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SIG has teamed up with the social enterprise Plastic Bank and an experienced partner in development cooperation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, to unveil a project set to reshape Egypt’s recycling landscape while increasing security for waste collection members.

Egypt generates more than 95 million tons of waste annually and currently only 60 % of this waste is collected, with less than 20% of that being properly disposed of or recycled*. At present there is no formalized system for waste collection and recycling. The partnership between SIG, GIZ Egypt, and the social enterprise Plastic Bank aims to address this pressing issue and achieve positive change. In a three-year initiative, the partners are on a mission to collect 700 metric tons of beverage cartons, while also aiming to improve the livelihood for around 1,000 local waste collection members via blockchain.

The PlasticBank® app, backed by the social enterprise’s proprietary blockchain-secured platform, provides traceability and transparency in waste collection, empowering waste collectors to convert every piece of discarded material into a source of revenue. Waste collection members will be able to log each collected product via the app to earn incentives deposited directly into their digital wallets and gain access to social benefits, including health, work and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers, school supplies, and more. Furthermore, the waste collection members will undergo training and receive personal safety equipment for their well-being at work.

By streamlining and tracking the collection and recycling of waste, including used beverage cartons, this project also takes a broader role for laying the groundwork for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model in Egypt. It aligns closely with the Egypt Waste Management Regulatory Authority to weave recycling into the legislative framework and underscores the important role of packaging manufacturers in environmental stewardship.

Abdelghany Eladib, President & General Manager India, Middle East and Africa at SIG: “Our new partnership goes one step further in accelerating our progress towards a circular economy. Extending social waste collection and recycling programs like this one in Egypt will help to achieve our goals and is a blueprint for future programs. By establishing a recycling system for beverage cartons in the Greater Cairo area and beyond, SIG is focused on reducing the environmental impact und creating a market for recycled paper.”

This project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding program “develoPPP” and its special initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition”.

*https://www.rvo.nl/files/file/2022-11/Quick-scan-in-the-Egyptian-Economy.pdf

SIG announces the launch of the uniquely different on-the-go carton bottle SIG DomeMini. The small-size carton pack offers all the convenience of a plastic bottle and the sustainability benefits of a carton pack.

Designed to captivate attention, SIG DomeMini encourages consumers to rethink their packaging choices, especially when it comes to sustainability. Beverage manufacturers also have the opportunity to choose a solution that puts significantly less plastic on the market and caters to the growing “paperisation” trend.

Designed for recycling, SIG DomeMini is mainly made from FSC™-certified paperboard and produced using 100 % renewable electricity. With the high share of forest-based renewable material as well as a sophisticated resource-efficient and space-saving design, SIG DomeMini comes with a number of environmental benefits compared to alternative packaging options like plastic bottles.

SIG DomeMini offers excellent ergonomic benefits to various consumers, such as travellers and commuters. The centrally positioned SIG DomeMiniCap is perfect for drinking just like from a bottle. It is easy to open and reclose. This ensures safe storage in bags, ready to drink from whenever needed.

The SIG DomeMini 12 Aseptic filling machine is capable of aseptically filling 12,000 packages per hour – in a total of seven volume sizes from 180 to 350 ml on one and the same machine with volume change in just 15 minutes. This maximises efficiency and flexibility, providing an excellent return on investment for beverage manufacturers.

The first market launch of SIG DomeMini is in China, with expansion to other countries on the way.

With a joint investment of around EUR 29 million by Tetra Pak and Stora Enso, a new recycling line for post-consumer beverage cartons is starting operations in Poland. The line has the potential to triple the annual recycling capacity of beverage cartons in the country – from 25,000 to 75,000 tonnes – and provides scope to absorb the entire volume of beverage cartons sold in Poland, as well as additional volumes from neighbouring countries, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

Featuring an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes, the state-of-the-art line at Stora Enso’s production unit in Ostrołęka (Poland) handles solely beverage carton material separation, detaching fibres from polymers and aluminium. The fibres are then recycled into cardboard materials, effectively contributing to material circularity by turning used paper-based packaging into new paper-based packaging materials. This new paper recycling facility is complemented by Czech company Plastigram Industries, that, together with Tetra Pak, is industrialising a solution to recycle polyAl1 into new products.

The new line is set to ramp up recycling of beverage cartons throughout Central and Eastern Europe, signaling the beverage carton industry’s willingness to support the circularity goals of the proposed EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), and showcasing the pivotal role of recycling in helping the green transition of the food packaging sector. The industry has already invested approximately EUR 200 million to increase the capacity for beverage carton recycling in the EU and plans to invest a further EUR 120 million by 2027.2

1The non-fibre component of carton packages is known as polyAl, which designates the layers of polyolefins and aluminium being used as barrier against oxygen and humidity to protect the food content in aseptic carton packages.
2https://www.beveragecarton.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ACE-Impact-assessment-study-of-an-EU-wide-collection-for-recycling-target-of-beverage-cartons-Roland-Berger.pdf

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) has announced that its Genshagen manufacturing site near Berlin is the latest to be certified as carbon neutral, in line with the international PAS 2060 standard.

This is CCEP’s first carbon neutral site in Germany, and one of six across its markets.

The certification follows a range of significant efforts to drive down emissions at Genshagen, which were reduced by around 70 % between 2014 to 2021 following improvements to energy and water efficiency along with recycling.

Genshagen is one of six CCEP sites to be certified as carbon neutral, as part of CCEP’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2040 and reduce our GHG emissions across our entire value chain by 30 % by 2030 (vs. 2019). Sites are selected to apply for certification based on their previous carbon reductions and, once certified, will continue to work to reduce emissions year-on-year in line with PAS 2060 requirements.

The Genshagen site is one of 14 CEP plants in Germany, with around 180 people working to bottle 21 different beverages on three production lines including Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Fanta.

The news follows CCEP Germany’s recent investment into reusable packaging, with a commitment of 140 million euros for returnable bottles. The investment will fund a new filling line in Lüneburg, Northern Germany, along with a new packaging machine for glass bottles in Mönchengladbach, West Germany, boosting CCEP’s plans to expand the availability of drinks sold in returnable glass bottles.

The pollution of water and soil by waste is one of the biggest problems for our environment. Indonesia is the second-biggest contributor of plastic waste in the world, producing over 5 million tons of plastic waste per year with around 3 million tons disposed to the waters around the country. One of the main reasons is that many small islands have no waste collection and no municipal disposal system for household and other waste. Due to a lack of knowledge about the dangers involved, people dump their waste in landfills, burn it or dispose of it in the sea.

With the Recycle for Good program, SIG and the SIG Way Beyond Good Foundation want to change people’s behavior and promote a mindful use of natural resources. The program is designed to encourage the public to drop off recyclable waste such as beverage cartons, glass, plastic or cooking oil at a collection point and thus return it to the cycle. In return, they receive food vouchers or coupons for other goods and services that they can exchange at Recycle for Good partners. The materials are sorted on site and recycled by a recycling partner.

SIG Way Beyond Good Foundation envisions a future where good nutrition and clean water are available to everyone and natural habitats are preserved for the future generation.

With the experience of SO+MA, a Brazilian social startup that has been working with SIG since 2018 to promote the circular economy through a reward system, the foundation developed its global Recycle for Good program. Indonesia launched the program as the first country in Southeast Asia on March 3, 2023, at Cibubur Junction in East Jakarta, where a Recycle for Good drop point is located. Later, the program will be replicated.

Plastipak, a global leader in the design, manufacture and recycling of plastic containers has announced the formal opening of a major recycling investment at its manufacturing site in Toledo, Spain by Don Emiliano García-Page, President of the Castilla-La Mancha Region. The new recycling facility converts PET flake into food-grade recycled PET (rPET) pellets suitable for direct use in new preforms, bottles and containers.

The new recycling plant will produce 20,000 tonnes of food-grade recycled pellet per year and will eliminate recycled resin transport-related emissions since it is co-located at Plastipak’s current preform manufacturing site. The recycling plant is Plastipak’s fifth recycling facility, with other recycling plants located in USA, France, Luxembourg and United Kingdom. In Europe, Plastipak is the largest producer of food-grade rPET, with well over 150,000 tonnes of rPET capacity per annum.

Pedro Martins, Plastipak’s Executive Managing Director Europe, said “The use of rPET is a key tool in reducing our customer’s Scope 3 related emissions and forms an important part of their ESG-packaging related commitments. As well as supporting our customers to reduce their financial obligations under the planned Spanish plastics tax, the plant will also contribute to the meeting the minimum recycled content levels mandated by the Single Use Plastics Directive.”

