Danone accelerates the transition towards a circular economy of packaging
By Food in Canada staffPackaging Business Operations Sustainability Beverages Dairy packaging
Danone announces a series of new commitments and actions to ensure its packaging will become 100 per cent circular, and to accelerate the global transition towards a circular economy of packaging. This includes: initiatives to improve product design and develop alternative delivery and reuse models; investments to develop effective, efficient and inclusive systems for increased collection and recycling, to boost recycling; and actions to preserve natural resources by reintegrating recycled materials into our packaging and developing use of renewable materials.
Danone announced it will accelerate transition towards circular economy of packaging in three ways:
- Packaging designed for circularity
Danone commits to ensure that all its packaging is designed to be 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Moreover, the company will develop alternative delivery models or new reuse models where relevant, and take action to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging.
Already, 86 per cent of Danone’s packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable, and 50 per cent of its water volumes are sold in reusable jugs. The company’s evian® bottles are already 100 per cent recyclable, and it has also piloted an innovation to eliminate non-recyclable shrink film for multipacks using specially designed adhesive and tape handles.
At the same time, the company acknowledges that it can, and should, do more. As part of its efforts, it will launch alternatives to plastic packaging or single-use packaging in all its major water markets by 2025; and it is assessing alternatives to plastic straws through a pilot program to be launched in 2019, by its AQUA brand in Indonesia.
- Reused, recycled and composted in practice
Danone recognizes that design won’t be enough to make its packaging fully circular. Effective collection and recycling systems are essential to ensuring packaging is recycled, reused or composted in practice.
To achieve this, the company says it will actively help to meet, or go beyond, the collection targets set by regulators, such as the minimum 90 per cent collection target for beverage bottles expected to be set in the EU for 2025. To do this, Danone says it will support the most effective publicly organized collection and recycling systems, including Extended Producer Responsibility and Deposit Return Scheme systems, when relevant.
Danone will also invest in private initiatives that strengthen circular infrastructure, especially in countries where formal systems are absent or in development, or where there is a high risk of leakage into the environment. By 2025, Danone will have initiated or supported collection and recycling initiatives in every one of its top 20 markets (representing around 90 per cent of sales).
Danone’s AQUA brand has pledged to recover more plastic than it uses in Indonesia, including through interception of marine littering. The company has already invested $5.25 million USD in the Closed Loop Fund, a voluntary private initiative that develops large scale recycling infrastructure and sustainable manufacturing technologies in the United States. Danone says it is looking to invest in similar initiatives, for instance through Circulate Capital in South East Asia.
From Argentina to Mexico, Ghana to Indonesia, Danone already acts to develop collection and recycling infrastructure by supporting waste pickers to establish a network of recycling business units that keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment.
- Preservation of natural resources
Transitioning to a circular economy means seeking to no longer use packaging from finite resources. This helps preserve natural resources and keep existing packaging materials in use and out of nature.
Using recycled content is a key component of this. Today, Danone says it uses 14 per cent of recycled PET on average in its water and other beverage bottles; by 2025, the company says it will increase this amount to 50 per cent. It’s evian® brand already contains 30 per cent recycled plastic (rPET) on average, and intends to reach 100 per cent by 2025. Danone launched its first 100 per cent recycled PET bottle with the Lanjaron Red natural mineral water brand in Spain. Danone says it will launch additional
100 per cent recycled PET bottles, reaching all major water markets by 2021.
In parallel, it will develop the use of renewable, bio-based materials. Danone has a joint project with Nestle, PepsiCo and Origin Materials to bring the first 75 per cent bio-based bottle to commercial scale by 2021, aiming to launch 100 per cent bio-based bottles by 2025.
New alliances to address the root causes of plastic waste and pollution
Collaboration is the cornerstone of success when it comes to circular economy. That is why Danone says it intends to keep driving collaboration both at global and local level.
As part of this effort, Danone will join others making a global commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment Program, other businesses, NGOs and governments, to address plastic waste and pollution.
Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, says “By looking at the whole system, from product design to developing new reuse models and collaborating with others, these commitments set Danone up to take important steps towards circularity. Commitments like those announced today can help drive the global momentum needed to create a circular economy for plastics that stops them from becoming waste and pollution. Now is the time to make it happen.”
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