EcoPlus Drink Cartons Trim Packaging Emissions by One-Third

LINNICH, Germany —  A maker of carton packaging for drinks and liquid foods has developed a new carton format that reduces the carbon footprint of packages by almost a third.

SIG Combibloc's new EcoPlus format for 1 liter aseptic cartons results in 28 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions from between sourcing raw materials to the packages being shipped out of SIG Combibloc's processing plants, according to a life cycle analysis by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany.

The packaging uses a new cardboard composite structure made of more than 80 percent wood fiber from Forest Stewardship Council certified sources. 

It also includes a new, thinner polyamide layer, which protects the flavor and odor of what's inside the packaging, and thin layers of polyethylene on the inside and outside of the carton to protect against moisture.

Carton packages from SIG Combibloc, Tetra Pak and others have gained popularity due to their lighter weight compared to other packaging materials and long shelf lives they can provide. Although the packages are recyclable, widespread recycling services don't exists in all places they are used, and the resulting recyclable materials are not endlessly recyclable back into new packaging like with glass or aluminum.

The first customer to use the new EcoPlus format is European dairy producer Milch-Union Hocheifel. SIG Combibloc plans to expand the EcoPlus format to other packaging sizes and for other drink uses like for non-carbonated juices.