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Danish Dairy Giant Arla Debuts Unbleached FSC-Certified Milk Cartons

Arla 24
(Photo: Arla 24 milk gets unbleached plant-based cartons. Credit: Arla Foods)

Arla Foods, an international cooperative based in Denmark that’s the world’s fifth largest dairy company, introduced new cartons for their Arla 24 brand milk. The cardboard used to make these cartons is FSC-certified and made entirely out of unbleached natural wood and plant materials.

Named for the 24 hours it takes to get from the farm to the store in Denmark, Arla 24 is the company’s best-selling milk. Danes buy 92 million liters of this milk each year, the dairy giant says.

By replacing the old cartons with ones made from unbleached renewable sources such as wood and plants, the company says they are saving as much as 736,000 kilos of annual CO2 emissions. This equals a 22% reduction in emissions compared to the previous cartons.

“The FSC label means that the cardboard used for milk cartons comes from responsible sources, taking into account animals and plants in forestry, and addressing the safety of forest workers and the conditions of indigenous people,” according to Arla Foods.

Within Arla’s Danish market, Elopak produces cartons for the company’s Jutland dairies and Tetrapak produces cartons for the Zealand dairy. The coop’s site explains that Tetra Pak uses physical segregation — a separate container with bio-based plastic — and Elopak uses the mass balance principle, which is a large container that has oil-based and bio-based plastic.

In 2014, Arla 24 caps went to being made of 100% bio-based plastic derived from sugar cane, meaning they don’t contain any plastic from fossil fuels or oil.

Rethinking carton materials feeds into the company’s goal of producing the most sustainable dairy products in the world. They have committed to manufacturing all of their milk cartons from natural materials by 2020. At the same time, their goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by a quarter by 2020 compared to a 2005 baseline.

“Climate-friendly cartons are an important part of our climate strategy, but we won’t stop there,” Jakob B. Knudsen, the head of Arla in Denmark, recently told the Copenhagen Post. “We are in the process of replacing the packaging of all our big production categories.”

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