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Following successful commercial consumer testing in 2022, Tetra Pak and Lactogal have now launched an aseptic beverage carton featuring a paper-based barrier. This is part of a large-scale technology validation, involving around 25 million packages and currently ongoing in Portugal. Made of approximately 80 % paperboard, the package increases the renewable content to 90 %, reduces its carbon footprint by one third (33 %1) and has been certified as Carbon Neutral by the Carbon Trust.2

Greenhouse gas emissions, food waste and plastic littering are cited as the top three environmental sustainability concerns facing food and beverage (F&B) businesses today, and this is expected to remain the case over the next five years.3 Packaging solutions like these, that expand the amount of paper and lower the carbon footprint, while ensuring food safety, can help the industry overcome these challenges.

In 2015, Tetra Pak was the first in the industry to introduce a package made fully from plant-based renewable materials – paperboard and sugarcane-based plastic. The Tetra Rex® Plant-based package, suitable for cold chain distribution, is fully renewable, and the company has delivered approximately 6.5 billion of these packages to customers around the world to date.

Now, the launch of the Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Slim Leaf carton with paper-based barrier, together with Lactogal, provides a package that can be distributed under ambient conditions, while hitting the 90% renewable content mark. This brings Tetra Pak one step closer to its ambition of a beverage carton made solely from responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials, fully recyclable and carbon neutral. The company is aiming for industrial scale production of the solution by 2025.

1Certified by the Carbon Trust – benchmark: Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Slim Leaf carton package with aluminium foil layer.
2“Carbon neutral” means that, after reducing the CO2 emissions by converting the package’s fossil-based polymers into plant-based polymers to the highest possible extent, the residual CO2 emissions associated with the packaging manufacture are offset by funding Gold Standard-certified climate projects around the world.
3Tetra Pak B2B research on Planetary Challenges and their impact on F&B manufacturers’ operations (2023).

Stora Enso and Tetra Pak are jointly examining a shared beverage carton recycling solution to meet the growing recycling need in Benelux, responding to the demand for circular paper-based packaging solutions. The joint feasibility study includes a plan for a comprehensive beverage carton recycling facility at Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge site in Belgium. Processing of the fibers would take place at the Langerbrugge site, while the polymer and aluminum barrier materials would be recycled by a dedicated partner.

Approximately 75,000 tonnes of beverage cartons are put on the Benelux market annually, a growing volume of which more than 70 % is already collected for recycling. Currently, there is no existing beverage carton recycling infrastructure in Benelux. This collaboration between Stora Enso and Tetra Pak would create a complete recycling system for beverage cartons in Benelux and surrounding regions.
Within the solution, Stora Enso would process collected beverage cartons and recover the fibers. The recycled fibers would serve as source material for producing recycled containerboard within the Langerbrugge site, delivering a fully circular solution. Tetra Pak would secure a recycling solution for polymer and aluminum materials to be processed by a dedicated partner.

The recycling project is linked to Stora Enso’s recently announced feasibility study to potentially convert one of the Langerbrugge site’s paper lines into a high-volume recycled containerboard line. This feasibility study is expected to conclude in the first half of 2023. Upon on a decision to invest, the recycled containerboard line is expected to be in production during 2025. The joint study with Tetra Pak will follow the same timeline.

The proposed recycling line in Langerbrugge will initially process an estimated 50,000 tonnes of recycled cartons per year with the potential to increase.

“With this joint initiative, we underline our commitment to local recycling progress and improving infrastructure in Benelux, a region with high volumes of collected beverage cartons. Stora Enso is a trusted and important partner which has the know-how and experience we need in fiber recycling. Together with them, we have the potential to put in place a circular solution that helps us secure a world where a growing number of carton packages is collected, recycled and we can minimise litter” – Chakib Kara, Managing Director France & Benelux, Tetra Pak.

“At Stora Enso, we constantly pursue opportunities to deepen our commitment to a circular packaging future. Circularity advancement requires smart investments and collaboration with the right partners. By working jointly with Tetra Pak, we can simultaneously create value, enhance circularity, and grow our competitiveness.” – Markku Luoto, VP LPB Aseptic and CUK, Stora Enso.

Beverage cartons contain high-quality fresh fibers that are an excellent source material for producing recycled paper containerboard. The Langerbrugge site offers a strategically important location to enable a local paper-based packaging circularity solution. Further, beverage carton collection for recycling is already advanced in Benelux.

Diageo, makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, announced that it has created the world’s first ever 100 % plastic free paper-based spirits bottle, made entirely from sustainably sourced wood. The bottle will debut with Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch Whisky, in early 2021.

It comes as Diageo announces that it has launched a new partnership with Pilot Lite, a venture management company, to launch Pulpex Limited, a new world-leading sustainable packaging technology company. To ensure that the technology can be used in every area of life, Pulpex Limited has established a partner consortium of world leading FMCG companies in non-competing categories including Unilever, and PepsiCo, with further partners expected to be announced later in the year. The consortium partners are each expecting to launch their own branded paper bottles, based on Pulpex Limited’s design and technology, in 2021.

Pulpex Limited has developed a ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalable paper-based bottle designed and developed to be 100 % plastic free and expected to be fully recyclable. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and will be fully recyclable in standard waste streams. The technology will allow brands to rethink their packaging designs, or move existing designs into paper, whilst not compromising on the existing quality of the product.

Pulpex Limited’s technology allows it to produce a variety of plastic-free, single mould bottles that can be used across a range of consumer goods. The packaging has been designed to contain a variety of liquid products and will form part of Diageo’s commitment towards Goal 12 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’.