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The food packaging of the future to be made of cardboard paper

In a new GUDP-funded project, called DairyFibreCup, Danish food companies and researchers are working together to develop a new and more sustainable packaging for sour milk products, by replacing plastic with cardboard paper.

Plastic-pollution in the oceans is an important topic on the political agenda, both in Denmark and internationally. According to the European Commission, plastic amounts to 80% of all human waste in the oceans, with 70% of the plastic coming from disposable products and packing. Because of this, certain types of plastic packing have already been prohibited within the EU.

Therefore, the development of alternatives to plastic packing is crucial. This is the goal of the project DairyFibreCup, a collaboration between dairy giant Arla Foods, the retail company Dagrofa and the research units FCMtesting and the Danish Technological Institute. The focus is on developing a sustainable production of paper-based packing for sour milk products such as yoghurt, crème fraiche and skyr.

Recyclable material

The new packing will be based on cellulose fibres instead of oil and will be recyclable as paper – thereby strengthening a sustainable utilisation of resources.

Initially, the Danish Technological Institute is developing the new packing for skyr or yoghurt products. The project comprises design of the cup and development of production equipment. The equipment is used in a test production of cups, where the new packing is tried and filled with skyr or yoghurt at Arla’s innovation centre.

The production of the new paper cups fits well with Arla’s general sustainability-strategy, where the reduction of plastic consumption is a key step. If the project turns out successful, Arla will expand to other dairy products – which will potentially include more than a half billion paper cups.

Senior specialist Søren R. Østergaard from the Danish Technological Institute expects, that the DairyFibreCup-project will be able to replace 10.000 tons of plastic packing with 8.000 tons of recyclable and biodegradable paper packing. This will result in a CO2-reduction of more than 20.000 tons per year.

Source: Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark