Sustainable packaging

Renewable packaging across Europe

Arla has been working for years to make its packaging more sustainable. Starting in 2019 and continuing in 2020, we’re making 600 million milk cartons renewable and 560 million yoghurt pots recyclable in six countries.

Arla wants to help people live a more sustainable life and feel good about what’s in their fridge. That’s why we have been working for years to develop more sustainable packaging, making it easy for consumers to recycle. This is no easy task, as packaging safety poses certain dilemmas: it must protect the food while maintaining quality and freshness to avoid food waste. At the same time, sustainability relies on technological developments, material availability and the existence of recycling systems that enable a more circular flow of plastic in society.

Despite the challenges, Arla is making 600 million fresh milk cartons renewable and 560 million yoghurt pots recyclable starting in 2019 and continuing in 2020. In other words, 7,330 tonnes of carbon emissions will be cut: a 22% reduction compared to their fossil-based plastic predecessors.

The new conversion is one of Arla’s biggest achievements when it comes to sustainable packaging. Arla previously reduced packaging weight and switched to bio-based plastics, incorporated recycled materials and replaced greenhouse gas-intensive materials. Now we have replaced fossil-based plastic with bio-based plastic derived from sugar cane or forest waste in our renewable milk cartons. As for the yogurt pots, the conversion to recyclable plastic is possible if local recycling systems are properly equipped.

In pure numbers, this means that Arla has reduced the carbon impact of its packaging by 24% from 2005 to 2019, diverting more than 116,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere. Our target is a carbon reduction of 30% by 2030, reducing emissions from packaging by approximately 8,000 tonnes of CO2 every year until then. The ultimate aim for our entire portfolio is to be carbon net zero by 2050.

Currently, 90% of Arla’s packaging is recyclable in one of our core markets. The aim is to make all packaging recyclable in all of our core markets by 2025 – not only reach our own goals, but also to meet the demand of our contentious consumers.