The purpose of a package is to protect and ensure the shelf-life and safety of a product. Consumers want to have environmentally friendly and easily recyclable product packaging. To help in this we clearly indicate how the packaging of our products can be recycled.
One of the key challenges related to packaging materials is that consumers’ opportunities to recycle packaging materials for consumer products varies from market to market. We are trying to find packaging options that can be recycled in all markets.
The recyclability of our packaging improved significantly during 2021, with as much as 97% of our packaging now recyclable.
We have constant co-operation with research institutes, packaging manufacturers and paper industry to find new cardboard-based packaging options for our products. As part of the environmentally friendly packaging, we avoid unnecessary and oversized packaging.
We also look into opportunities to reduce the amount of plastic in our current packaging. While we prioritised cardboard materials for the new factory’s products, we cannot entirely do away with plastic: packaging for liquid products requires a small amount of plastic to ensure that the packaging can withstand both moisture and grease, and to keep the product in perfect condition. The caps for our drink cartons are made from plant-based plastic, with sugar cane as the raw material.
In 2021, Benecol® yogurt drinks sold in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and Hong Kong underwent a major change in packaging materials to make them more environmentally friendly: the bottles are now made from a single material and can, therefore, be more easily recycled in these regions.
At the same time, the size of the labels on the bottles was reduced, resulting in a 60% reduction in the amount of plastic in each label. On an annual scale, this is equivalent to 5.6 thousand kilos of plastic, or more than 370,000 plastic bags! This will reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 50 tonnes per year.