Denmark-based dairy company Arla Foods has entered into a formal partnership with sustainable startup Blue Ocean Closures to create fibre-based caps for Arla’s milk cartons.

The dairy company claimed that this could be the industry-first initiative that will allow it to minimise its plastic usage by over 500 tonnes per annum.

As part of this joint effort, Blue Ocean Closures will utilise funding from Arla to first develop a fully functional prototype of the fibre-based caps, followed by the testing phase, all of which are expected to be completed at the start of next year.

ALPLA Group, part owner of Blue Ocean Closures, will also be involved in the technical development process of this project.

ALPLA Corporate Research, Development and Innovation Christian Zmölnig director said: “As part of ALPLA’s important strategic development in the circular economy, we see great potential in this collaboration between Arla and Blue Ocean Closures.”

Arla’s milk cartons are sold in various markets, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden.

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By GlobalData

The latest effort is also in line with the dairy cooperative’s sustainable packaging strategy, under which it aims to eliminate the use of fossil-based virgin plastic for the production of its products’ packaging by 2030.

Arla CCO Peter Giørtz-Carlsen said: “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.

“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.”

The body of Blue Ocean Closures’ fibre-based cap is made using sustainably sourced and Forest Stewardship Council-certified fibre materials, which is then combined with a thin barrier coating.

The company then uses advanced, proprietary vacuum press forming technology to create the cap itself, which is said to be biobased, ocean biodegradable, and recyclable.

Blue Ocean Closures CEO Lars Sandberg said: “With increased fibre content, the solution will increase recyclability, starting in Scandinavia and paving the way for global change.”