News, Packaging

The Arnott’s Group supports research for recycled packaging

The Arnott’s Group is supporting the future of recycled packaging through a collaboration with Paco Industries and UNSW.

The research program looks to progress technologies in recycling, bio plastics and carbon capture to address the plastic packaging challenges that faces the food and beverage industry.

The progressive collaboration, backed by FP Paradigm and Future Food System, utilises the UNSW Chemical Engineering department to address the challenges associated with post-consumer plastic waste and re-use of PET packaging.

The partnership also includes support from Tacca Plastics and Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee.

The Arnott’s Group chief transformation officer Simon Lowden said, “Working with Paco Industries and UNSW reflects our commitment as a business to go beyond our sustainability commitments and find innovative solutions so that The Arnott’s Group can continue to create delicious moments, not just for our consumers, but for our value chain”.

Aligned with the principles of the circular economy, the partnership bolsters The Group’s commitment to having 100 per cent of its packaging made from materials that are capable of being recycled, having already achieved 98 per cent (by weight) / 85 per cent (by SKU) of packaging used by its Australian operations now being reusable, recyclable or compostable.

The Group has also already transitioned 86 per cent of its Australian biscuit packaging from multi-material to highly recyclable mono-material.

Paco is currently developing an innovative approach focusing on organic solvent technology for recycling.

Paco’s technology is based on using organic solvents that can isolate PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and has the potential to turn contaminated post-consumer PET waste back into food- grade PET for the food and beverage industry.

Paco’s head of commercial Steven Commerfor said, “The results of this project to date are incredibly exciting for both sustainable and commercial gains.”

The solvent can break down the plastic into its primary chemical chain and be purified into a high-purity ‘virgin-like’ material, creating an ongoing recycling solution.

The primary challenge for local recycling companies and municipal councils is the level of contamination on plastic making it harder to recycle without being thoroughly cleaned.

“We’re crafting solutions that are genuinely transformative, without the usual limitations of high costs, energy, and water usage, or short-term viability. This technology could revolutionise our approach to recycling and redefine the materials we consider recyclable,” said Commerfor.

Paco’s innovative solvent technology is designed to eliminate contaminants such as organic material stuck to plastic food trays, soft drink bottles or other materials and contributes to the circular economy by reducing the need for virgin material production.

Through this partnership, The Arnott’s Group is supporting a future where environmental stewardship and technological innovation converge.

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