Recyclability and the prevention of packaging leakage into the environment has become the main sustainability requirement for packaging and is defining what types of packaging will be used in the upcoming decades. Recyclability definitions developed by key stakeholders and influencers are moving from "technical recyclability" to "recycling demonstrated in practice and at scale".
Discussion has been dominated by improvement and re-design in collection and recycling systems, as well as in the design of packaging for recyclability. From 2020, we are implementing design for recycling across all developments. This will help us to become more conscious of how design decisions can impact the recycling value chain, and to make better choices.
When a recycling value chain is working well, it also prevents littering, saves resources and reduces climate impact. To ensure our recycling efforts are aligned across our business, in 2018 we established dedicated teams as part of global sustainability function, with more than 50 experts all over the world. Their role is to continue developing one of our biggest assets – our practical knowledge and experience in developing recycling value chains – and use it to expand collection and recycling of packaging in non-legislated countries.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of success. Partnership with stakeholders is critical to building sustainable recycling value chains. This is why we have an open approach to partnership and collaboration, working with a wide range of local and global stakeholders and with customers to expand packaging collection infrastructure and explore how to improve recycling by lowering transformation costs and/or improving the value of recycled materials from our carton packages.
We use high-quality raw materials to make our packaging and fulfil our mission to make food safe and available everywhere. Once our packaging has fulfilled its purpose, those raw materials should not go to waste. Instead, they can be collected and -using relatively simple techniques- recycled into something useful.
On average, more than 70 percent of our packaging material is made from long, strong paper fibres that can be recycled several times. The thin layer of polymers – or plastics – in our beverage cartons can be blended with other polymers and turned into new products, such as roofing tiles, crates, carton boxes and more.
As we continue to drive collection and fibre recycling, we are also increasing our focus on polymer recycling in our packaging. As part of our pledge to the EU Plastics Strategy, we will work with partners to ensure that by 2030, recycling solutions are in place for all components of our beverage cartons.
Recycling contributes to a low-carbon circular economy that keeps valuable materials in use. It also helps prevent littering, saves resources, and reduces climate impact.