To support on-site energy generation, the state-of-the-art facility incorporates advanced energy-saving technologies and equipment that includes the rooftop installation of over 1800 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The PV panels are expected to generate more than 1339 MWh of electricity per year that will be consumed entirely on-site, saving more than 443 tonnes of CO2 per year through the avoidance of consumption of electricity from the national grid. This is in addition to the CO2 avoided by using the 20,000 tonnes of recycled resin instead of virgin resin.

SIG announced a BRL 10 million investment in innovative recycling technology that will enable polymers and aluminium from used aseptic carton packs to be recovered and sold separately for the first time on an industrial scale in Brazil. By expanding the range of applications for recycled materials from used aseptic cartons, SIG expects to increase their value by more than 50 %.

Innovative recycling technology

The renewable paper board that makes up around 75 % of aseptic carton packs on average can be separated for recycling in paper mills through Brazil’s existing recycling infrastructure. The polyethylene and aluminium mix (polyaluminium or PolyAl) left over from this process can be recycled into a robust material for purposes such as roofing, pallets and furniture.

SIG’s recycling plant will use innovative technology that makes it possible to separate the polyethylene from the aluminium in PolyAl to create a wider market and demand for these recycled materials. Developed over five years with project partner ECS Consulting, the new technology has already undergone a pilot project that proved the effectiveness of the chemical recycling process.

The new recycling plant is currently in construction in the state of Paraná. It is expected to begin operating in 2024 with an initial production capacity of 200 tonnes per month. Together with industry partners, SIG has also invested in a plant in Germany to separate polymers and aluminium from PolyAl that went into production in 2021.
Ethical collection programmes

Investing in new technology to create a wider market for recycled materials is an important step in increasing recycling rates for used aseptic cartons. SIG has already led the way with innovative programmes to support two other important steps: collection of used packaging from consumers and separation of that packaging to go into the right recycling streams.

SIG’s so+ma vantagens programme, run in partnership with NGO so+ma since 2018, enables people in underprivileged communities to collect loyalty points for bringing in waste for recycling. The points can then be exchanged for rewards, such as essential food products and skills training. SIG is now expanding this model to promote recycling and bring additional societal benefits to further municipalities in Brazil and beyond.

SIG also promotes public policies for selective waste collection in Brazil, and supports effective infrastructure and decent working conditions for waste collectors’ cooperatives as a seed investor in the Recicleiros Cidades programme. Set up with NGO Recicleiros in 2018, the programme is now operational in 13 municipalities and aims to reach 60 by 2027.

TotalEnergies Corbion is stepping up its efforts in closing the recycling loop for PLA. To stimulate collecting, sorting, and cleaning of PLA waste and to facilitate a marketplace for PLA recycle streams, TotalEnergies Corbion is actively buying reprocessed PLA waste. The advanced recycling process allows for the PLA to be recycled back into Luminy® rPLA with the exact same properties and certifications as virgin Luminy® PLA.

TotalEnergies Corbion stimulates recycling of PLA
(Photo: TotalEnergies Corbion)

In Europe, the success of advanced recycling of PLA is exemplified by the NaKu bottled water from Austria. The NaKu bottle is made of 100 % biobased plastic (PLA), it is therefore recyclable and compostable (according to EN 13432). The bottles, made of Luminy® PLA are 100 % recyclable and contain 20 % recycled content which is third-party certified by SCS Global Services. After use the bottles are collected, sorted, cleaned and the resulting PLA is mechanically recycled into different applications.

In Asia, another strong example of PLA recyclability is Sansu in Korea. Sansu bottles water in Luminy® PLA. After use the bottles are collected, sorted, cleaned and the resulting PLA is advanced recycled into Luminy® rPLA. Luminy® rPLA has the exact same mechanical properties, food contact and other certifications as virgin PLA.

“At various jazz and music festivals in Korea PLA drinking cups are exclusively used. The cups are collected, sorted and send for advanced recycling in our plant in Thailand. This close loop concept is not new and with the advanced recycling that TotalEnergies Corbion has developed, this is now a reality” said ChowPin Tan, Senior Business Development Director Asia Pacific at TotalEnergies Corbion.

Sidel has opened a new hub dedicated to PET recycling. At its unique small-scale PET recycling pilot line in Octeville, France, Sidel will develop its understanding of PET recycling with the aim of giving comprehensive support to the market as it switches to greater use of recycled PET.

Seeking carbon neutrality, the packaging industry is in the middle of a transition period that aims to replace virgin PET with recycled PET. Sidel is engaging with this transition to circular packaging solutions, enabling r-PET to be more widely used. The unique small-scale PET recycling line will allow Sidel to develop advanced knowledge about the recycling of food-contact PET bottles. As Sidel packaging experts assess the impact of additives and primary packaging materials on r-PET resin the facility will become an important reference for raw material producers, recyclers and recycling regulatory organisations. The line will also enable Sidel to further develop its own knowledge, ideas and innovative packaging solutions.

Helping to meet demand for r-PET

Demand for r-PET is increasing and the market is developing as brand owners seek carbon neutral solutions. The amount of recycled PET in packaging globally has increased to 8 % compared to 5 % in 2018. In Europe, the average is already 15 % and is projected to grow to 35 % in 2030.1

“There is a big move towards recycled PET, but demand is outstripping supply,” says Naima Boutroy, Sidel’s Global Packaging Expert. “The market still has a lot to learn and we can provide valuable insights. There is a variability in recycled PET resin grades, and standardisation is still in development. We need to address this to create the best possible finished bottles. Our line will test the recyclability of post-consumer PET bottles from different feed stocks, including additives and caps as well as labels, inks and glue. We will be working with traditional Sidel customers such as brand owners, converters and co-packers, as well as other suppliers like raw material producers, recyclers and regulatory organisations, to enable the scaling-up of r-PET capacity. We can also check any innovations comply with bottle-to-bottle recycling.”

Fully-equipped line to study entire process

Sidel’s new line will take raw material from industrial partners such as sorting facilities, recyclers and brand owners. It will then recreate and study all aspects of the process from bales to flakes including pellets ready to be injected into preform, injection and blow moulding.

Sidel will give the packaging industry the opportunity to access a fully equipped pilot line. This line covers every step of the recycling process: from washing, drying and pellet extrusion, to solid-state polymerisation, including dedicated process and laboratory controls at every step.

Making PET a more sustainable choice

PET is proven to be recyclable and is the only food-safe bottle-to-bottle recycled material, but the market has yet to see the production of standardised r-PET resin grade in high quantities; achieving this could facilitate the market conversion from virgin PET to r-PET. Lifecycle analysis shows that PET already has the best carbon footprint among materials currently available; creating a robust recycling loop to achieve full circularity at scale will make PET an even more sustainable choice.

Sidel to become one-stop shop for r-PET

Sidel’s investment in the r-PET pilot line is unparalleled in the packaging industry and will also empower Sidel in shaping the packaging solutions of tomorrow. The line, which has a holistic bottle-to-bottle approach, is just one of a range of services that Sidel is establishing under the name RePETable services. The services will draw upon Sidel’s 40+ years of blowing and packaging expertise, to support brand owners and convertors in producing r-PET bottles through line upgrade solutions, packaging optimisation, blowing process qualification, troubleshooting, r-PET processing training.

 

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.

Novelis Inc., a leading sustainable aluminum solutions provider and a world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, announced it will invest USD 2.5 billion to build a new low-carbon recycling and rolling plant in Bay Minette, Alabama, US. The highly advanced facility will have an initial 600 kilotonnes of finished aluminum goods capacity per year.

“This investment marks the start of another transformational growth phase for Novelis,” said Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group and the Novelis Board of Directors. “We continue to invest in each of the markets Novelis serves – from beverage can to automotive, aerospace and specialties – and in all geographies. Novelis has a track record of success in delivering customers the low-carbon, sustainable aluminum solutions they seek, and we will continue that storied history with this investment and others to come.”

More than half of the capacity of the new facility will be used to serve growing demand for aluminum beverage can sheet in North America, which is driven by consumer preference for more sustainable packaging.

“Through this investment, we are making a demonstrative commitment to continue to grow alongside our customers and meet their needs for low-carbon, highly sustainable aluminum solutions,” said Steve Fisher, President and CEO of Novelis Inc. “In addition, we are well-positioned to efficiently expand capacity at this facility in the future – above the 600 kt announced today – to capture ongoing strong demand. Our readiness to invest to serve growing markets is a perfect example of how we are delivering on our company purpose of shaping a sustainable world together.”

Novelis’ decision to build a fully integrated, greenfield recycling and rolling plant is backed by strong North American demand for flat-rolled, low-carbon aluminum from can makers and beverage companies. Aluminum beverage cans, bottles and cups are the models of sustainable packaging and the circular economy. With an average “can-to-can” lifecycle of just a couple of months, a can that is recycled today can be back on store shelves in as little as 60 days.

