Fonterra announces commitments to reduce plastic waste

5 July 2019 (Last Updated July 5th, 2019 13:09)

New Zealand-based dairy co-operative Fonterra has announced a series of commitments to reduce plastic pollution across its operations by 2025.

Fonterra announces commitments to reduce plastic waste
A Fonterra facility at 3792 W Coast Rd, Darfield 7571, New Zealand. Credit: Fonterra Co-operative Group.

New Zealand-based dairy co-operative Fonterra has announced a series of commitments to reduce plastic pollution across its operations by 2025.

The company has made this decision as more consumers are choosing products that are environmentally friendly.

It is planning to send no solid waste to landfill by 2025 and expects to have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 globally.

According to the dairy firm, around 90% of its products sold across New Zealand are recyclable and the new targets stretch across its global footprint.

Fonterra sustainability director Carolyn Mortland said: “We export 95% of our local production to more than 140 countries, so our supply chain is complex and there’s different infrastructure in each market.

“New Zealand has its own challenges, like the fact that Auckland is currently the only city with the facilities to fill glass bottles. For glass to be a more sustainable alternative to plastic, bottles must be re-used several times before recycling.

“Moving heavy glass around the country and back-and-forth to Auckland for cleaning and re-using would use a lot of emissions. We’ve certainly looked into it, but without a well-developed nationwide system to sterilise and fill bottles for re-use at scale, it’s unfortunately not viable for us at this time.”

In addition, the company is focussing on maintaining standards of food safety and quality, as well as extend the shelf-life of a product through its packaging. This move will allow it to reduce food waste.

The company is also planning to continue its collaboration with Future Post to recycle Anchor milk bottles and SKYCITY to turn bottles into shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles in an effort to reach its new targets.

Mortland concluded: “Tackling the waste problem won’t be easy. But we can get there with a collective effort by everyone, from government, local and regional councils, businesses, scientists, community groups and consumers.”