Innovation Insight – Elopak

Pure Sustainability

Elopak is leading the global drive for greater sustainability and one clear expression of its mission can be found in the company’s latest Pure-Pak cartons. Elopak is fully committed to moving forward as sustainably as possible, whether it is with its high-quality beverage cartons or across the entire breadth of its diverse company operations.

Interestingly, Elopak was the first carbon-neutral company in the industry to offer carbon-neutral cartons and was also the first to produce 100% renewable cartons made entirely from wood. When it comes to beverages, cartons have unrivalled environmental credentials when compared with alternatives such as plastic bottles.

A recent Lifecycle Assessment Study showed that in comparison to PET bottles, sustainably produced UHT milk cartons resulted in 70.7% less CO2 emissions and in the case of fresh milk it was a massive 83.6% less. In its on-going drive for sustainability Elopak has been pushing this advantage still further and recently reduced the carbon footprint of its cartons by a further 20%.

Sustainability in partnership

With its focus on innovation, Elopak works in close partnership with its customers to help them achieve their sustainability goals by reducing the overall environmental footprint of their finished products. Elopak’s special cartons also help to keep the product safe and fresh, thus minimising waste whilst supporting the effective communication of the brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Innovation and collaboration are central to Elopak’s innovative approach to a greener planet. Since 2017 Elopak has increased its research and development spending by more than 25%, thus allowing it to explore new ways to make the company’s iconic Pure-Pak® cartons more sustainable and recyclable than ever. Recent innovative developments include Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons, which are 100% renewable, recyclable and offer a much lower CO2 footprint than conventional cartons. This is due to their significantly reduced wood consumption and the important elimination of the bleaching process. Their rustic, natural look effectively communicates this commitment to sustainability and in turn enhances the products unique shelf appeal. 

Forest-based future

Since its launch, Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons has served as a platform for further sustainability-focused innovations, these include the latest ‘Pure-Pak® Imagine carton’ which was launched in 2020 and is 100% forest-based. . The carton is an futuristic version of the company’s original Pure-Pak® carton, containing 46% less plastic and now designed with a new easy-open feature. In addition, it has no plastic screw cap, thus making it Elopak’s most environmentally friendly carton to date.

Among those to have adopted the ‘Pure-Pak® Imagine’ carton is the multinational European dairy cooperative: FrieslandCampina. Campina Organic is now available in its advanced environment-friendly packaging in line with the dairy’s ‘Nourishing a better planet’ sustainability programme. The new packaging saves 38% CO2 emissions compared to the earlier packaging, with any remaining emissions fully compensated to ensure that it remains completely ‘climate neutral’.

While Elopak’s Pure-Pak® cartons are already renewable and recyclable, the company continues to push itself to become ever more sustainable. Having reduced emissions by 70% between 2008 and 2018, Elopak is now working towards a 55 per cent reduction of internal emissions by 2030, and a 16 per cent reduction across the value chain by 2030 from a 2017 baseline. This is in line with its status as one of the first companies to have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, which is a commitment to keep the rise in global average temperature below 1.5°C.

It is no surprise therefore that Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons have quickly become a firm favourite with its customers and in February 2021 the volume produced of these cartons surpassed one billion units. Their lower CO2 footprint means an estimated 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been eliminated as a result. This is equivalent to approximately 1,400 round-trip flights for one person between London and New York. SPN congratulates Elopak on its dedicated drive for global sustainability and sees this result as an iconic achievement in itself!