The retailer has partnered with sustainable material developer Avantium for its PEF (polyethylene furanoate) material – a fully recyclable polymer that can be used for a variety of packaging types, including bottles, film and textiles.
Albert Heijn’s new PEF fruit juice bottles will be produced by global beverage solutions provider Refresco.
The bottles are anticipated to be available in stores once Avantium’s commercial PEF plant commences operations in the second half of 2024.
Beyond its sustainability credentials, Avantium’s PEF excels in barrier properties, effectively extending the shelf life of beverages and food products, the retailer added.
Moreover, PEF is derived from plant-based materials, thereby contributing to a reduction in reliance on fossil fuels.
Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn, stated, “Based on the mission ‘Making better food accessible together for everyone,’ Albert Heijn wants to transfer a liveable earth to future generations.
“To make this possible, we focus, among other things, on making packaging more sustainable. In addition to packaging reduction, recyclability and reuse, fossil-free materials are high on our wish list. We achieve this by using PEF.”
‘A Significant Step’
Albert Heijn noted that it is committed to enhancing the sustainability of its packaging, and the utilisation of PEF represents a significant step in this direction.
Avantium believes that PEF could revolutionise the packaging industry and is committed to collaborating with partners like Albert Heijn to establish PEF as a widely used material.
The sustainable chemistry technology company is constructing the world’s first commercial PEF plant in Delfzijl, in the Netherlands, with an initial capacity of five kilotonnes of FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid), the key building block for PEF.
Subsequently, PEF production will be scaled up to plants of 100 kilotonnes and beyond, enabling the large-scale production of FDCA and PEF through technology licensing.