The WorldStar Packaging Awards ceremony took place in Milan at the beginning of May. Out of 440 entries from 37 countries, the "rPET School Milk Cup Project" from Upper Austria won the Sustainability Award in GOLD as the world's most sustainable packaging solution - beating out packaging made of cardboard, glass, aluminium and paper.
What many define as a goal for the future is already a reality in Upper Austria: environmentally friendly packaging made from recycled material that is recycled back into high-quality packaging for food. The flagship project proves that a circular economy is possible in the plastics and packaging industry and has already received many national and international awards. "The fact that the World Packaging Organization has awarded the golden sustainability award to our recyclable and recycled plastic packaging, among all products, makes us very proud," says Markus Fellinger, General Manager of Starlinger viscotec. "We have to achieve high recycling rates, such as those already established for beverage bottles, also for other food packaging such as yogurt pots and trays. Packaging made from recycled PET is sustainable because this material can be recycled virtually infinitely and to a high quality."
Ideal recyclability of the packaging is therefore the first prerequisite for a closed packaging recycling loop. Based on this premise, a cup has been developed for school milk that is unprinted and made of recycled PET (rPET). The cooperation of all sectors of the recycling loop is the second prerequisite for recycling the collected cup material after use. The school milk farmers and three Upper Austrian companies make it possible to produce new rPET school milk cups from the collected packaging again: The recycling technology comes from Starlinger viscotec, the company PET-MAN does the production of the food-grade rPET sheet, and Greiner Packaging thermoforms cups from these sheets. The rPET cup recycling loop has been in place in Upper Austria for over a year now, thanks to the rPET cup which saves resources and avoids CO2 emissions. From cup to cup, over and over again.