Tetra pak sets sights on achieving new sustainability targets.
June 24, 2011
by Canadian Packaging Staff
Leading beverage and liquid-food packaging products manufacturer Tetra Pak has announced plants to cap its GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions at 2010 levels by the end of 2020 as pat of a newly-unveiled global strategy aimed at minimizing its environmental footprint and becoming a true “zero waste” company.
In addition, the globally-operating Swiss-Swedish group is planning to double the recycling rate for its used beverage cartons by the end of this decade, while intensifying efforts to switch all of its packaging products to renewable resources.
“These are tough targets and achieving them will be a real challenge, but we are investing in innovative thinking, industry-leading expertise and real commitment to meet them,” says Tetra Pak president and chief executive officer Dennis Jönsson.
“We are raising the bar again, because environmental performance is critical to enabling sustainable and profitable growth, both for Tetra Pak and our customers,” he adds.
While the company’s Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Tetra Pak Canada Inc. subsidiary does not actually manufacture the company’s aseptic beverage cartons, its Canadian operations will play an important role in meeting Tetra Pak’s environmental targets on time, according to the company’s vice-president of environment and recycling Jeff Fielkow.
“We estimate a recycling rate for our beverage cartons in Canada to be just over 40 per cent currently, which represents about 100 billion paperboard cartons recycled to date,” Fielkow told Canadian Packaging.
“Frankly, the Canadian market is already well-ahead of the U.S. in terms of acceptance and recognition of the need for more environmentally-sensitive packaging,” he points out.
“About 94 per cent of residential households in Canada already have access to some sort of a curbside recycling program, and we intend to make full use of this solid recycling infrastructure to boost our rate even further by making more of the packages’ components recyclable and renewable, while also developing new end-of-life applications for the Tetra Pak cartons.”
For example, Tetra Pak has recently signed an agreement with leading Brazilian polyethylene producer Braskem for a joint launch of caps made from sugar cane later this year, Fielkow relates, while also securing long-term supply agreements for solar, wind other sources of renewable energy to lessen its dependence on oil and other forms of nonrenewable energy.
“Aseptic cartons are already one of the most environmentally preferable forms of packaging around from a full LCA (Life-Cycle Analysis) perspective, with a good product-to-package ratio and the fact that aseptic packaging requires no refrigeration to get the product to the consumers,” he says.
As part of its environmental improvements, Tetra Pak will also work increase the supply of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified paperboard used in its products to 100 per cent.
“By the end of 2011 alone, the number of Tetra Pak cartons carrying the FSC logo will nearly double from 2010 levels to 16 billion,” Fielkow points out, saying that the company has already achieved, and in some cases exceeded, its five-year environmental targets it set itself for the 2005-2010 period, including:
• A 12.9-percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions in absolute terms, or a relative reduction of over 30 per cent when accounting for 23-percent company growth during the five-year period.
• Recycling of 30 billion used Tetra Pak cartons around the world in 2010, a two-fold increase from 2002 resulting in the diversion of 473,000 tonnes of material away from landfills and providing valuable raw material for new products.