December 17, 2021

From plastic to carton

How well do you know the consumers of tomorrow? Market research and analysis sees a clear trend: the proportion of consumers who actively engage in environmental protection and reduce their plastic consumption will increase significantly. According to industry analyst Kantar, the share of so-called eco-actives* has risen by six percentage points to 22 per cent since 2019. And by 2029, every second consumer will belong to this group.1 So now’s the time to be forward-thinking, and design products that will meet the current and future demands of this growing target group.
At Elopak, we have long been committed to replacing plastic packaging with more eco-friendly alternatives, such as the beverage carton. And we are proud of all our customers who are swapping plastic packaging for cardboard packaging and embarking on this journey with us – united in our desire for a world with less plastic.
1 Source: Kantar, Europanel, GfK - Who Cares, Who Does 2021?
* Definition of eco-actives: Shoppers who are highly concerned about the environment, and are taking action to reduce their waste. They feel an intrinsic responsibility to be more sustainable, follow the topic more actively and have greater awareness.

Did you know?

Worldwide, about 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute
Half of all plastic products are thrown away after one use
Currently, about 300 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year - that's almost the weight of the entire human race.2
“We see a growing community of sustainably conscious consumers actively searching for products that are packed in an environmentally friendly manner. The switch to Pure-Pak® cartons represents a climate-friendly solution made with raw materials from FSC™ certified or controlled forests, and they are fully recyclable, thus supporting a low carbon circular economy.”
Kees Geelhoedt, Key Account Manager Elopak Benelux


Source: Kantar "Who cares?" Who does?" Report Issue 3, Sept. 2021 -

Market Radar:

Elopak Content Ware Food Group

A company with „A-wareness“

A-ware produces and fills a vast range of fresh dairy products for leading discounters and supermarkets, including standard milk, organic and meadow milk, yoghurt drinks, buttermilk, and cream
Relaunch: Some whipped and cooking cream products are no longer packed in polypropylene plastic cups with aluminium lids, but in our 250ml and 500ml Pure-Pak® Mini cartons
Benefits: Growth in the portion pack and on-the-go segment, more pack facings on shelf and enhanced differentiation
More eco-friendly: Pure-Pak® cartons are predominantly made from wood, a renewable raw material. Cartons have been proven to have a lower environmental impact than plastic bottles.
Due to their high quality, long and tear-resistant cellulose fibres, a carton can be recycled up to six times into products such as corrugated board, pizza cartons or shoe boxes.
“With Elopak we have an innovative and experienced partner on our side. The new line is ideal for managing more complex portfolios and supply chains, and gives us the flexibility to quickly adapt to new market demands.”
Frank Vos, Division Director for fresh dairy at A-ware
Elopak Content Grahams Family Dairy

Graham's relaunch - from plastic to carton

The family business based in the heart of Scotland has grown over three generations since it was founded in Bridge of Allan in 1939. Today, it’s Scotland’s largest independent dairy
Since October this year, Graham's organic milk has been available in 500ml Pure-Pak® Classic cartons with Natural Brown Board
The award-winning dairy is also introducing its fresh standard milk in 500ml and 1 litre Pure-Pak® Classic cartons in Sainsbury's stores nationwide
All new Graham's milk cartons feature a renewable polyethylene (PE)-based closure
The dairy company is using the side panel space of the packaging to explain how the new carton is helping it eliminate 1,000 tons of plastic
“It was clear that any change in packaging must present no compromise on freshness and quality - delivering the same fresh milk in a package that’s better for the environment.”
Robert Graham, Managing Director at Graham’s The Family Dairy

Graham's decided to make the switch after considering the findings of its own consumer study that underlined the strong desire of consumers for more sustainable packaging. Below are some interesting findings from the study3:

3Source: TRKR, 1099 Fresh Milk Buyers
Just over three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they already choose food and drink purchases based on sustainability
59% of respondents confirmed that reducing plastic waste was most important to them
46% cited packaging recycling as their most important contribution to greater environmental protection
Two-thirds (67%) said they would pay for the proposition from Graham's of milk in environmentally friendly beverage cartons.
Customer Story – Royal A-ware
Customer Story – Graham’s The Family Dairy
Packaging by Nature® – Elopak
Molokia, Ukraine

Ukrainian manufacturer Ternopil Dairy has updated the designs of its fairytale milk for the Molokia brand with new characters. Wolf, bear, fox, hedgehog, stork and rabbit are now the stars of the packaging. There is also a lactose-free milk. The products are recommended by the Association of Paediatricians of Ukraine.

Robinsons, UK

“Less plastic – more serves” – Britvic launched super strength concentrated squash for the Robinsons brand using the 500ml Pure-Pak Classic carton. The result. 60 serves per 500ml and 85% less plastic per serve.

smol, UK

smol’s refill carton range continues to grow. Following dishwashing liquid and fabric softener, stain remover has now also been available in practical cartons since the start of 2024. The original bottle for applying and dispensing the liquids is made from 100% recycled plastic.

LoveMilk, UK

In response to growing consumer concern about plastic waste, the UK’s largest independent dairy launched cartons with tethered caps for its fresh milk products in the food service sector. This will significantly reduce the amount of plastic used in Freshway’s packaging.