A conventional milk carton usually consists of 70-85% paperboard. A thin plastic coating is needed inside the carton for product safety and shelf life. But Arla wanted to launch 100% wood-based packaging.
That’s why Arla Finland teamed up with the Norwegian packaging company Elopak and the Finnish biofuel company, UPM. They had a common goal: to find a more sustainable solution for the packaging. UPM came up with a new invention: a wood-based bio plastic made from FSC-certified Finnish wood.
This means that the thin plastic coating on the inner surfaces of the cartons is now replaced by tall oil-based bio plastic.
The wood-based invention is not the only great renewal Arla Finland introduced recently. Since 2019, Arla Finland has also been using fibre-based cups of Swedish packaging company Arta Plast in the Luonto+ yoghurt. Previously, only one product in Sweden – a crème fraiche – was packed in this material.
For the consumer, also the fibre cup is easy to recycle: all parts of the new packaging can be recycled as cardboard – even the cover, as it is also made from fibre-based material.
It might seem like a small act, but the impact is huge. The revamp has made more than 40 million cartons annually more environmentally friendly in Finland. The need for fossil-based plastics has been reduced by almost 200,000 kilograms per year. As a result, the carbon footprint of milk cartons is now about 20% smaller and carbon footprint of fibre yoghurt cups 43% smaller compared to the previous packaging.