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Philippine Environment Month: Tetra Pak reaffirms environment protection commitment

Global food packaging solutions leader Tetra Pak: securing the future, one carton at a time

In conjunction with the Philippine Environment Month, food packaging and processing solutions leader Tetra Pak reaffirms its commitment to “Protect What’s Good” by working with customers and partners to achieve high food safety and availability standards and protect the planet.

“This year’s theme for Philippine Environment Month, ‘Aksyon Para sa Natatanging Mundo,’ highlights the #OnlyOneEarth campaign for the recently celebrated World Environment Day on June 5th and calls for collective and transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore the planet. The theme is apt and closely aligned to what we do here at Tetra Pak. We develop and offer sustainable and innovative food processing and packaging solutions that help make a difference in climate change, biodiversity and circularity. There is no other Planet Earth. There is only ONE and we must do everything we can to protect it,” shares John Jose, Marketing Director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia.

Packaging has been fundamental to building food supply chains and it comes at a cost to the planet. Our food system accounts for more than 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which increases as demand for food increases. Recognising this, Tetra Pak is consistently pursuing actions across the entire value chain to help create a sustainable tomorrow without ever compromising on food safety or quality.

“We need packaging solutions that take us into the future. Addressing complex issues such as climate change and circularity requires transformational innovation, collaboration and collective action among customers, suppliers, governments, recycling and waste collection partners and much more,” Jose continued.

Globally, Tetra Pak has made strides in its journey to achieving the world’s first sustainable packaging – a fully renewable, fully recyclable, carbon-neutral carton. In April this year, the company announced its plan to deploy its portfolio in tethered cap solutions, designed to enhance convenience for subsequent consumption and, more importantly, reduce litter as the cap will stay attached to the package. When the caps chosen are plant-based, made from polymers derived from responsibly sourced sugarcane, this helps reduce the carbon footprint of the carton further and increases the renewable content of the package. Additionally, Tetra Pak is working on accelerating the expansion of its paper straws offering to ensure renewable and carbon materials across the range of packaging solutions. The company recently shared that it is now testing a fibre-based barrier to substitute the aluminium layer currently used in food carton packages. Though already thinner than human hair, the aluminium layer plays a critical role in keeping the contents inside the carton safe. It also contributes to a third of the greenhouse gas emissions linked to base materials used by Tetra Pak.
Jose said, “In the Philippines, we will continue to work with our customers and partners to make food safe and available to more Filipinos through innovative packaging (and processing) solutions. Some of our customers have already adopted using carton packaging instead of other alternative materials and have also adopted using plant-based caps.”

Given its lower impact on nature, most food manufacturers and producers are already looking to paper-based packaging. Tetra Pak believes that carton packages are one of the best ways to feed the future sustainably. With their cartons composed of an average of 70 percent paperboard sourced from responsibly managed forests, the company is optimistic. According to Jose, 100% of the paperboard in Tetra Pak cartons packaged here in the region or imported and sold here come from FSCTM-certified forests and other controlled sources.

Apart from innovative solutions, carton collection and recycling also help close the loop on packaging. Working collaboratively to advance collection and develop sustainable recycling chains to realise a circular economy has always been core to Tetra Pak’s strategy.

Strengthening local linkages

Tetra Pak understands that helping scale up the collection and recycling capacity of its local partners is key to meeting its goals in the Philippines.

For example, Tetra Pak partnered with Nestle Philippines and leading developer DMCI homes on ‘Project ReBins,’ a community awareness and carton collection campaign, encouraging consumers to drop off their used beverage cartons (UBCs) in recycling bins located in selected condominium communities. The campaign has helped repurpose a total of close to 650,000 packs (6 Metric Tonnes) of UBCs collected from 30 DMCI properties reaching over 30,000 households, since September 2020.

With CARPEL, the country’s largest waste paper consolidator, Tetra Pak have been running Used Beverage Carton (UBC) collection campaigns in the past two years, encouraging participating junk shops to collect as many used beverage cartons in exchange for items or cash rewards.

Other community collection programs with social enterprise organisations such as Green Antz and the Pink Flamingo (the Plaf) continue to grow, with numbers of recycling drop-off points exceeding one hundred all over Metro Manila.

Tetra Pak Philippines recently partnered with Basic Environmental Systems & Technologies (BEST) to raise awareness of the importance of recycling used beverage cartons and help provide more collection points for carton recycling via BEST’s Trash to Cashback program. End consumers can bring in their recyclables, including used beverage cartons, to BEST Trash to Cashback booths across the Metro in exchange for points that can redeem rewards on the bXtra platform, such as restaurant rebates and shopping credits on eCommerce sites, among others.
On June 18 and 19, BEST, in collaboration with Tetra Pak, will be setting up a Trash to Cashback promotional booth in selected areas within Bonifacio Global City (BGC). Members of the public are not only invited and welcomed to drop off their recyclables, including their used beverage cartons, in exchange for bXtra Card points. For every 15 cartons exchanged, visitors will receive a beverage product packed in a Tetra Pak carton. Visitors are also encouraged to learn more about carton recycling via an educational video produced by Tetra Pak Philippines, Nestle Philippines, and School Studio. Plus, those who watch Tetra Pak’s educational video and answer quiz questions correctly will have a chance to walk away with exciting prizes.

“These partnerships are just some of many that we have running. We believe that the urgent work to protect the planet requires sustained and committed action, so we will not stop here. We envision a world where carton packages never become waste, where every carton is collected and recycled. That is our recycling ambition,” concluded Jose.

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