Valio says it will continue its use of 100% renewable milk cartons after an initial test period of three months.
From May 1, 2015, the fully-renewable Tetra Rex Bio-based will be introduced for Valio Luomu organic milk and sour milk.
“We received extremely positive feedback from consumers during the test phase, so it was natural to move towards a more permanent use of fully renewable milk cartons,” says Tanja Virtanen-Leppä, packaging technology manager.
“We have chosen to use the 100% renewable packages for our organic milk in the first instance because buyers of organic products in particular appreciate ecological packages.”
The company aims to increase the proportion of renewable raw material used in its packaging, ultimately looking to use milk cartons produced from 100% renewable raw materials across its full product range.
The deployment of fully renewable packages on a large scale requires gradual roll-out due to the limited availability of the bio-based plastics required for the manufacturing process.
A package produced from fully renewable materials can be identified from the marking 100% renewable material.
Tetra Rex Bio-based is manufactured solely from plant-based materials.
All plastics used in the package, like the Forest Stewardship Council-certified paperboard, are traceable to their origins – 100% bio-based plastic derived from sugar cane and supplied by Braskem.
Environmentally friendly packages
Packages produced from fully renewable materials were first tested with Valio Eila lactose free semi-skimmed milk drinks from January to March 2015.
Following the trial, Valio gathered feedback from 1,500 Finnish consumers through an online survey; more than 80% of respondents said that they viewed fully-renewable packages as progressive, thanks to the avoidance of finite natural resources.
More than 90% of respondents said that they would like Valio milk cartons to be made from entirely renewable materials in the future.
The majority of respondents said that their interest in Valio would grow in line with the company’s use of renewable packages.
A fully renewable carton package is manufactured solely from a combination of plastics derived from sugar cane and paperboard.
The board is made from wood fiber, while the renewable plastic is made from high-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene made from ethanol produced from sugar cane.
By using solely renewable materials, dependence on oil is reduced and natural resources are saved.
Package recyclability remains the same
The handling characteristics of the package remain unchanged and can be recycled in the same way as standard carton packages.
It must be rinsed, dried, flattened and compressed, and then be taken into the carton recycle bin.
The renewable package is not biodegradable.
Alongside its Valio Luomu range, the proportion of renewable raw materials in other Valio milk packages is also set to increase.
Valio has introduced plant-based plastic screw caps and neck fixtures in all of its gable top milk packages, which are now produced from more than 88% renewable materials.