Mondi, SalzburgMilch & SPAR partner to reduce plastic waste from food packaging

Reducing carbon footprint by two-thirds compared to the previous packaging solution

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Mondi
The PerFORMing removable range is the first in Europe to create 100% recyclable paper-based food trays. Photo - Mondi

Packaging and paper manufacturer, Mondi, is launching a fully recyclable 80% paper-based packaging solution for cold meats and cheese. The new packaging will reduce plastic usage for Austrian dairy producer SalzburgMilch by approximately 40 tons per year, compared to its previously used rigid plastic trays.

Mondi has launched its innovative PerFORMing removable partnership with SalzburgMilch for the brand SalzburgMilch Premium and the premium own-brand SPAR Natur*pur organic cheese slices. The shallow paper tray combines the recyclability of paper with a thin plastic coating’s essential barrier properties to keep food fresh and avoid waste.

Mondi released its original PerFORMing range in 2019 and has continued to work hard to make it even more sustainable. The original product could be recycled in Austrian paper recycling streams. The updated product now consists of paper and fully removable plastic, easily separated from the paper tray allowing for 100% paper recycling across Europe.

The product is made locally in Austria, meaning transportation is kept to a minimum, and the overall carbon footprint is reduced. The base paper for the tray is Advantage Formable, made predominantly from locally sourced wood and produced by Mondi Frantschach, while the trays are processed and coated by Mondi Zeltweg, both located in Austria.

PerFORMing removable is part of Mondi’s EcoSolutions approach to finding the most sustainable and fit for purpose packaging for its customers, focusing on replacing, reducing, and recycling. SalzburgMilch and SPAR are using Mondi’s product for their 175g packets of sliced cheese, available in SPAR stores across Austria.

Switching to paper-based packaging offers numerous environmental benefits, including being a renewable resource with higher recycling rates than other packaging materials. The paper industry accounts for less than 1% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions, while 72% of Europe’s paper is recycled.

Marko Schuster, chief operating officer of Mondi Functional Paper & Films, said, “Food waste is a global issue and we want to play our part to ensure our packaging is sustainable by design and addresses the issue of food loss. We always had an aspiration to continue improving our PerFORMing range. The PerFORMing removable uses paper where possible, significantly reducing the carbon footprint, and plastic when useful, to extend the shelf life and help prevent food waste. As both components can easily be separated and the paper fully recycled across Europe, this is a big step for us with waste streams differing vastly across regions. We will continue to further develop our products as we work with partners to create a circular economy for sustainable packaging.”

Andreas Gasteiger, managing director of SalzburgMilch, said, “Climate and environmental protection has always been a very important issue. We have already saved over 100 tons of plastic through numerous measures in the last three years and we are not resting on our laurels, which is why we have made further improvements to our new paper trays.”

Gerhard Drexel, SPAR chief executive officer, said: “Our initiative ‘Save plastics together with SPAR’ aims to avoid plastics completely or reduce them significantly. Mondi’s paper-based and recyclable packaging creates innovative solutions for fresh products that could not be sold without packaging.”

According to the press release, the technical details about the product include formable paper packaging with a patented barrier, made from natural brown paper (Advantage Formable Brown), ideally suited for shallow food trays (for example for cheese, meat, or fish), high symmetrical stretch for uniform formability, suitable for existing filling lines, results in 70% less plastic used compared to plastic trays, and 70% CO2 reduction compared to the plastic alternative.

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