrated remarkable efficiency in recycling collected used cartons. The collaboration with Obeikan Paper Industries has enabled the development of a cutting-edge recycling line, paving the way for a sustainable approach to carton package recycling. The innovative process efficiently converts used cartons into high-quality pulp, laying the foundation for producing a diverse range of end products.

In order to establish the polyAl recycling and increase carton recycling rates in the region, an investment in a new extrusion line at STP's facility was crucial. The partnership with STP marks a milestone in enhancing recycling capabilities in Saudi Arabia and the greater Arabian region.

Looking forward – a promising future for carton recycling

Successful trials and investments have laid the groundwork for a promising future in carton recycling within Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries. Establishing the recycling line at Obeikan Paper Industries marks a significant milestone in the journey towards creating a circular economy for carton packages. Similarly, investment in the extrusion line at STP represents a significant achievement, as it is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia and the entire Arabian region. The next steps involve implementing the advanced recycling process and optimising its efficiency for maximum impact in the recycling ecosystem.

Crate made from PolyAl

Image: Crate made from PolyAl

1The circular economy refers to a system in which materials never become waste and are kept in circulation through processes including recycling, reuse and composting. It tackles environmental challenges by decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. Source: Ellenmacarthurfoundation.org, What is a circular economy?

2The non-fibre component of carton packages is known as polyAl, which designates the layers of polyolefins and aluminium being used as barrier against oxygen and humidity to protect the food content in aseptic carton packages.

Saudi Arabia

Companies involved
OPI (Obeikan Paper Industries)
Saudi Top Plastic Factory

Tetra Pak contacts
Piva Marcelo
Nasser Hussam