“As the world’s leading supplier of infinitely recyclable aluminum beverage packaging, Ball is committed to creating a circular economy within the aluminum industry and decarbonizing the value chain is fundamental to this work,” said Ron Lewis, Ball Corporation’s chief operating officer, global beverage packaging. “Novelis’ new recycling and rolling plant will not only add much needed domestic production of sustainable aluminum here in North America but will do so while decreasing the carbon footprint of the products we create.”

The facility will be the first fully integrated aluminum mill built in the U.S. in 40 years. It is expected to create up to 1,000 high-paying, advanced careers in modern manufacturing. It will also be the most sophisticated and sustainable of its kind. It will aim to be net carbon neutral for Scope 1 and 2, be powered primarily by renewable energy, use recycled water and be a zero-waste facility. It will also rely on railroad transportation, which can reduce logistics-related carbon emissions by up to 70 % compared to road transport. The plant will make significant use of advanced automation and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and robotics.

With the addition of a new recycling center for beverage cans, Novelis will soon be able to recycle 90 billion cans globally, up from the 74 billion used beverage cans the company currently recycles. To support this, Novelis has been working to develop circular economies for aluminum through state and federal public policies, as well as through partnerships with customers and other stakeholders on new approaches that encourage and incentivise U.S. consumers to recycle more often.

“Aluminum cans are an important form of packaging that, when recycled, play a vital role in our overall efforts to reduce waste,” said John Murphy, Chief Financial Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. “The announcement of this new, low-carbon recycling and rolling facility by our longtime partners at Novelis will benefit the Coca-Cola system, our customers and consumers, while reducing impact on the environment.”

Site work is under way now and the company expects to begin commissioning in mid-2025.

In addition to the beverage can market, the facility will also serve the automotive market, where aluminum is the fastest growing material as automakers make plans to achieve their sustainability goals.

AIJN joined forces with NMWE, UNESDA, the Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe to call on EU decision-makers to create the right enabling policy framework and help our industries accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

AIJN, together with Europe’s non-alcoholic beverage industry represented by Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, and leading NGOs, including Changing Markets Foundation and Zero Waste Europe, call on EU decision-makers to create the right enabling policy framework to help accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Europe. Our organisations underline the need to ensure resource-efficient waste management systems to enable close-loop recycling. We also call for a “priority access”, or a similar mechanism that guarantees a “right of first refusal” to beverage producers to facilitate their fair access to the food-grade recycled materials coming from the products they placed on the market and which were successfully collected.

The EU Circular Economy Action Plan has the ambition of accelerating the transition to a circular economy. This will require significant changes in the way we collect, reuse, recycle and incorporate recycled materials. Achieving fully closed and resource-efficient waste management systems for all materials should be the primary objective. The more closed-loop a system is, the more resource efficient it will be by delivering quality recycled materials which can be re-used multiple times for the same application. Therefore, for each sector, the ultimate goal should be to achieve «closed-loop recycling». With the right enabling policy framework this can be achieved.

Read the recommendations here and see the position paper attached below as well.

Plastipak, a global leader in the design, manufacture and recycling of plastic containers has completed a major investment to significantly expand its PET recycling capacity at its manufacturing site in Bascharage, Luxembourg.

The original PET recycling facility in Luxembourg opened in 2008 and this new expansion increases annual production capacity by 136 %. The installation and commissioning of the expansion took 12 months and has officially opened.

The recycling facility is co-located with Plastipak’s flagship preform and container manufacturing facility and converts washed rPET flakes originating from post-consumer bottles into food-grade recycled PET (rPET) pellets.

The rPET produced at the site is converted into new preforms and containers produced at the Bascharage facility, which principally serves the German and Benelux food and beverage markets. The expansion complements Plastipak’s existing recycling facilities in France, UK and USA, and follows the recent announcement of a new recycling facility at its plant in Toledo, Spain.

“This latest investment to increase our capacity in rPET production actively demonstrates Plastipak’s long-term commitment to bottle-to-bottle recycling and our leadership in the PET circular economy” explained Pedro Martins, Executive Managing Director of Plastipak’s European division. “Plastipak is the leading producer of food-grade rPET in Europe, with the majority of the post-consumer recycled material we use in Europe produced in-house”.

“Plastipak began producing post-consumer recycled resins for packaging customers in 1989, and has had many expansions in North America and Europe since then. We are excited to continue supporting our global packaging customers in achieving their sustainability goals” said Dave Stajninger, Plastipak’s Global recycling Business Manager.

Plastipak is a major convertor of recycled PET, which represents 27 % of the total resin consumed in Plastipak’s European sites in 2020. At the site of this latest rPET expansion, Bascharage, the proportion of recycled resin consumed in 2020 was 45.3 %.

An SIG-backed beverage carton recycling project has won a A$1.74 million grant from the Federal and New South Wales (NSW) Government towards setting up a A$5 million facility that will turn post-consumer beverage cartons and paper cups into high performance building material. The project is funded by the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

The Australian and NSW Governments and the companies behind the project expect the facility will create confidence in a new market for recycled construction materials, similar to roads made from recycled glass, and enable more packaging to become 100 per cent recyclable, in line with Australian national packaging targets.

The project is the first collaboration between SIG and Tetra Pak in Australia under the umbrella of the Global Recycling Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (GRACE) and is a joint initiative with saveBOARD and its supporters Freightways and Closed Loop.

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) says this is a fantastic step forward for beverage cartons and for the brands and consumers that use this important type of packaging.

saveBOARD co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Charteris says making high-performance low-carbon building materials using 100 % recycled materials from everyday waste is a game-changer that will transform the construction industry in Australia.

The first Australian saveBOARD plant will reprocess liquid paperboard beverage containers, including both aluminium-lined aseptic packages and non-aluminium-lined containers collected through the container deposit scheme and coffee cups collected through the ‘Simply Cups’ recycling program. It will also source material from document recycling company Shred-X.

Together with supplementary material from industrial processes, these items will be used to manufacture high-performance low-carbon building products to substitute plaster board, particle board, and oriented strand board (OSB) that can be used for interior and exterior applications.

The saveBOARD process uses heat and compression to bond materials, eliminating the need for glues or other chemical additives, to produce a clean product with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), suitable for use in homes and commercial buildings.

Sun-Rype Products, a division of A. Lassonde Inc., a Canadian fruit-based food and beverage manufacturer, announced that they have replaced plastic straws with recyclable, bendable paper straws on all SunRype 200 ml single-serve beverage boxes in Canada. This includes all of SunRype’s 200 ml 100 per cent juice, and 200 ml 60 per cent less sugar juice products.

“We are on track to meet our sustainable development objectives by 2025,” said Claire Bara, President, A. Lassonde. “We plan on incorporating recyclable packaging for all of our products, and the launch of paper straws on our single-serve juice products is another step in the right direction. We know that our customers place a lot of importance on finding products that meet today’s environmental challenges, and these SunRype juice containers with new bendable paper straws are now available at Canadian grocery retailers – just in time for back to school lunch boxes.”

All packaging on SunRype’s 200 ml multi-layered Tetra Pak product containers is recyclable. By choosing this package with SunRype’s new paper straws, made from FSC-certified paper, consumers are making the choice of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging option.

“In 2020, Lassonde was the first company in Canada to manufacture and commercialize the 200 ml bendable paper straw under the Kiju organic brand, as well as our water brands Simple Drop and Fruit Drop,” said Bara. “We are pleased to provide our customers with this environmentally responsible paper straw on all 200 ml beverage containers of our iconic brand, SunRype.

The launch of the paper straw follows Lassonde’s recent launch of new bottles containing 25 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic (rPET) for all its juice brands available in 300 ml portion-size packages in Canada.

By 2023, SunRype is aiming for a 25 per cent post-consumer recycled content in its PET bottles; using 100 per cent recyclable packaging for all its products; and working with governments, industry and associations to promote the collection of recyclable materials.

The non-alcoholic beverage industry, represented by the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, calls on the European Commission for “priority access” to its recycled plastic (PET) material, or a similar mechanism that guarantees “right of first refusal”, to be incorporated in the upcoming revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

As the beverage industry continues to invest in circularity and to put highly recyclable PET on the market, it needs to have priority access to its own recycled packaging material. This will help the beverage industry produce new packaging with food-grade recycled PET compliant with EU food safety standards, achieve its recycling targets and prevent its recycled PET being downcycled. Closing the bottle loop is required to ensure that the beverage industry meets the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) targets and contributes to building a more circular economy for beverage packaging.

