Ecolean packages recognized for their recyclability in South Korea

Aluminium-free packaging

Ecolean’s aseptic packages are graded as easy to recycle in South Korea thanks to their aluminium-free composition. Photo - Ecolean

South Korea’s Ministry of Environment has recognized Ecolean’s aseptic packages’ recyclability, which ranks higher than most other food and drinks packaging solutions in its new recyclability grading system. The absence of aluminum, which is often used for aseptic cartons and another liquid food packaging, means Ecolean’s portfolio ranked ‘good’ in a four-grade scale to determine how easily packages can be recycled.

Established in 1996, the Swedish company Ecolean develops and manufactures innovative packaging systems for the beverage, dairy, and liquid food industry. Ecolean’s modern lightweight packaging is consumer convenience and environmental concern in one. The company has commercial activities in over 30 countries, with China, Pakistan, Russia, and Europe being its largest markets.

food service cafe 7 bright

The announcement follows South Korea’s introduction last December of the Act on the promotion of saving and recycling resources, requiring food and beverage packaging to contain labels that show a material’s recyclability grade, thereby encouraging resource efficiency and using easy-to-recycle packages. A nine-month grace period for businesses to comply with the new regulations ends this September.

“The South Korean Ministry of Environment’s grade of the Ecolean packages’ recyclability only confirms that we are on the right path – developing and manufacturing unique packaging solutions that make a difference in the long run,” said Paul Mellbin, senior advisor, Ambient Technology at Ecolean. “As a global producer of lightweight packaging, Ecolean makes it easier for consumers, liquid food brands as well as the environment.”

Aluminium-free packaging

Ecolean’s lightweight portfolio consists of aseptic, flexible packaging made from polyolefins and up to 35% chalk, giving the packages their strength, stiffness, and smooth surface.
The printed, shaped, and fully sealed packages are sterilized using electron beam treatment before shipping to the filling machine at the customer’s site. Before opening, filling, and sealing in the filling machines, the packages’ outer surfaces are resterilized using a system of 1% peroxide spray and UV light.

paul mellbin 52206 3
Paul Mellbin, senior advisor Ambient Technology, Ecolean

“The fact that our type of sterilization process is separated from the filling machines and performed at the Ecolean manufacturing plants is quite unique in the industry and something we are very proud of. It makes the process easier for our customers, and that as well as having sustainability in mind when designing our lightweight packaging solutions is key. The confirmed recyclability of our packages in South Korea just further adds to the fact that our unique approach is crucial for the beverage, dairy and liquid food industry,” Mellbin said.

Ecolean increased its footprint in South Korea last year, with Yakult selecting its Air Aseptic range for two new launches in the country. “The Ecolean package is the perfect fit for us, since it is lightweight and flexible, yet extremely durable. We have already seen a huge interest from consumers,” Jeonghyeon Hong, marketing manager, Yakult Korea, said.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here