The company said the portfolio will minimize litter, as the cap will stay attached to the package. The carbon footprint can also be reduced because the tethered caps are planned to become available as a plant-based option, therefore increasing the renewable content of the package.
The company said it is also accelerating the expansion of its paper straws offering to ensure further renewable and low carbon materials across the range of packaging solutions. The aim of this is to address a broad range of customer sustainability needs without compromising on food safety.
Lars Holmquist, executive vice president packaging solutions and commercial operations at Tetra Pak, said, “These are key milestones in our journey towards the world’s most sustainable food package: a carton that is fully made from renewable or recycled materials, is fully recyclable and carbon-neutral. We consistently strive to deliver products and services that adds value to food and people while protecting the planet. Our promise, ‘PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD,’ allied with this strong purpose means we are providing customers with innovative products that also meet the rapidly changing demands of society.
"Approximately 32% of all plastic packaging is not collected and plastic can take hundreds of years to degrade. We focus on recycling by design, committing to invest approximately €100m ($117.7m) per year over the next 5-10 years to develop more sustainable packaging solutions. This includes alternatives to replace fossil-based plastics and avoid littering, as well as maximizing the use of renewable, responsibly sourced materials in our packages. Addressing people’s needs for recycling is a critical component for not only becoming more sustainable but making food more available and safer for all consumers.”
These steps are also central to ensuring that Tetra Pak’s customers in Europe will be ready to comply with the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, an integral part of the wider approach announced in the Plastics Strategy and an important element of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan.
While bans on plastic straws will come into force by July 2021, EU-based beverage producers, retailers and manufacturers, as well as importers, are obliged to implement tethered caps and lids - designed to remain attached to containers - by July 2024.
Holmquist said, “The significant challenge of deploying tethered caps is the scale of the change that this brings across the value chain. If we look at Europe alone, more than 1,000 packaging lines supplied by us will be potentially transformed, translating into over 20bn packages which are expected to be converted. All of that in three years, while minimizing impact on our customers’ operations, optimizing the consumer experience and contributing to both minimizing litter and creating a carton package with increased plant-based and recycled content.”
Overall, this covers approximately 40 different packages with tethered caps. Those caps are all planned to become available as a plant-based option. The first to be released on the market is the HeliCap 26 Pro closure. This features a new screw and flip concept with a self-locking hinge, securing food protection while providing convenience for in-home consumption.
Holmquist said, “We won’t stop here. We are continuously innovating our sustainable openings offering. We envision a world where carton packages never become waste and where every carton is collected and recycled.”