Wouter Lox, Secretary General of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), commented: ‘’Food packaging serves specific needs, but most importantly is to safeguard the food products quality, conserves the food and assures food product safety. Also every food product has its specific packaging material properties and requirements in order to assure the packaging purpose. The access to the packaging material is essential to continue providing high quality and safe foods. This requirement needs to be merged with the sector commitments to respond to the EU Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan. Therefore the access to the recycled material responding to the highest food quality standards needs to be reassured at every stage of the circularity circle.’’

Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of Natural Mineral Waters Europe, stated: “Thanks to significant investments in collection schemes and in eco-design, PET bottles have become the most collected and recycled items around Europe. Through well-designed Deposit Return Schemes, several countries already achieve collection rates above 90%. Our members are determined to give every bottle a second life, but they can only do this if they get back the material that they place on the market so we can successfully close the loop.”

Nicholas Hodac, Director General of UNESDA, added: ‘’The entire beverage industry in Europe is fully supportive of the EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan and is committed to delivering full circularity for PET bottles. To get there, we need the European Commission to allow us to have priority access to our own recycled plastic material to meet our EU recycling obligations and avoid downcycling, which will break the bottle loop. It is just fair that we regain the equivalent quantity of collected and recycled material that we place on the market to move circularity forward.’’

The beverage industry is subject to several mandatory requirements under SUPD, one of which is that PET in bottles has to be food-grade to comply with EU food safety standards. In addition to introducing mandatory collection targets for PET bottles, SUPD also mandates the beverage industry to use a minimum of 25 % (by 2025) and 30 % (by 2030) of recycled content. The beverage industry’s commitment is not only to achieve these EU targets, but also to go much further by creating a closed loop for its PET bottles. Granting the beverage industry fair access to the amount of PET plastic material that it puts on the market and of which it finances the collection is key to promote effective bottle-to-bottle recycling.

The promise of endlessly recycled PET plastic is one step closer today, as the Consortium – Carbios, L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe – announces the successful production of the world’s first food-grade PET plastic bottles produced entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic.

Each Consortium company has successfully manufactured sample bottles – based on Carbios’ enzymatic PET recycling technology – for some of their leading products including: Biotherm®, Perrier®, Pepsi Max®* and Orangina®.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of nearly 10 years’ research and development by Carbios to create a new process and supercharge an enzyme naturally occurring in compost heaps that normally breaks down leaf membranes of dead plants. By adapting this enzyme, Carbios has fine-tuned the technology and optimized this enzyme to break down any kind of PET plastic (regardless of color or complexity) into its building blocks, which can then be turned back into like-new, virgin-quality plastic.

Carbios’ patented enzymatic PET recycling process enables a wide variety of PET plastics to be recycled into virgin quality, food grade rPET. PET plastics that would otherwise go to waste or be incinerated, can now be brought back into a continuous circular system of recycling. And this can be achieved at high speed – breaking down 97 % of plastic in just 16 hours – 10,000 times more efficient than any biological plastic recycling trial to date (peer-reviewed article in Nature).

Together, these brands will work to scale this innovation to help meet the global demand for sustainable packaging solutions. In September 2021, Carbios will break ground on a demonstration plant, before launching a 40,000 tons capacity industrial facility, by 2025.

Enzymatic recycling overcomes the issue of degradation in conventional recycling and can be used on any type of PET plastic. Because Carbios’ recycling process works under mild conditions, it also lowers the carbon footprint of PET waste treatment by saving 30 % of CO2 emissions compared to a conventional end of life mix of incineration and landfill, taking virgin PET production substitution into account.**

The successful completion of these initial food-grade bottles is a major milestone in the Consortium’s validation of Carbios’ technology. This partnership is part of a growing trend amongst brands to collaborate across industries to tackle these global challenges, working towards a world of circularity, where we limit the production of virgin plastic.

Carbios will license its technology to PET manufacturers worldwide, accelerating the global adoption of enzymatic recycling for all kinds of PET based products.

*Pepsi Max® also known as Pepsi Black or Pepsi Zero Sugar in other global markets.
**Preliminary Life Cycle Assessment of Carbios PET recycling process, 2021

Plastipak, a global leader in the design, manufacture and recycling of plastic containers has announced a major investment in recycling at its manufacturing site in Toledo, Spain. The new recycling facility will convert PET flake into food-grade recycled PET (rPET) pellets suitable for direct use in new preforms, bottles and containers.

The new facility will be co-located with the current preform and container manufacturing plant facilitating additional carbon savings through the elimination of resin transport. The new recycling plant will produce 20,000 tonnes of food-grade pellet per year and will commence production in the summer of 2022. The project will create approximately 14 new jobs and include additional manufacturing and warehouse space.

Pedro Martins, Plastipak’s Executive Managing Director Europe, explained “The investment in a new recycling facility in Spain will support both Plastipak and our customers in fulfilling our commitments to corporate social responsibility. The project comes in advance of minimum levels of recycled content mandated by the Single Use Plastics Directive, and will support brand owners to reduce their financial obligations under the planned Spanish plastics tax.”

This will be Plastipak’s fifth global location producing recycled PET (rPET) and confirms Plastipak as the largest producer of bottle-grade recycled PET in Europe. With three long-established rPET facilities in Europe (France, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom), Plastipak already produces well over 130,000 tonnes of recycled PET in Europe. Plastipak also operates a HDPE and PET recycling plant in the US.

EXTR:ACT, the European platform to improve and increase the recycling of beverage cartons and similar fibre-based multi-material packaging in Europe, is pleased to provide an update on the successful and innovative steps taken by different companies to recycle the non-fibre components of beverage cartons throughout Europe. As of today, the below projects allow roughly 50,000 tonnes of non-fibre components of beverage cartons to be recycled annually.

EXTR:ACT expects ongoing activities in recycling to separate the valuable non-fibre components (so-called PolyAl rejects) from beverage cartons after having gone through the process of fibre extraction in the paper mill. The current European projects for PolyAl-recycling include:

  • Ecoplasteam’s recycling plant in Italy
  • ReconPolymers in the Netherlands
  • Plastigram in the Czech Republic
  • Palurec in Germany, which is operated by the beverage carton manufacturers.

“With these projects, roughly 30 % of the European volume of these PolyAl rejects will now start being recycled in new material cycles, where, for example, the recovered plastics and aluminum can be used in different applications as a substitute for virgin material,” said Michael Brandl, Managing Director of EXTR:ACT. “Further expansion of these processing options is expected for the near future, underscoring the investment and innovative solutions being explored to ensure that the beverage cartons placed on the EU market remain the most sustainable packaging solution as outlined in the industry’s 2030 Roadmap.”

The recycled plastic components can be used in products such as plastic pipes, boxes or panels, while the aluminum will be compounded and used in products such as motorblocks, metallic varnish, and other materials.

The Roadmap, launched by EXTR:ACT’s industry partner ACE (The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and theEnvironment), highlights the industry’s commitment to having 90 % of all beverage cartons collected for recycling, and to have at least 70 % of all beverage cartons recycled by 2030. The Roadmap also outlines the industry’s commitments and targets for delivering the most sustainable packaging for resilient food supply systems which is renewable, climate positive and circular. The continuous expansion of recycling capacities will further strengthen the positive contribution of beverage cartons to the environment.

ABOUT EXTR:ACT
Founded in 2018, EXTR:ACT is the European platform dedicated to increase the recycling of beverage cartons and similar fibre-based multi-material packaging. Focused on the technical process of such multi-material recycling from start to finish, EXTR:ACT works with the entire value chain to ensure that multi- material packaging is designed with the life cycle in mind and is able to be collected, sorted, recycled and reused in varying markets.

ACE, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, is pleased to announce that the recycling rate for beverage cartons in the EU281 rose to 51 % in 2019. This represents a continued year-on-year increase in the EU beverage carton recycling rate.

“We are pleased that the steady annual increase of the recycling rate for beverage cartons in 2019 surpassed 50 %,” said Annick Carpentier, Director General of ACE. “This is proof of our industry’s efforts and enhances the message that beverage cartons are recyclable and are being recycled at scale in Europe.”

Beverage cartons, made largely from renewable materials, contribute positively to a low carbon circular economy. The industry is driving beverage carton recycling across Europe, committed to efforts that support the increase of the recycling rate in all EU Member States. The industry calls on policymakers at the European and national levels to assure that beverage cartons are collected for recycling separately, and to support a collection target to ensure beverage cartons are collected for recycling.

“With an upcoming EU legislative agenda towards more sustainable packaging, the beverage carton is well positioned with a 51 % recycling rate. This is an opportunity to inform policy- makers at all levels that beverage cartons are a safe, circular and sustainable packaging solution with a low carbon footprint, and how the beverage carton you use at your table can be easily collected and recycled,” continued Ms. Carpentier.

1Data includes information from the United Kingdom, which at that time was still an EU Member State.

The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) will make grants available in 2021 to Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) for aluminum can capture equipment, which will ensure used beverage cans (UBC) are accurately sorted, sold and recycled. Capturing and recycling aluminum cans provides a positive environmental and economic impact as metal recycles forever and UBCs are typically made into new cans.

Aluminum beverage cans currently provide critical revenue to MRFs. A CMI-funded study concluded that without the revenue from UBCs, most MRFs, which are vital to the U.S. recycling system since they sort single stream recyclables, would not be able to operate.  But, while UBCs are typically the most valuable commodity in the residential recycling stream, up to 25 percent of UBCs are missorted at a typical MRF. These missorted cans can be captured with the right equipment, which would pay for itself with the additional revenue.

Directly funded by aluminum beverage can manufacturers Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings, the grant program will provide clear examples of the efficacy and revenue impact that additional aluminum can capture equipment can have for a MRF.  The results are expected to encourage more MRFs to invest in additional aluminum can capture equipment.  Further, Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings are exploring additional recycling programs that they, along with other partners, can implement to leverage additional aluminum can capture equipment in MRFs.

“With this new grant program, the aluminum beverage can industry is demonstrating its commitment to building on the industry’s leading beverage packaging recycling rates,” said CMI Vice President of Sustainability Scott Breen. “Capturing these missorted cans will result in significant additional revenue for recyclers and deliver significant carbon emissions reductions from greater use of recycled aluminum.”

SIG’s fully recyclable and renewable paper straw solution for aseptic carton packs is being launched for the first time in Europe by Intermarché, one of the most popular retail chains in France.

Intermarché is the first company in France to launch paper straws with aseptic carton packs. By offering this solution across its three brands – Paquito, Look and top Budget – it will save 10 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.

The company will be offering the juices and beverages of these brands in combiblocMini packs with SIG’s 6 mm straight paper straw solution – one of several options available in SIG’s paper straw portfolio. The cartons are filled at Antartic, a production unit belonging to Agromousquetaires, a food-processing subsidiary of Groupement Les Mousquetaires.

SIG was the first in the industry to offer a market-ready paper straw solution for aseptic carton packs, enabling customers to meet the urgent need for alternatives to plastic drinking straws – which will be banned across Europe from the beginning of 2021 in line with the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

SIG’s paper straws offer a more sustainable solution that is renewable and fully recyclable. They are an ideal companion for SIG’s fully recyclable carton packs, which are mainly made of renewable paper board.

The paper used to make SIG’s paper straws originates from FSCTM-certified forests and other controlled sources. The blister for the straw has also been redesigned to help prevent litter by remaining attached to the pack to be recycled together.

SIG offers both straight and U-shaped paper straws. Paper straws are available for use with SIG’s combiblocSmall or combiblocMini packs to maintain the convenience of small-size formats for consumers looking for on-the-go beverages.

The innovative structure and diagonal cut make the straw robust enough to pierce the closed straw hole of the carton. Positive results in consumer tests showed no compromises in convenience compared with conventional plastic straws. Customers can use existing straw applicators to attach them to packs.

Jufico, a leading German baby-food producer, will be the first to launch its organic brand FruchtBar® in fully recyclable monomaterial pouches without aluminium (Pouch5®) into the German market. Pouch5® was developed by Gualapack, world leader of premade spouted pouches, and is the first pre-made spouted pouch available in high barrier recyclable monomaterial. The 5 new references will hit the shelves from May 25.

German consumers are well-informed and sensitive to recyclability, and in Germany separate collection and recycling infrastructure of flexible packaging are among the best in the world. Jufico, under the brand FRUCHTBAR® , has indeed captured the momentum and the needs of the market in terms of circular economy, spearheading the recyclable revolution with Pouch5®.

Gualapack Pouch5® is available in 2 versions:  for hot-filled and pasteurized shelf stable products, and for cold filling /dairy applications. Pouch 5® guarantees product protection equivalent to conventional pouches thanks to its high oxygen and water vapor barrier.

Pouch5® is certified by Interseroh Dienstleistungs-GmbH for its recyclability. Interseroh is an environmental service provider and is best known for its dual system with the yellow bag / yellow bin. Interseroh’s highly scientific criteria for testing a wide variety of packaging have been developed together with bifa environmental and Fraunhofer IVV institutes. With a score of 20 out of 20, Pouch5® achieves the best possible rating and is proven “very good” for recyclability.

In recent years Gualapack has developed a vast portfolio of sustainable solutions to actively reduce the footprint of packaging. Thanks to the vertical integration of technologies such as extrusion, lamination, printing, pouch making, injection molding and filling equipment, Gualapack can offer proven and market-ready packaging solutions that provide effective answers to the industry, the environment, consumers and legislators.

Pouch5® was recently adopted by Nestle (Gerber®) in the USA and Nestle (Piltti®) in Finland.

SIG’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Performance Update for 2019 explores key aspects of the company’s Way Beyond Good ambition, highlights its sustainability stories of the year, and reports progress towards its targets for 2020 and beyond.

„Our packaging has delivered food safely to billions of people all over the world. We want to help shape a sustainable food system that gets the most from what it uses and gives more than it takes,” said Rolf Stangl, CEO of SIG. “To do this, we need to go further than we’ve ever gone before. We took some more big steps forward this year and the increased uptake of our most sustainable packaging solutions shows we’re using growth as a driver for good.”

Highlights in 2019

SIG continues to build on its track record of sustainable innovation and industry firsts. Highlights this year include:

  • Launching the world’s first Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) labelled packs and the first aseptic carton packs with all three key materials from certified sources – paperboard, plant-based polymers and aluminium foil
  • Increasing uptake of SIG’s most sustainable products, such as SIGNATURE PACK and combibloc EcoPlus
  • Introducing the first paper straws for carton packs – first straight and then U-shaped
  • Accelerating the timeline to cut greenhouse gas emissions from SIG’s business – by 60 % by 2030 – with a new 1.5°C target approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative
  • Engaging in new recycling partnerships around the world, including the innovative so+ma programme that is rewarding consumers in Brazil for recycling
  • Turning food loss into over 9,200 school meals for underprivileged children in Bangladesh in the first year of the Cartons for Good programme run by the SIG Way Beyond Good Foundation
  • Achieving a Platinum rating from EcoVadis that puts SIG in the top 1 % of businesses for sustainability.

Going further

The CR Performance Update includes a series of stories from the year, which bring to life some of the ways that SIG is realising its ambition to go Way Beyond Good for society and the environment.

The company is focusing on driving progress in the areas where it can make the biggest difference: helping forests thrive, tackling climate change, driving sustainable product innovation, contributing to a circular economy and delivering safe nutrition.

To pursue these opportunities, SIG is building on strong foundations. It is committed to doing business ethically, buying responsibly, supporting its people and keeping them safe, and partnering with communities to help them thrive.

Transparent reporting

SIG’s CR Performance Update is transparent about progress against targets and includes an update on key performance indicators related to the company’s most material social and environmental issues. It also includes direct feedback from SIG’s external Responsibility Advisory Group, together with the company’s response.

The interim CR Performance Update complements SIG’s full CR reports, which are published every other year. It covers the same focus areas and most material social and environmental issues as SIG’s award-winning full CR Report for 2018, which includes more detail on the way we manage these issues. The 2018 CR Report was produced in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

Please download SIG’s CR performance update under www.sig.biz/en/

ACE announces that the recycling rate for beverage cartons in the EU28 rose to 49 % in 2018. This is a small (1 %), but steady increase in the EU beverage carton recycling rate from the previous year.

“We are pleased to see that the beverage carton recycling rate continues to increase throughout the EU. The year-on-year increase underscores the efforts made towards recycling beverage cartons,” said Annick Carpentier, Director General of ACE.

Some Member States reach rates above 70 %, while there is still room for increased recycling participation in other Member States.

“This is not enough if the EU wants to reach a low carbon circular economy. We call for the ambitious implementation of EU waste legislation at national level to ensure all beverage cartons are collected and recycled. We believe that the recycling rate will continue to increase thanks to our industry’s commitment to support beverage cartons being recycled, including the non-fibre components,” said Ms. Carpentier

In addition, ACE has launched a four-month campaign, “We’re not just square, we’re circular,” to raise awareness and build understanding that beverage cartons are recyclable and being recycled at scale in Europe. The campaign also aims to highlight the low carbon footprint of beverage cartons due to the renewability of materials used.

“Beverage cartons provide a double circularity, at sourcing thanks to the renewability of their main components and at end-of-life through recycling. This double circularity helps ensure that beverage cartons play a role in helping achieve a low carbon circular economy,” continued Ms. Carpentier.

