Dairy cooperative Arla Foods is teaming up with Blue Ocean Closures in a formal partnership to create a fibre-based cap for its milk cartons. This could be a first in the dairy industry and would reduce Arla’s plastic consumption by more than 500 tonnes annually if implemented.
The cardboard milk carton is a well-known classic in several countries and while the packaging has undergone several transformations over the years and is now a near-optimal choice in terms of food safety and sustainability, the time has come to completely rethink a small yet significant part; the cap.
Making up for around 23 per cent of the plastic used in Arla’s cartons, the farmer-owned dairy cooperative has set its sights on the caps as part of its sustainable packaging strategy to eliminate use of fossil-based virgin plastic in its packaging by 2030.
“Improving our packaging, including reducing our use of plastic, is imperative to us and we know that consumers are also very invested in this area. This project to explore what could very well be the first fibre-based cap on milk cartons is very exciting and shows that we at Arla are constantly looking to improve and lead the transformation of sustainable packaging,” says chief commercial officer at Arla Foods, Peter Giørtz-Carlsen.
The cap has a body made of sustainably sourced FSC fibre material combined with a thin barrier coating. Using advanced, proprietary vacuum press forming, this allows for a cap that is biobased, ocean biodegradable and recyclable as paper.
Lars Sandberg, CEO at Blue Ocean Closures, states: “We are delighted to work with Arla, acting as a frontrunner to create a real difference in packaging sustainability. With increased fibre content, the solution will increase recyclability, starting in Scandinavia and paving the way for global change.”
Part owner of Blue Ocean Closures, ALPLA Group is involved in the technical development and Christian Zmölnig, director corporate research, development and innovation, says: “As part of ALPLA’s important strategic development in the circular economy, we see great potential in this collaboration between Arla and Blue Ocean Closures.”
With funding from Arla Foods, the plan is now to develop a fully functional prototype and complete the testing phase by start of next year.