Arla has revealed plans to introduce more sustainable packaging for milk and yogurt in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
The dairy cooperative said by the end of the year, it is making 600 million fresh milk cartons renewable and 560 million yogurt pots recyclable.
The switch from fossil-based plastic to bio-based plastic derived from sugar cane or forest waste for milk cartons makes them 100% renewable. They are also said to also contribute 25% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared to their fossil-based plastic predecessors.
For the yogurt pots, the move to recyclable plastic means that these can be given a second life if recycling systems in the markets enable this.
The announcement marks the first big move in Arla’s new sustainable packaging strategy. The firm announced in March it is aiming to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% per kg of milk over the next decade and work towards carbon net zero emissions by 2050.
Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, Arla’s head of Europe, said: “We want to help people live a more sustainable life as well as feel good about what’s in their fridge. Fresh milk and yogurts are enjoyed on a daily basis in most households in our main markets and are also key to our retail customers.
“That’s why these items topped our list of packaging to improve from a sustainability perspective and our pan-European presence enables us to leverage our scale and impact several markets simultaneously.”
Since 2005, Arla said it has reduced the CO2 impact of its packaging by 25% and has taken 7,500 tonnes of plastic out of milk bottles in the UK.
Giørtz-Carlsen added: “Over 90% of consumers think packaging should be designed to ease recycling and they want to be able to do so in their local recycling systems. This has been a key driver of these initiatives.
“Currently around 90% of our packaging is possible to recycle in one of our core markets and we want to make all our packaging possible to recycle and feasible to do so in all our core markets by 2025. We are dependent on the recycling systems in markets being fully developed, and when they are, we’re preparing our packaging to be ready.”
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