The campaign website can be accessed here, from ACE’s main homepage (www.ace.be) and from the secretariat’s social media channels.

31 billion cans recycled, or 420,000 tons of aluminium

The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the European Union, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland in 2017 rose 2.3 % from 2016 (72.8 %), to reach an all-time record 74.5 % in 2017. Almost 31 billion cans were recycled in the EU and EFTA countries in 2017, representing a total of more than 420,000 tons of aluminium and underscoring its contribution to the European circular economy. All aluminium cans are equally recyclable, no matter the colour, design, format or size.

Recycling aluminium consumes 95 % less energy than producing it from raw material, while the recycling process generates only 5 % of the greenhouse gas emissions produced from raw material production. Can recycling therefore saves the annual equivalent of approximately 3 million tons of GHG emissions – or the annual emissions of a mid-sized European town like Belfast, Malmö or Thessaloniki*.

Can manufacturers (members of Metal Packaging Europe) and their aluminium suppliers are confident that the European can recycling rate will increase further in the coming decade, primarily through a combination of measures such as improved PMD collection systems (‘yellow’ or ‘blue’ bags and bins) and incentive based initiatives such as modern deposit return and voluntary take back (‘cash for cans’) schemes.

Can manufacturers and aluminium recyclers are ready to invest in additional recycling capacities, providing other stakeholders, such as public and private waste management operators, are equally prepared to invest in additional and modern sorting facilities.

Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe, stated: “We believe that the new European calculation method will hardly impact the final recycling rates being achieved for aluminium beverage cans.” Maarten Labberton, Director Packaging Group at European Aluminium, added: “As we move towards our 100 % recycling rate target, what matters most is the recycling yields; aluminium is well positioned for the future given its very low losses during recycling.”

The following diagram provides a detailed overview of aluminium beverage can recycling rates by country in 2017. Recycling rates have been calculated on the basis of the present EU reporting rules.

*If a yearly GHG emission of 9.2 tonnes is assumed per EU citizen as used in the Product environmental footprint methodology, see Normalisation method and data for Environmental Footprints – Deliverable 2 of the AA Environmental Footprint and Material Efficiency Support for Product Policy (No. 70307/2012/ENV.C.1/635340)

BillerudKorsnäs invests in the area of recycling as it acquires a minority holding in the innovative company Recycl3R. The company has developed a digital solution to increase recycling rates of single use packaging. A product that can be used globally.

The investment is made by BillerudKorsnäs’ wholly owned subsidiary BillerudKorsnäs Venture AB, which invests in young and innovative companies with solutions that will influence the future for packaging.

Waste production is one of the largest environmental problems that society faces today, and solving it is a big challenge. In Europe alone we produce 240 million tons of waste, and only 44 % is recycled. BillerudKorsnäs shares our vision of solving this global challenge and is an excellent partner and investor for Recycl3R, says Ivan Gonzalez, environmental lawyer and Co-founder of Recycl3R.

Recycl3R builds a database with information about what packaging material different consumer products consist of. They also understand the different recycling regulations and requirements around the world. This knowledge is used to guide consumers to the nearest recycling station and help them recycle correctly. The solution also makes it possible for producers and distributors to give consumers incentive to recycle more with gamification and by connecting value such as deposits or loyalty points to the different packaging materials.

The team behind Recycl3R has a background in environmental consulting, and the system was developed partly within the European “TagitSmart” project. It has caught the interest of international retailers and brands with a mission to get more material back into recycling streams. Carrefour Spain has successfully implemented the solution and more customers and markets are in the pipeline.

Packaging recycling is an area that we believe will be increasingly important in order to solve the environmental challenges ahead. Sustainability and digitalization connected to packaging are strategic focus-areas for BillerudKorsnäs Venture, and Recyc3R presents a very interesting opportunity based on their combined expertise in both areas, says Martin Neselius, Venture Manager at BillerudKorsnäs Venture.

There are already steps taken towards more legislation and restrictions regarding single use products, and we believe this development will continue. There is still a lot of work to do in order to ensure that more packaging enters the recycling stream and is recycled into new products. Recycl3R’s product supports increased and cleaner recycling streams for this purpose”, says Martin Neselius.

EXTR:ACT – Driving Value for multimaterial recycling, the pan-European platform created by BillerudKorsnäs, Elopak, SIG Combibloc, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, all members of the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), has announced the nomination of EXTR:ACT’s Managing Director, Michael Brandl.

Michael Brandl, a German national with a background in engineering, built his career in the dairy industry before joining FKN, the German beverage carton association in 2010. Michael intends to use his considerable knowledge of both the beverage carton industry and of German and European recycling infrastructures to meet the platform’s objectives.

“We strongly believe that Michael’s experience and expertise will drive EXTR:ACT increase the recycling of our packages, scale and boost value for recycling solutions, and secure our long-term sustainability” said Heike Schiffler, President of EXTR:ACT. “With this new initiative, we are confident we will be able to achieve a significant increase in collection and recycling rates by 2025 “.

EXTR:ACT, based in Frankfurt, will foster the recycling of beverage cartons, including the non-paper components such as polymers and aluminium. It reflects the industry’s commitment to the circular economy and complements ACE’s ongoing work. EXTR:ACT will also seek to work in partnership with stakeholders who have similar needs regarding the recycling of composite packaging.

About ACE:
ACE provides a European platform for beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers to benchmark and profile cartons as renewable, recyclable and low carbon packaging solutions. Engaging with stakeholders and partners seeking high environmental stewardship, it contributes expertise to EU policy, legislation and standard‐setting.
ACE members include beverage carton producers Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak; they develop, manufacture and market systems for the packaging and distribution of food, and produce packaging material at 20 plants in Europe. Most of the paperboard used by ACE members in beverage cartons in Europe is produced by Stora Enso in Skoghall (Sweden) and Imatra (Finland), and BillerudKorsnäs in Gävle and Frövi (Sweden), who are also members of ACE.

Latest industry data on glass recycling confirms that over 12 million tons of glass bottles and jars are collected and recycled in Europe, with an average glass recycling rate in the EU28 of 74 %(1). Glass remains the best performing food grade closed loop in the world.  The latest industry data have a two-year time lag dating from 2016.

This figure should be set to rise. With the Circular Economy now at the forefront of the political agenda, EU Member States have committed to ambitious targets on municipal waste reduction and glass packaging recycling. This signals a renewed investment in separate collection for glass packaging in the coming years, which will engage consumers, municipalities, Extended Producer Responsibility schemes, recyclers and manufacturers in a collaborative effort to collect, sort and treat the glass that is currently leaking from the system.

“As an industry we commit to actually recycle all collected glass of sufficient quality in the closed loop. An estimated 90 % of what is collected goes into creating new bottles from old ones, offering brands and consumers a food grade quality recycled material. Today, recycled glass is our most important raw material, which brings us major environmental benefits, and energy savings”, commented Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General.

Our recent study on glass packaging recycling(2) demonstrates that countries such as Austria and Sweden have gone beyond 90 % collection for recycling rates by installing bottle bank systems and investing in consumer awareness. Tailored solutions will need to be found locally, but separating glass from the other materials is the best investment for public authorities to meet the new glass recycling targets. Our recent consumer research suggests that particularly for millennials, environmental credentials drive their product choice, and that the take-back culture for glass packaging is very strong where there is bottle bank infrastructure in place(3).

“Consumers have a strong connection with glass packaging, which is for them more than just a packaging”, she continued. “Over ten years ago, the industry decided to invest in consumer communications to raise awareness about the importance of glass recycling and the other key assets of glass packaging. We want to help bridge the collection gap, but clearly cannot do so on our own. Efforts across the value chain are needed.”

The average 74 % EU glass collection for recycling rate masks a variety of situations between countries. If we look at performance rates, on the one side, we find countries in the ‘Over 90 %’ top league: Belgium, Finland, Austria, Sweden and Slovenia where separate collection schemes for glass perform very well and provide a high quality secondary raw material for the industry. On the opposite side we find countries in the ’Under 40 %’ league: Greece, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Malta, Romania where the collection culture and, consequently the glass collection schemes have important potential for growth.  Looking at overall volumes of glass collected, the picture in larger countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Poland or Spain is different. In conclusion, each country is different and will need its own focused and tailored strategy to ensure top class glass recycling. In conclusion, each country is different and will need its own focused and tailored strategy to ensure top class glass recycling.

(1) – See FEVE Recycling Statistics published on the FEVE website www.feve.org
(2) – See https://feve.org/study-on-impact-assessment-of-deposit-return-schemes
(3) – See http://content.presspage.com/uploads/1081/friendsofglass-reportonpackaging-2017.pdf?10000

Tetra Pak has joined forces with global resource management company Veolia in a game-changing partnership that will enable all components of used beverage cartons collected within the European Union to be recycled by 2025.

The average beverage carton comprises around 75 % paperboard, 20 % plastic and 5 % aluminium foil. But while the fibres recovered during recycling have a healthy market when converted into high-quality paper pulp for use in both industrial and consumer products, the same is not true for the recovered polymer and aluminium (PolyAl) mix.

Within the scope of the new partnership, the extracted PolyAl will be processed at dedicated facilities and converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry. In this way, the overall value of used beverage cartons is expected to double, making the value chain for collection and recycling more efficient and viable.

The Tetra Pak and Veolia partnership will start in the EU and expand to more markets around the world.

100 % of Coca-Cola Amatil packaging to be recyclable by 2025, including bottles, cans, plastic wrap, glass and cardboard

Australian beverages manufacturer Coca-Cola Amatil announced a commitment for 100 per cent of its Australian packaging to be recyclable by 2025, including all bottles, cans, plastic wrap, glass and cardboard. The company will also work towards phasing out unnecessary single-use packaging through improved design, innovation or the use of recycled alternatives.
Group Managing Director Alison Watkins said the commitments were part of the National Packaging Targets announced by Federal Environment Minister, the Hon Melissa Price MP.

“As a beverages manufacturer, we’re serious about playing our part in addressing recycling,” Ms Watkins said.

“We’ve heard the community message loud and clear – that unnecessary packaging is unacceptable and we all need to work together to reduce the amount entering litter streams, the environment and the oceans.

“The National Packaging Targets aim to make a substantive improvement in packaging waste reduction, which is why we’re proud to be a founding supporter and to champion their implementation by industry.”

Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets are:

  • 100 % of all Australia’s packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 or earlier
  • 70 % of Australia’s plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025
  • 30 % average recycled content will be included across all packaging by 2025
  • Problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives

Earlier this year the Mount Franklin 600 ml bottle was launched using 100 % recycled content, with trials under way on reaching an average 50 per cent recycled content across the Australian portfolio by 2020.

Ms Watkins said the Targets were in addition to existing commitments on plastics and packaging reduction, including the aspiration of “World Without Waste” – a Coca-Cola Company goal to collect and recycle one bottle or can for every one produced, worldwide, by 2030.

Amatil and brand partner and shareholder The Coca-Cola Company is also developing sustainable packaging goals to increase the recycled content in plastic bottles and support recycling collection in Australia. Recognising the threat of marine plastic litter, The Coca-Cola Company this week joined governments and industry leaders to sign onto the Ocean Plastics Charter. Originally adopted at the 2018 G7 Summit, the Ocean Plastics Charter calls on governments, industry and the public to rethink their relationship with plastics.

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, welcomes yesterday’s final adoption of the revised legislative package on waste by the Council of the EU. ACE members believe that the provisions included in the new legislation – in particular mandatory separate collection of all packaging which is a precondition to recycling – provide a strong foundation on which Member States can build to move towards a more circular economy.

Kristian Hall, ACE President, said: “Our industry is committed to supporting increased recycling of its packages and securing long-term sustainable recycling solutions. Hence, the members of ACE, BillerudKorsnäs, Elopak, SIG Combibloc, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, have decided to launch a dedicated platform to drive and coordinate the industry’s engagement in beverage carton recycling, including the non-paper components of our packages across Europe.” The new platform will be based in Frankfurt and complement ACE, the industry’s voice towards EU policy stakeholders. It will also closely collaborate with national carton industry associations, member company initiatives and other stakeholders.

Hall continues: “Recognising that sustainable recycling programs require collaboration within and beyond our own industry, the new platform will actively seek alliances and partnerships with industry actors sharing similar needs to optimise recycling solutions.”

“We have come a long way to reach our current recycling rate of 47 % in Europe, despite the absence of a specific recycling target for beverage cartons in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. With this additional initiative and partnerships, we are confident we will be able to achieve the Directive’s overall recycling rate objective of 55 % by 2025 and 65 % by 2035.”

About ACE
ACE provides a European platform for beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers to benchmark and profile cartons as renewable, recyclable and low carbon packaging solutions. Engaging with stakeholders and partners seeking high environmental stewardship, it contributes expertise to EU policy, legislation and standard‐setting.ACE members include beverage carton producers Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc and Elopak; they develop, manufacture and market systems for the packaging and distribution of food, and produce packaging material at 20 plants in Europe. A great majority of the paperboard used by ACE members in beverage cartons in Europe is produced by Stora Enso in Skoghall (Sweden) and Imatra (Finland), and BillerudKorsnäs in Gävle and Frövi (Sweden), who are also members of ACE.

Water is an everyday necessity, associated with life, healthiness and purity. To sustain this image, water packaging should feature simple and recyclable design. Since the impact of plastic packaging on the environment is widely discussed, canned water brands have an important role to play to reduce packaged water’s impact on the environment, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

The company’s report ‘ForeSights: Canned Water’ explores the future potential of reusable/recyclable canned water as an alternative to the mainstream bottled products.

According to GlobalData’s Q1 2017 consumer survey, recyclability is the most important factor in environmentally friendly packaging, with 74 % of consumers globally finding it very or extremely important.

Efforts have been made by manufacturers to replace plastic in water bottles with biodegradable materials obtained from various natural sources, such as algae. But could aluminum offer a more straight-forward answer to the problem?

Consumers mostly want reusable containers to be easy to carry, open and close. Other on-the-go packaging benefit preferences include being easy to dispose, reduced carbon foot print and light weight. Only aluminum cans, of all the available water packaging types, fulfill these preferences.

Canned and boxed water have been used in the past for emergency situations, such as natural disasters, rather than commercially. However, a few independent brands, including Noah’s spring water from US-based Varni Brothers and CanO water in the UK, have appeared in the developed world, using aluminum cans and beverage cartons to create more sustainable and safe alternatives of the bottled water.

Aleksandrina Yotova, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Aluminum cans are the most sustainable beverage package, reportedly outperforming plastic and glass bottles, as well as beverage cartons. They have the highest recycling rate and more recycled content than the other options. Consumers understand the efficiency of aluminum packaging.

“Being lightweight, stackable, and strong, cans allow brands to package and transport more beverages using less material (by weight) than plastic and glass bottles. Since beverage-makers can ship aluminum cans more efficiently, they could make transportation, energy, and cost savings, which translates to a more affordable end product.”

Consumers who make efforts to recycle product packaging as much as possible are likely to see canned water as a viable alternative to bottled water due to its high level of recyclability. According to GlobalData’s 2016 Q3 global consumer survey, the highest ratio of active recyclers is found in North America (78 %) and Europe (66 %).

Yotova adds: “Canned water is a logical extension of the trend for healthy and sustainable living among younger consumers. There are opportunities for manufacturers to target the millennial generation, especially in the developed world, with simple but elegant designs. These consumers want to associate themselves with the good cause of keeping the environment clean.”

Latest industry data on glass recycling show that the average glass recycling rate in the EU28 is steady at 74 %. This means that over 11.6 million tons of glass bottles are collected, and recycled into food grade quality material for the production of new glass containers.

Countries such as Belgium, Slovenia or Sweden, with excellent separate collection systems, continue to outperform beyond 95 %. While glass stands alone as the most circular packaging solution, maintaining permanent quality even when recycled, the reality is that there is still an important collection gap to fill in many EU countries.

“Our industry is mobilized to fill the gap to 100 % EU glass recycling because recycled glass is our most important raw material”, commented Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General. “We hope the new packaging recycling targets will give the necessary boost to all EU countries to invest in closed loop glass collection.”

As pointed out at the Euractiv Event, real recycling is a balancing act between developing materials that are recyclable, and markets that are open to use recycled material. “More and more effort is being put at European level to use recycled material for new food packaging”, says Jean-Paul Judson, FEVE Public Affairs Manager. “Recycled glass is of food grade quality. It goes straight into new food or beverage containers. We want to engage with policymakers to make this model the reference”.

PET beverage bottles already meet the key requirements in the current debate on plastic recycling. Germany’s firmly established recycling system from manufacturing to recycling PET bottles has played a decisive role, placing the German PET market ahead of the EU plastic strategy just published. This eliminates the issue of export restrictions applicable to plastic waste via China in PET bottle disposal.

Photos of PET bottles floating around the oceans have coloured our perception of what’s actually happening in Germany regarding PET bottles according to Dr. Isabell Schmidt, consultant for Environment and Sustainability at the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen, the German Association for Plastics Packaging and Films, and responsible for the PET forum: “PET beverage bottle recycling in Germany is a perfect example of efficient recycling management.”

