DENMARK – Danish dairy giant, Arla Foods, has partnered with Blue Ocean Closures, a Swedish start-up specializing in sustainable closures, to develop a new cap made from biodegradable and recyclable fibre material.

According to the dairy giant, the move is aimed to reduce the company’s plastic consumption by more than 500 tonnes annually as the standard caps make up for around 23% of the plastic used in its cartons.

“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,” Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, chief commercial officer at Arla Foods said.

“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.”  

According to Alpla Group, a world leader in the development and production of innovative plastic packaging solutions, the collaboration between Arla and Blue Ocean Closures has great potential and is an important strategic development for the group.

“We are delighted to work with Arla, acting as a frontrunner to create a real difference in packaging sustainability,” Christian Zmölnig, director of corporate research, development and innovation of Alpla Group and part owner of Blue Ocean Closures said.

“The solution will increase recyclability with increased fibre content, starting in Scandinavia and paving the way for global change.”

Blue Ocean Closures’ fibre-based caps constitute a body made of FSC-certified fibre material and a thin barrier coating.

Created using advanced, proprietary vacuum press forming, it is reported that each cap is bio-based, biodegradable in the ocean, and recyclable in existing paper streams.

At the same time, it aims to contribute towards the company’s goal of eliminating fossil-based virgin plastic in its packaging range by 2030.

Arla has previously considered removing caps from its packaging portfolio to improve the environmental sustainability of its products.

However, when Arla tried to remove the lids of its organic range in Denmark in 2020, it faced consumer criticism as they were “unhappy with the loss of convenience,” according to the business.

“We know that consumers like the convenience a cap provides and while we have removed the cap completely from some of our ranges, we acknowledge this need and want to provide a choice for consumers,” underscores Giørtz-Carlsen.

“But if we have to have a cap, we want to create the best possible one and that is what we are doing now.”

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