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.
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.”
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.
“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.