98 percent of disposable PET bottles are recycled

Almost ninety-nine percent of mandatory PET deposit bottles are collected for recycling in Germany according to the latest study, Aufkommen und Wiederverwertung von PET-Getränkeverpackungen in Deutschland (PET beverage packaging volume and recycling in Germany) published in 2016 by the German Society for Packaging Market Research (GVM); 93.5 % of disposable and reusable bottles collected are recycled – and up to 98 % for disposable deposit bottles. “The disposal bottle deposit in Germany has secured these high quotas,” according to Schmidt. This has proven to be a successful strategy in the fifteen years after its introduction.

Recycling takes priority with PET – 34 % of the recycled material is processed into new PET bottles according to the GVM study. Other users include the film industry (27 %), textile fibre manufacturers (23 %) and other applications such as tape and cleaning agent container production (16 %). Eighty percent is recycled within Germany, and the rest is mostly exported to destinations near Germany’s borders. PET material exports to China have seen a steady decrease, so restrictions on plastic waste exports from Germany to China only apply to a limited extent in the German PET industry.

Extensive recycling capacity already available

More to the point, separate waste collection has kept the European recycling industry growing in recent years, especially with regard to the recycling capacity available for PET. “PET is a high-demand recycled material,” says Schmidt. Further investment in developing the sorting and recycling infrastructure – a key requirement in the new EU-plastic strategy – had already been in the works by the time the German Packaging Act was passed at federal level in 2017. PET packaging from the recycling bag or bin should see even more recycling as a result.

The German PET industry has been practising cooperation along the entire value-added chain for years as now required by the EU Plastics Strategy. Founded in 2014, the RAL quality-control association for PET beverage packaging has seen manufacturers, bottlers and recyclers working together on closed recycling loops. The industry promotes processing recycled PET into new beverage bottles – “Bottle-to-bottle recycling is one of the most important topics in sustainable use of recycled PET,” according to Schmidt. The quality-control association is mainly committed to increasing the amounts of recycled materials used in new packaging.

The Coca-Cola Company announced that it is fundamentally reshaping its approach to packaging, with a global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 % of its packaging by 2030.

This goal is the centerpiece of the Company’s new packaging vision for a World Without Waste, which the Coca-Cola system intends to back with a multi-year investment that includes ongoing work to make packaging 100 % recyclable. This begins with the understanding that food and beverage containers are an important part of people’s modern lives but that there is much more to be done to reduce packaging waste globally.

“The world has a packaging problem – and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it,” said James Quincey, President and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “Through our World Without Waste vision, we are investing in our planet and our packaging to help make this problem a thing of the past.”

The Company and its bottling partners are pursuing several key goals:

  • Investing in the planet: By 2030, for every bottle or can the Coca-Cola system sells globally, we aim to help take one back so it has more than one life. The Company is investing its marketing dollars and skills behind this 100 % collection goal to help people understand what, how and where to recycle. We will support collection of packaging across the industry, including bottles and cans from other companies. The Coca-Cola system will work with local communities, industry partners, our customers, and consumers to help address issues like packaging litter and marine debris.
  • Investing in packaging: To achieve its collection goal, The Coca-Cola Company is continuing to work toward making all of its packaging 100 % recyclable globally. The Company is building better bottles, whether through more recycled content, by developing plant-based resins, or by reducing the amount of plastic in each container. By 2030, the Coca-Cola system also aims to make bottles with an average of 50 % recycled content. The goal is to set a new global standard for beverage packaging. Currently, the majority of the Company’s packaging is recyclable.

World Without Waste is the next step in the Company’s ongoing sustainability efforts, building off success in replenishing an estimated 100 % of the water it uses in its final beverages. The Company achieved and exceeded its water replenishment goal in 2015, five years ahead of expectations. These efforts are part of the Company’s larger strategy to grow with conscience, by becoming a total beverage company that grows the right way.

“Bottles and cans shouldn’t harm our planet, and a litter-free world is possible,” Quincey said. “Companies like ours must be leaders. Consumers around the world care about our planet, and they want and expect companies to take action. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and we invite others to join us on this critical journey.”

The Fibre Evolution material processing facility, developed and patented by Model AG, has made it possible to recycle drink cartons and other papers that are not readily soluble in large volumes for subsequent use. After glass and PET bottles, carton containers are the third most common form of packaging for drinks, and up until now, they have ended up in rubbish heaps, where the valuable raw fibres are incinerated.

By recycling raw materials from drink cartons, new, high-quality corrugated board papers can be manufactured and then used in distinctive packaging and displays, which are then recycled again.

It is Models goal to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 48 % per tonne* by recycling 75,000 tonnes of drink cartons and not-readily-soluble papers annually at the Fibre Evolution processing facility.

The new plant has also significantly improved energy efficiency within the company’s recycling process. Read the entire report in the Model Box no. 103 here to learn more.

(*compared to thermal recycling, Source: Die Zukunft des Getränkekarton-Recyclings (The future of drink carton recycling), Carbotech AG)

National nonprofit organization The Recycling Partnership (U.S.) announced its newest funding partner, the global food and beverage leader, PepsiCo. The organizations have agreed to collaborate on an ambitious cross-sector approach to increasing recycling rates across America.

PepsiCo’s collaboration with The Recycling Partnership will address the continued shortfall in U.S. recycling rates. Currently, still less than half of recyclables in U.S. homes are getting captured; just 22 million tons out of an available 46 million tons every year[1]. The Recycling Partnership has already directly assisted more than 400 local communities, improving curbside recycling for 17 million households. This work has resulted in the recovery of 115 million pounds of material, and savings of 382 million gallons of water and 164,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases. Each new funder expands The Partnership’s reach to improve recycling through local and national work.

PepsiCo has already made significant efforts to cut packaging waste from its snack and beverage products. In 2015 alone, it removed approximately 100 million pounds of packaging and used 139 million pounds of recycled PET. Last year, PepsiCo announced new goals to strive to design 100 % of its packaging to be recoverable or recyclable by 2025 and to partner to increase packaging recovery and recycling rates.

[1] http://www.sustainablepackaging.org/content/?type=5&id=centralized-study-on-availability-of-recycling

Coca-Cola European Partners unveiled its new GB sustainable packaging strategy – setting out an ambition for its GB business unit to work with local and national partners to recover all its packaging so that more is recycled and none ends up as litter.

At present, only 70 % of the cans1 and 57 %2 of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled, CCEP believes these figures should be higher. Through its new GB sustainable packaging strategy, the company sets out the key actions it will take, and the areas where it will look to work with others, to improve the recovery and recycling of drinks packaging, and to reduce littering in Great Britain.

The new strategy is focused on three key areas:

  1. Continuing to innovate to ensure its packaging is as sustainable as possible
    CCEP has built a strong track record of lightweighting, ensuring all its cans and bottles are 100 % recyclable, and using recycled materials. It now wants to build on its work, with plans to double the amount of recycled plastic in every one of its PET bottles over the next three years – from the current average of 25 % to 50 % by 2020. To achieve this ambitious target it will continue its long term partnership with Clean Tech, which operates Europe’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire, supporting the circular economy in Great Britain and allowing recycled bottles to return to shop shelves as part of new packs in as little as six weeks.
  2. Investing in consumer communication to promote recycling and encourage behaviour change
    As part of the new strategy, Coca-Cola will use the power of its brands to inspire more consumers to recycle. Later this month, the company will launch a multi-million pound communications campaign designed to inspire more people to recycle. At the heart of the campaign is an advert called Love Story, which will break on TV at the end of July and run across TV, cinema and digital channels. The advert features two love struck plastic bottles who are parted and then reunited as they are disposed of properly, recovered and then recycled into new bottles. The campaign will reach 35 million Britons by the end of this year. The company will also be putting a new recycling message on bottles this year and promoting recycling to six million people at festivals and events.
  3. Championing reform of the UK recycling system to ensure more packaging is recovered and recycled
    The company will continue to work in partnership with others – including the Governments of Great Britain – to improve the current packaging recycling system. To support the growth of the circular economy in Great Britain, the company will champion well-designed new interventions that have the potential to increase packaging collection and recycling rates, including stronger recycling targets, deposit return schemes and extended producer responsibility.

In addition, as part of its commitment to support DEFRA’s new working group on voluntary and economic incentives to reduce littering, CCEP will seek to advance its own knowledge of how consumers are motivate by an incentive-based scheme by testing an on-the-go bottle collection and reward programme. This test will examine the behavioural impact of reward schemes and help inform any future national approaches to reducing litter and increasing collection and recycling rates. More details on these trials will be announced later this year.

1 70 per cent of cans recycled – Alupro.org.uk
2 57 per cent of plastic bottles recycled – Recoup UK Household Plastics Collection Survey 2016