An increasing number of Valio’s products are packaged in renewable-based solutions, such as packaging board. Currently, 72% of all Valio packaging materials used in Finland are made from renewable materials. The latest packaging board can now be found on the yogurt shelf: this autumn’s newest yogurts, Valio Luonnonjogurtti+ baked apple and Valio Luonnonjogurtti+ mango & peach, are packaged in board-based cups. Valio’s goal is to shift to board-based packaging as much as possible gradually.
Environmentally smart packaging minimizes climate impacts, is made from renewable or recycled materials, and is fully recyclable. This kind of product packaging will increase every year. Already 72% of Valio’s single-use packaging materials in Finland are made from renewable materials. For example, gable-top milk, yogurt, sour milk, and cream cartons – and their caps – are made from plant-based, renewable material. Valio annually packages more than 250 million units this way.
“More and more often, Valio’s packaging is being produced from renewable materials that are easy to recycle – and increasingly from recycled materials as well. We replace fossil-based plastics with renewable, plant-based solutions and recycled materials, such as recycled plastics and board. Our goal is that eventually all our product packaging is made from plant-based or recycled materials and is one hundred percent recyclable,” says Juhana Pilkama, Valio’s head of Packaging Development.
The new board-based yogurt cups are a good example of environmentally smart packaging. By using a board-based solution instead of plastic for the yogurt cups, Valio reduces plastic use by 67%. The new yogurt cups can now be recycled easily in the cardboard recycling bin.
New life for recycled packaging
Plastic is still necessary when packaging food products, and it can’t be completely replaced. All board-based packaging has a thin plastic film to ensure that a liquid product doesn’t leak or spoil.
“Packaging is designed to protect the product from spoiling. When recycled properly, also plastic packaging is a good thing. Plastic also can be manufactured from plant-based materials or recycled plastic materials. When plastic packaging is recycled, it can be turned into other products, like cleaning tools or decking boards made from recycled plastic. Recycled plastic already accounts for more than 50% of Valio’s sliced cheese packaging. That’s why it’s very important to recycle all recyclable material.”
Recyclable materials are valuable yet are often thrown into mixed waste when they could still be recovered for reuse.
“For example, the aluminum lid on a yogurt cup seems like such a minor thing, but it should be recycled because there’s a demand for aluminum as a raw material – and it’s so easy to recycle it in the metal recycling bin,” notes Pilkama.