Tetra Pak embraces the bio-based and circular economy


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Tetra Pak U.S. released a new white paper examining the use of materials in packaging that can be regrown or replenished naturally as a solution to the planet’s growing resource scarcity and to sustain the future of the consumer packaged goods industry.


The paper is part of the launch of a new campaign, Moving To The Front, encouraging suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners, NGOs and others to expand focus from the mid and end of the packaging life cycle to the beginning. The company’s efforts highlight the need for broader embrace and acceptance of industry practices that focus on the importance of material sourcing in protecting our world’s limited natural resources and how these practices can create long-term shared value for businesses and society. As the global population grows and demand increases for consumer packaged goods and packaging, global supplies of clean air, water, oil, natural gas, and minerals are under greater pressure, potentially disrupting entire supply chains.

“While recycling will continue to be a key part of a restorative circular economy, it is not the only component”, said Elisabeth Comere, Director, Environment and Government Affairs at Tetra Pak.

“As we note in our paper, What is Renewability in Packaging and Why Should We Care? the finite nature of these resources means that the time to change and innovate is now,” she added. “Packaging can be a tool for conservation; it has the potential to drive demand for sustainably produced raw material at an immense scale,” said Erin Simon, manager of packaging and material science at World Wildlife Fund. “It’s exciting to see Tetra Pak embracing this model, and – even more important – encouraging others to Move to the Front on packaging.”

“As we have always seen it, renewability, which is using a resource that can be regrown or replenished naturally over time, such as paperboard-based packaging and bio-based polyethylene (PE) can have a positive impact on our global economic stability and the ongoing health and biodiversity of our planet,” Comere said.

“We want to encourage our suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners and others to understand what we all stand to gain in terms of planet and business impact by adopting these practices,” she added.

According to Brian Kennell, President and CEO, Tetra Pak Inc., businesses that adopt renewability practices will: Realize business growth because long term supply resources will be secured and retailer preference and consumer demand for packaging made with renewable materials will grow. Manage and mitigate risks caused by geopolitical threats to sourcing more effectively, leading to a more reliable supply chain with less business disruption around supply of resources and better ability to manage costs and experience less price volatility. Build brand equity, differentiation and emotional connections with consumers because as consumer knowledge around resource scarcity grows, so too will their demand for packaging with renewable content, as it did around recycling.

As noted in the white paper, decades of promotion and education around recycling changed societal practices and businesses focused on securing sustainable end-of-life solutions to products and packaging.

“We don’t want to lose any ground on recycling or other commitments where we and others have been successful,” Kennell said. “But a company’s license to operate is now firmly based in its ability to mitigate and reduce the impacts of products at all life cycle stages. Acting at the front end is a must in today’s economy.”In the coming months, Tetra Pak will be engaging suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners, NGOs and other stakeholders to join the Moving To The Front campaign. “We’re asking these groups and others to help educate and advocate for broad acceptance of renewability practices that ensure the security of the packaging industry and the sustainability of natural resources for generations to come,” said Comere.

Tetra Pak is the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions. Last March the company headquartered in Sweden announced the launch of the world’s first bio-based opening for gable top packages.Manufactured using high density polyethylene (HDPE) derived from sugar cane, the bio-based version of TwistCap OSO 34 marks another step forward in Tetra Pak’s ambition to make fully renewable packages. In 2013, the company delivered 1.1 billion bio-caps globally, an increase of more than 80% over the previous year. 80% of the material in a one-litre Tetra Rex carton is paperboard, which is made from wood, a renewable resource. By introducing the new bio-based cap, the content of renewable material in the package increases by an additional 4%, helping to further improve the environmental performance of the package without compromising its functionality or recyclability.

“Launches of bio-based caps have been appreciated by customers like Valio, the Finnish dairy who is the first to use the new version of TwistCap OSO 34 for its products,” said Christina Chester, Product Director at Tetra Pak. “We are glad that customers see value in our efforts to help them boost their environmental profile.”

Tetra Pak customers using the standard TwistCap OSO 34 can easily transfer to the bio-based version without the need for any additional investment or modification to their existing filling machines.

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