Plastics case study: Elopak

Who is Elopak?

Elopak is a Norwegian-based, globally-operational supplier of carton packaging for liquids and beverages. With their environmental and plastics footprint in mind from the outset they are a market leader in the sector. Their standard beverage carton already uses 10 times less plastic than a traditional PET bottle. The traditional Elopak carton is made from 86% FSC-certified paperboard with the remainder an oil-based plastic lining to ensure waterproofing. 

How are Elopak innovating to combat the plastic crisis?

Elopak continues to innovate and improve on their sustainable product offering and in 2014 they launched their first product made entirely from renewable materials. The Purepak replaces the virgin oil-based plastic layer with a PE plastic made from tall oil. This is a byproduct of paper production and is mainly sourced from Nordic forests, it is 100% FSC-certified, making the entire product paper-based. You can find out more about the tall oil plastic development process here. 

This new product line has resulted in 18,000 tonnes C02e of avoided emissions through use of these renewable plastics. Currently 18% of all their fresh milk carton products are packaged in these 100% renewable cartons and they target 50% by 2025.

Plastic free products

One consumer product you may have seen on the shelves that uses the Elopak Purepak is Boxed Water, a more sustainable alternative to PET plastic bottled water. 

Elopak also went one step further with another product, the Purepak Imagine, which removes the cap closure completely and instead opens the old fashioned way – pull apart the top of the carton to open and reclose it by folding it back in. This cap-free design has 46% less plastic than the equivalent carton with closure. It just goes to show that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to get results!

Future plans

Elopak recognises that whilst they have made a 100% renewable and recyclable product, they are currently unable to use any recycled materials in the primary packaging due to food safety regulations. In partnership with Futurepak they are researching the feasibility of incorporating recycled components into their product in the future. As well as the significant reduction in virgin plastics used in this product, Elopak is also invested in research and development into renewable plastics and alternatives to fossil-based plastics, further cementing their position as a leader in the sustainable packaging industry.

Find out more on their website: