Today (5 April) multinational packaging and processing company Tetra Pak has announced its most recent recycling initiatives are helping it to deliver a sustainable future, in the lead-up to Earth Day on 22 April.

Tetra Pak says the various recycling initiatives it has put in place are helping to keep valuable materials in use and out of landfill. The company states that it has grown a number of recycling operations handling cartons worldwide. In fact, it says it has seen the number grow from 40 in 2010 to over 200 in 2023.

The Switzerland headquartered company states that according to the World Bank, global waste is predicted to increase to 70% by 2050 unless significant action is taken. 

Tetra Pak is firmly behind the idea of building a circular economy and vice president of sustainability operations at Tetra Pak, Markus Pfanner explains that building a circular economy requires system-wide action and cooperation, supported by a regulatory framework.

The company points out that paper-based beverage cartons are recyclable when there are suitable recycling infrastructures in place and estimates that globally 1.2 million tonnes of beverage cartons have been collected and sent for recycling in 2021.

“We need to move away from linear ‘take-make-waste’ model towards a more connected circular economy. But being part of a circular solution can’t be driven singlehandedly by one individual or entity – scientists, policymakers, recyclers,  industry players and citizens must work together,” said Pfanner.

Recent Tetra Pak collaborations have been focused on creating additional recycling capacity and increasing collection rates. In February for example, it co-invested in four facilities across Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Last year it invested close to EUR30m (US$32.81m) on projects worldwide and stated that it plans to input a further EUR40m per year into global projects. This falls in line with Tetra Pak’s collection and recycling beverage carton targets.

The company’s goals also include realising the national recyclability criteria for packages in all of the countries it operates.

Vice president of collection and recycling at Tetra Pak Christine Levêque said: “Three principles are guiding our circularity agenda: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems. These hero initiatives showcase how innovation and a clear drive to change the status quo are key to keep quality materials in circulation and minimise the use of new ones. 

“None of these developments could be realised without our 70 experts around the globe, who are collaborating every day with recyclers, local authorities and food and beverage manufacturers to drive the transformation needed to scale up collection and recycling.”