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Tetra Pak unveils collaborative initiatives to improve recycling worldwide

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
person placing carton package in a yellow recycling bin, trees in background

Image credits: Tetra Pak

Packaging manufacturer Tetra Pak has unveiled a series of recent collaborative recycling initiatives that aim to improve collection and recycling systems around the world.

While the company estimates around 1.2 million metric tonnes of beverage cartons were collected and sent for recycling in 2021, it stresses recycling processes are not efficient enough in every country worldwide, and collective action, innovation and investment are required to boost global recycling infrastructures.

Some of its recent collaborative initiatives include:

  • Working with PolyAl recyclers Ecorevive and Ecoplasteam in Italy to promote and find new markets for their recycled materials. Ecorevive produces polyAI agglomerates for use in garden furniture and building construction applications while Ecoplasteam transforms the material into granules which can be used to create automotive components, stationery, gardening tools, and even toys
  • Signing an agreement with Egypt’s leading paperboard producer Uniboard to establish a new recycling plant with capacity to recycle 8,000 tonnes of carton a year. The facility will be in use from 2024.
  • Establishing the first post-consumer carton recycling facility in Paraguay in 2022, with annual capacity of 1,500 tonnes. Carton package fibres will be used to develop secondary packaging and paper boards for palletising. PolyAl materials will be recycled into tiles and boards.
  • Helping Austria and the Netherlands introduce separate collection and recycling targets. In Austria, legislation now includes a requirement to achieve an 80% collection target for beverage cartons by 2025, while the Netherlands has implemented a beverage carton recycling rate of 34% by 2023 which will go up to 55% by 2030.

Markus Pfanner, Vice President of Sustainability Operations at Tetra Pak said in a statement: “We need to move away from a linear ‘take-make-waste’ model towards a more connected circular economy. But being part of a circular solution can’t be driven singlehandedly by one individual or entity – scientists, policy makers, recyclers and industry players and citizens must work together.”

According to the company, the initiatives sit alongside the wider investments it has been making to improve recycling systems, which it says have so far boosted the number of worldwide carton recycling operations from 40 in 2010 to over 200 in 2023.

In 2022, Tetra Pak invested close to €30 million in global projects and plans to put forward almost €40 million annually over the following years to help it achieve its collection and recycling targets for drinks cartons.

The company is currently committed to the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment‘s industry goal to increase the collection for recycling rate of beverage cartons to 90% and the recycling rate to 70% across the EU region by 2030.

Christine Levêque, Vice President Collection and Recycling, Tetra Pak added: “Three principles are guiding our circularity agenda: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

“None of these developments could be realized without our 70 experts around the globe, who are collaborating every day with recyclers, local authorities and food and beverage manufacturers to drive the transformation needed to scale up collection and recycling.”

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