Tetra Pak ups its circular approach with recycled polymers

Tetra Pak has expanded its offering of packaging solutions using certified recycled polymers to cover new formats, product categories and geographies.

21 Nov 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

Tetra Pak’s approach to circularity includes minimising dependency on fossil-based resources, responsibly sourcing raw materials, designing packages for enhanced recycling and reduced litter, and building partnerships to strengthen collection and recycling infrastructure worldwide.

The expansion of Tetra Pak’s offering of packaging solutions using certified recycled polymer is a step towards its circular packaging portfolio.

In February 2021, Tetra Pak announced that carton packages using certified recycled polymers are available for food and beverage customers. The following year, it partnered with French customer Elvir, a subsidiary of Savencia Fromage & Dairy, to launch a beverage carton with a cap using certified recycled polymers for its Elle & Vire brand.

In February 2023, Lactalis Group, a world-leading dairy player, revamped its organic ambient liquid cream in Tetra Brik aseptic cartons, under its Bridélice and Président brands with certified recycled polymers in the packaging material – a first in France. The development supports the Group’s efforts to foster innovative solutions towards a more circular packaging economy.

Switzerland’s market leader in dairy, Emmi recently introduced a carton using certified recycled polymers in the packaging material. It's the good day Milk Drink, packaged in Tetra Top 1000 base carton packages. By 2027, Emmi will see the usage of at least 30% recycled materials in all its packaging.

Fossil-based plastic production is set to increase by 10.8% between 2021 and 2025. Simultaneously, 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 challenge. They have also started to act on it, increasingly choosing to buy products or packages with recycled material in the last year.

Ola Elmqvist, executive vice-president of packaging solutions at 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 options. 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 policymakers. 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,” added Elmqvist.

Tetra Pak is investing 100-million euros per year over the next five to ten years to further develop sustainable packaging solutions. Design for recycling, simplifying material structures, increasing the paper content, and shifting away from virgin, fossil-based plastics are key here. 

Today, a one-litre Tetra Pak carton package is typically made of approximately 70% paperboard, 25% plastic and 5% aluminium to protect the product inside. This high share of renewable materials helps beverage cartons feature a lower carbon footprint than many other packages. They are designed for recycling and are
recyclable wherever the necessary infrastructure exists.

Tetra Pak's extended range of beverage cartons, featuring certified recycled polymers, coincides with a crucial juncture as it aligns with the recently proposed Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation by the European Commission. The regulation aims to reduce packaging waste and achieve full recyclability or reusability for all packaging by 2030.

Tags : Tetra Pak
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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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