Photo credit: Emmi


Switzerland: Coop and Emmi switch from PE to PET for dairy products - closed loop to be installed

Lucerne, Switzerland

With immediate effect, selected milk and cream products sold under Coop’s own brands are available in more environmentally sound PET bottles, along with various Emmi branded products such as Emmi Energy Milk. At present, it is the only kind of plastic food packaging in Switzerland that can be recycled and reprocessed in a closed cycle. The launch of this packaging innovation represents another step towards the attainment of sustainability goals as both companies seek to establish a circular economy.

As of now, Coop own brand products and numerous Emmi branded goods are available on the market in recyclable PET bottles. Coop milk and cream along with various Emmi brands such as Emmi Energy Milk High Protein and Comella Choco Drink have switched to the sustainable packaging solution. Various UHT milk products sold under Coop’s own organic Naturaplan brand are also expected to be available in the more environmentally sound PET bottles from the end of February 2024.

Sustainable new packaging

The new bottle made of white PET is a packaging innovation. The opaque bottle offers optimum product protection as well as consistency of taste. At present, the PET bottles are the only kind of plastic food packaging in Switzerland that can be recycled and reprocessed in a closed cycle. In future, the bottles will be used to manufacture new PET bottles that can be used again for milk and dairy products. Compared to their polyethylene predecessors, PET bottles will result in a significant reduction in transport as well as material usage in future. According to a Carbotech study, the aim is to achieve a CO2 reduction of around 25%.

"We look forward to extending our commitment to recyclable packaging to more of our own brand and branded goods. In this way, we can stick to our path of sustainability as we pursue a circular strategy", explains Andrea Kramer, Head of Marketing and Purchasing at Coop.

"Dairy products in PET bottles are another innovative and recyclable packaging solution in line with our ambitious sustainability goals. By working with our partners and PET-Recycling Schweiz, we are able to collect materials across the country and reuse them as packaging for dairy products", says Marc Heim, Head of the Swiss Division at Emmi.

Clear labelling to encourage returns

The familiar PET symbol appears on the recyclable milk and dairy product bottles to remind buyers how to dispose of them. Across Switzerland, these bottles – and any drinks bottles made of PET – can be returned to any PET collection point and thereby fed back into the cycle. Throughout the launch phase, Coop and Emmi will be informing their customers by placing clear labels on the new packaging.

Wisecap March 2024

Key part of Coop’s circular strategy

For Coop, the switchover to PET for milk and dairy products is the latest in a whole series of packaging changes with the eventual goal of introducing environmentally sound packaging for all own brand products. PET and rPET have assumed a key role in Coop’s circular strategy of reducing material requirements and steadily establishing closed cycles. In this way, the cooperative is making its own contribution to resource conservation: since 2012, Coop has managed to reduce or optimise 36,000 tons of packaging materials.

Progress towards Emmi’s sustainability goals

As a manufacturer of high quality dairy products, Emmi aims to be a role model in sustainability. On the basis of its sustainability model, the company makes use of recyclable packaging with a view to avoiding waste and conserving resources. By introducing milk in PET bottles, Emmi is making further progress towards achieving its ambitious sustainability goal of using 100% recyclable packaging and a minimum of 30% recycled materials by 2027 at the latest.      

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