It is a world premiere: school milk in Upper Austria is now packaged in 100% sustainable cups made of recycled PET (r-PET). The joint project of Austrian school milk producers and the three Upper Austrian companies PET-MAN, Starlinger viscotec and Greiner Packaging is revolutionizing the food packaging market and proves that a sustainable circular economy is possible.
When the bell announces the break, children in Upper Austria look forward to enjoying their school milk. Every day, around 36,000 children in Upper Austria are supplied with fresh school milk products such as fruit milk, drinking yoghurts or school milk cocoa.
Says Markus Neudorfer, Managing Partner, PET-MAN: “To carry through the origin idea of the regional and sustainable product to the packaging, we thought about how to make it so that the cups are 100% recyclable and reusable. The solution is a white cup made from 100% r-PET.”
The benefits of this material are obvious: it is lightweight, unbreakable and plasticiser-free, making it ideal for school kids. However, r-PET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) is far more than conventional plastics.
Commented Alisa Schröer, responsible for Circular Economy projects at Greiner Packaging: “The new r-PET cups consist of 100% recycled, unprinted r-PET mono material and can be recycled over and over again into 100% food-grade cups.”
Recycling the cups requires less energy than reprocessing reusable glass, for example, and produces less waste. The school milk farmers take the used cups back with their next school milk delivery. This results in over 30% less CO2 emissions compared to reusable glass bottles.
Said Herbert Hofbauer, Starlinger viscotec: “The cups are collected, washed and shredded. The shredded material, known as flakes, are then cleaned and processed using viscotec technology. This r-PET material will again be used to make cups for food packaging. As a result, many tons of packaging waste are avoided every year.”
The entire production and recycling loop of the school milk takes place in Upper Austria. The cows graze on local pastures and the fresh milk is bottled directly by the school milk farmers and delivered to the schools.
Added Johannes Strobl, farmer and chairman of the Upper Austrian school milk producers: “Thanks to the partnership with the three Upper Austrian companies PET-MAN, Starlinger viscotec and Greiner Packaging, we can now provide a sustainably packaged school milk to the kindergartens and schools produced exclusively in Upper Austria.” For more visit rPET-cup.com