Dairy group Valio reduced the plastic content of its product packaging by 485,000 kilograms in 2020 – an amount equivalent to 23 million plastic shopping bags.
The amount of packaging produced from recycled plastic was 250 tonnes, or the equivalent of 10.9 million half-litre bottles.
In 2020, 24% of Valio's plastic packaging was plant-based, the company added.
Packaging generally contributes to a small percentage of the carbon footprint of an individual product, but the combined effect of millions and millions of packages makes the choice of materials significant.
Cutting down on plastics is part of Valio's sustainability target. The company has also introduced many environmentally-friendly innovations in response to customer feedback, such as replacing plastic straws on the manufacturer's juice cartons.
Juhana Pilkama, head of packaging development at Valio, said, "Hundreds of different products are manufactured every day at Valio's plants in Finland alone, and roughly a billion pieces of product packaging are used each year.
"Last year, we removed plastic lids and spoons from the packaging of Valio PROfeel puddings, and this alone reduced the annual consumption of plastic packaging by approximately 150,000 kilograms. This is equivalent to about seven million plastic carrier bags."
Recycled Plastic Packaging
In the future, the manufacturer said that will continue to reduce the use of plastic in general, increase the use of recycled plastic, favour plant-based materials in its packaging, and place more emphasis on the circular economy, the company added.
Pilkama acknowledged the difficulties associated with removing plastic but added that the group is "striving to reduce the amount of plastic to a minimum, without compromising the product's shelf life."
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.