Tetra Pak Sustainability Report FY22: Collection & Recycling
Measuring recycling value
In line with our ambitions and strategy to grow recycling of all materials in collected carton packages, in addition to measuring carton package collection, we are also monitoring how the materials get effectively recycled. We are doing this by estimating a global gross effective recycling rate, deducting the non-recycled polyAl from the volume of cartons collected for recycling.
In 2022, we estimate the global gross effective recycling rate5 to be 20%, which equals to 1 million tonnes of materials in post-consumer carton packages effectively being recycled. This can be compared to a 25% global carton package collection rate6.
To increase the effective recycling rate, we are focusing on putting in place polyAl recycling capacities and develop end markets for recycled polyAl. In 2022, 1.2 million tonnes of carton packages were collected and sent for recycling. Out of that, the estimated amount of polyAl sent to recyclers was more than 100 kilo tonnes.
Our company is producing transportation pallets made entirely from recycled plastics. Part of the recycled plastics that we use comes from the recycling of beverage cartons. Recycled polyAl from beverage cartons presents functional characteristics that are similar to recycled polyolefins, while offering the extra advantage of a shiny look.
Plant manager of Valsir Recycling Division
Accelerating recycling locally
Our dedicated team of 70 recycling experts stationed at locations around the world works to activate, accelerate, and transform the collection and recycling of carton packages. Every day, they collaborate with recyclers, local authorities, and customers to provide insights on efficient collection and sorting schemes, and to co-invest with industrial partners in the recycling value chain. In 2022, there were approximately 200 recycling facilities for carton packages.
Recycling facilities that we collaborate with worldwide
Fibre recycling facilities recycle fibres by hydrapulping
PolyAl recyclers recycle polyAl by injection moulding, for example
Integrated recyclers recycle both fibre and polyAl (separately or together)
Working with industry associations
We collaborated with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) on the ‘Design for recycling’ guidelines for carton producers alongside other industry players. The guidelines provide producers of beverage cartons with technical guidance to identify the materials compatible with existing recycling processes and how the recyclability of paper-based beverage cartons can be optimised.
ACE and EXTR:ACT highlight that collection is precondition to the recycling of any material. While local authorities usually drive and control waste collection infrastructures, Tetra Pak supports them by advising on most efficient collection schemes, and invests in increasing recycling capacities and end markets for recycled materials from used carton packages.
We are an active member of 4evergreen, an alliance representing the entire lifecycle of European fibre-based packaging, from mono-material corrugated cardboard to composite food and beverage packaging. The goal of 4evergreen is to reach 90% recycling rate for all fibre-based packaging by 2030 in Europe. In 2022, the alliance released an initial draft of the Recyclability Evaluation Protocol, a test methodology established to ensure the suitability of packaging recycling in standard paper mills, as well as Circularity by Design Guideline for mono-material packaging processed in standard mills. In 2023, the alliance will publish guidance for multi-material packaging processed in specialised mills.
In 2022, we invested nearly €30 million7 in different projects around the world to further increase the collection and recycling of used carton packages worldwide. Going forward, our ambition is to invest up to €40 million8 in collection and recycling projects around the world in support of our three goals:
- Contribute to achieving a 70% recycling rate carton package target in the European Union by 20309.
- Fulfil national recyclability criteria in all countries we sell packaging.
- Fulfil Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) Global Commitment10.
To deliver on these goals, we have defined three different areas of focus dependent on market conditions:
- Driving higher recycling performance In countries with an already mature waste management sector, we support systemwide action and cooperation, advocate for efficient legislation to guide optimized collection systems, and contribute to the acceleration and scaling of sorting and recycling capacities.
- Advancing and transforming the recycling value chain In countries with already existing waste management infrastructure, we facilitate the transformation and optimisation of the sector, including adequate recycling capacity, building structural advancements in waste collection and sorting capabilities, and help to prepare for potential future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes.
- Activating collection and recycling In countries with a primarily informal waste management sector, we initiate new collection programmes, contribute to establishing sufficient recycling capacity, and build circular economy awareness. See the map to explore collection and recycling initiatives in 2022.
Collection and recycling initiatives
- Driving higher recycling performance
- Advancing the recycling value chain
- Activating collection and recycling
- Supporting workers in collection and recycling
Furniture made from recycled carton packages
In 2022, we collaborated with Dutch design firm, Aectual, to create a series of furniture made entirely from polyAl. Launched at the Milan Design Fair in June 2022, the Aectual x Tetra Pak concept line includes stylish and functional stools, planters, wall panels, window screens and more - all 3D printed. The products are created using less materials, there’s no stock and production is on demand. After use, products are returned, shredded, and reprinted to create new products – reducing up to 600% of material over a 50-year period. Our recently opened offices in Tokyo, Japan, and in Dublin, Ireland, have several pieces of Aectual furniture, and this product line will also be used in our offices in Sweden, Singapore, and Italy in 2023.
Aectual developed and is commercializing a range of design furniture made from the recycled plastics and aluminium content of carton packages. We are expanding the use of these products in our offices. It is part of our Future Work Experience strategy to ensure that we live up to our promise to protect food, people and the planet in our workplace every day.
FREM Director of Workplace Experience & Real Estate
1 Based on a global carton recycling rate of 25% and Tetra Pak sales of 193 billion packages, we estimate the 1.2 million tonnes of carton packages collected for recycling includes approximately 48 billion Tetra Pak carton packages.
2 For the reported carton packages collected for recycling we use, where available, official publicly available data from renowned sources such as governmental agency, registered recovery organization, nationwide industry association, NGO etc. reported on a regular basis using a consistent approach.
3 Paper-based carton packages are recyclable where adequate collection, sorting and recycling infrastructures are in place
4 The non-fibre component of carton packages is known as polyAl, which designates the layers of polyolefins and aluminium being used as barrier against oxygen and humidity to protect the food content in aseptic carton packages.
5 We estimate the gross effective recycling rate by deducing the non-recycled polyAl from the weight of carton package bales sent to recyclers. Any additional contaminants, impurities and moisture are not taken into account in this measure.
6 Reported carton packages collection rate is based on the share of cartons collected and sent for recycling versus cartons deployed. We use, where available, official publicly available data from renowned sources such as governmental agency, registered recovery organization, nationwide industry association, NGO etc. reported on a regular basis using a consistent approach.
7 Both operational and capital expenditures. Capital expenditures are a company's major, long-term expenditures while operating expenditures are a company's day-to-day expenditures.
8 Both Operating Expenditure (OPEX) and Capital Expenditure (CAPEX).
9 Collection increase depending on supporting policy implementation per EU member country.
10 The Global Commitment is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme. Through the Global Commitment, businesses and governments commit to change how we produce, use, and reuse plastic. They will work to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastic we do need is designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment." Source: https://ellenmacarthurfoundation. org/global-commitment-2022/overview