Carton packaging company shows commitment to waste reduction and recycling efforts with three new initiatives.
October 17, 2011
by Canadian Packaging Staff
Waste Reduction Week takes place from October 17 – 23, 2011 in an effort to raise awareness about the environmental impact of waste. Tetra Pak Inc., a leading food packaging and processing manufacturing company, has significantly increased its efforts to reduce waste by establishing aggressive global sustainability goals.
As part of its global 2020 strategy, Tetra Pak has committed to cap carbon emissions at 2010 levels and double the recycling rate of used beverage cartons.
In Canada, Tetra Pak is actively pursuing ways to reduce waste by supporting school recycling initiatives, assisting away-from-home recycling programs, launching industry initiatives, working with domestic material recycling facilities and developing viable end markets for carton fiber.
It should come as no surprise that school lunches are a major source of waste. In Ontario, an average student’s lunch generates a total of 30 kilograms of waste per school year, which equates to the weight of a second grade child.
Tetra Pak Canada has joined forces with Metro Ontario Inc. to support the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, a school program developed by the Recycling Council of Ontario to educate students, staff and parents about waste reduction. The program coincides with Waste Reduction Week and challenges students to bring waste-free lunches. It also puts participating schools and classrooms in competition to produce the least amount of waste.
“Tetra Pak is actively working to grow carton recycling in Canada, and we are proud to support programs like the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge that promote waste reduction strategies,” says Elisabeth Comere, director of environment and government affairs with Tetra Pak Inc. “As a concerned carton manufacturer, it is our responsibility to ensure that staff, parents and kids understand that carton packages like milk and juice boxes are recyclable.”
As part of the program, Tetra Pak supports the advancement of carton recycling education and awareness, and assist with school recycling audits to understand how schools are organized in terms of recycling access and performance. This will help Tetra Pak fine-tune its recycling strategy to increase the national carton recycling rate.
“The Recycling Council of Ontario is pleased to have Tetra Pak join us in our mission to reduce the amount of waste produced from schools,” states Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director, Recycling Council of Ontario. “Tetra Pak’s investment in the Waste-Free Lunch program, particularly expanding carton recycling, demonstrates their commitment as a steward of their package.”
Tetra Pak has also previously partnered with Metro Ontario to support Play Soccer, an Ontario-based community program that worked to increase and encourage responsible recycling by providing coaches, parents and kids with on-site recycling facilities and information about community recycling programs. The program was designed to educate and motivate Ontarians to learn about and use their local recycling facilities to effectively increase away-from-home recycling.
Earlier this year, Tetra Pak joined together with three other leading carton manufacturing companies to form the Carton Council of Canada, a national organization committed to increasing sustainable carton recycling solutions by promoting recycling technology and local collection programs to divert cartons from landfills. Currently, the Carton Council of Canada is looking for ways to drive away-from-home recycling programs.
“Associations help drive public awareness and facilitate the advancement of important issues,” says Comere. “Though we are proud of the environmental profile of our products and are committed to optimizing the end-of-life management of used cartons, we cannot do it alone.The Carton Council of Canada will work with key stakeholders to advance carton recycling solutions and encourage Canadians to increase recycling rates by using their local facilities.”
Nearly 94 per cent of Canadians have access to carton recycling solutions; however, only 43 per cent of cartons are recycled nationwide. Tetra Pak alongside the Carton Council of Canada is attempting to close the gap by working with material recycling facilities to carry out waste audits that identify and address key issues impacting carton recycling. By aligning with recycling professionals and paper mills, Tetra Pak alongside the Carton Council of Canada is providing resources to build a sustainable carton recycling supply chain.
Recycled carton paper fibers are a valuable resource for making new products. Once deposited or recycled and processed at a paper mill, recycled cartons are often turned into tissue or other useful and valuable paper products. Tetra Pak Canada works to reduce carton waste and make use of these fibers by actively supporting advancements in recycling technology. Tetra Pak supports sustainable recycling by helping sorting facilities upgrade and/or quickly adopt the equipment changes needed to successfully incorporate cartons into recycling systems.
Most recently, Tetra Pak partnered with Quebec-based recycling company, Groupe RCM, to invest in a new recycling line that converts cartons, plastic bags and films into useful post-consumer products such as flower pots, railway ties and plastic lumber.
Tetra Pak, alongside the Carton Council of Canada, is also working to build robust end markets in the U.S. and Mexico, which accept tonnage from Canada. By providing marketplace assistance for the guaranteed movement of cartons, Tetra Pak is supporting the commodity value of high-quality fiber contained in cartons and building the marketplace pricing needed for sustainable recycling.
“We are proud of our ongoing efforts to encourage waste reduction at the municipal, provincial, national and international level,” notes Comere. “We will continue to work hard to achieve our global sustainability goals and made a positive impact in Canada. We must all do our part to reduce our environmental footprint.”
To find out more information on the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, visit www.wastefreelunch.com.
For more information on Waste Reduction week, visit www.wrwcanada.com.
Tetra Pak, with almost 22,000 employees in over 85 countries, is the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company providing safe, innovative and environmentally sound products to more than 170 countries around the world. More information about Tetra Pak is available at www.tetrapak.ca.