Arla to bring 40 million wood-based packages into supermarkets
In Finland, Arla Oy, the Finnish subsidiary of the Nordic dairy cooperative major Arla is the first company in the country to use renewable wood-based bioplastics in gable top paperboard cartons for milk, yogurt, and cooking products. The tall oil-based raw material has been developed by forest industry major UPM. As a result of the revamp, more than 40 million Arla packages will become more environmentally-friendly in 2019.
Bioplastic is well suited to dairy product packaging as it has the same technical characteristics as the conventional plastic used in cartons. Like the old material, the new packaging can be recycled with cardboard.
When we have a liquid product such as milk, a thin plastic film is needed inside the carton for reasons of product safety and shelf life. In our new packaging, the source of plastic is now even more responsible because it is made of wood-based raw material, said Sanna Heikfolk, Brand & Category Manager at Arla.
Wood-based bioplastic reduces the carbon footprint
UPM’s Lappeenranta biorefinery utilises tall oil that is a residue of pulp production in the raw material for the new bioplastic cartons. The packaging is made by Elopak, and the Dow Chemical Company is also involved in the collaboration.
The use of wood-based bioplastics in Arla’s gable top cartons reduces the need for fossil-based plastics by 180 tonnes per annum while also reducing the packaging’s carbon footprint by about a fifth.
Launching more environmentally-friendly packaging in the food industry and for consumers has been a shared goal of Arla, Elopak and UPM. Arla and Elopak have been working together in this field since 2014, and now was the time to take the next step in the packaging development process.
A conventional milk carton is usually about 85 percent paperboard. We wanted to launch a type of packaging that would be 100 percent wood-based and in which the plastic would also be wood based, said Elopak’s Managing Director, Juha Oksanen.
Finnish innovation from forest to table
With Arla’s new packaging, UPM’s wood-based innovation, UPM BioVerno naphtha, can be used in bioplastics for paperboard packaging. UPM’s innovation has the Key Flag Symbol to prove its Finnish origin.
Arla is continuously working on developing more responsible packaging solutions. In addition to the gable top packaging, Arla is also renewing its 150-gram Luonto+ yogurt packaging by replacing the plastic pots and lids with paperboard. As a result, consumers will be able to recycle all parts of the new packaging in their cardboard collection.