In connection with its sustainability program “Nourishing a Better Planet”, FrieslandCampina is now focusing on improving the sustainability of its packaging. The dairy producer has therefore introduced 100% recycled PET bottles* (rPET). Cécémel will be leading the way. A new removable sleeve with a “zipper fastening” has also been developed especially for these bottles. Thanks to this zipper, consumers can easily remove the sleeve so that the packaging can be completely recycled.
In January 2021, FrieslandCampina invested in a new high-tech production line in Aalter for PET dairy bottles made from 100% recycled material. This year alone, the new production line will replace over 125 million existing PET bottles made from 20% recycled plastic with bottles made from 100% recycled materials. This will avoid the use of around 1.9 million kilogrammes of “new” plastic each year thanks to the use of recycled materials.
Because the bottles can only be fully recycled if consumers remove the sleeve first, FrieslandCampina’s Research & Development department, in partnership with Fost Plus, has developed a brand-new “zipper fastening” that makes it easier to remove the sleeve.
Jeroen Van de Broek, Managing Director of FrieslandCampina in Belgium: ‘These are two important milestones along the way to improving the sustainability of our chain. We are the first Belgian dairy producer to put the 100% rPET bottles* on the market in order to keep the use of “new” materials to an absolute minimum. In addition, we want to make sure consumers know about the new detachable sleeves to promote better recycling.’
*The bottles of the new rPET line are made from 100% recycled materials, but the sleeve and the top are not.
A sleeve that simplifies and improves sorting
The new recycled PET bottles are transparent. This makes the bottle itself suitable for recycling. Transparent, clear PET bottles represent approximately 16% of the contents of the New Blue Bag. Unlike water and soft drinks, dairy products are very sensitive to sunlight. So in order to guarantee fresh, high-quality and tasty products, the PET bottles are covered with a sleeve. However, these sleeves make the sorting process in the sorting centres more difficult. Because of the sleeve, the cameras that are used for sorting cannot recognise the bottles underneath, which means they are not recycled and the material does not go back into the circular chain.
As PET bottles can therefore only be fully recycled if consumers remove this sleeve, the FrieslandCampina Research & Development department, in partnership with Fost Plus, has designed a “zipper fastening”, which means the sleeves can now be easily removed from the bottles. The sleeves and bottles can then be placed in the New Blue Bag separately. This means the bottles can be recognised in the sorting centres and all of the packaging will be recycled. With this innovation, FrieslandCampina has simplified and improved the sorting process for consumers.