February 13, 2023

Packaging as a lever for improved sustainability

Polyolefins instead of aluminium: Newly developed barrier protects taste and climate

Plant-based drinks are not only considered healthy, but also enjoy great popularity among consumers as a contribution to more sustainability in nutrition. The delicious, subtly creamy, opaque drinks made from extracts from nuts, grains, pulses or other cereals impress have a convincing eco-balance, and are considered exemplary climate-friendly, in particular due to their comparatively low greenhouse gas emissions during production. But the delicious drinks made from oats or soya, for example, also require suitable packaging on their way to the consumer – and there is often still significant potential for improvement in terms of sustainability.
Leading Spanish beverage producer García Carrión is taking on a pioneering role in the market and is now the world's first producer to offer six different plant-based drinks from its well-known brand Don Simón in Elopak’s Pure-Pak® eSense cartons. Unlike conventional aseptic cartons, Pure-Pak® eSense packaging does not contain aluminium. This not only simplifies the recycling process, it also saves considerable amounts of CO2 compared to a standard aseptic carton – without compromising on product protection, functionality or convenience.
Aluminium has special properties that acutally make it an ideal packaging material for many types of perishable foods – above all, an excellent barrier effect even in the thinnest of layers.
At 4-5 micrometres, the aluminium foil in beverage cartons is thinner than a human hair and is only used as a UV and oxygen barrier in packaging for shelf-stable products.
Aluminium is, however, a finite resource, the extraction of which is associated with high environmental impact and is rather energy-intensive in processing.
On the way to a low-emission circular economy, it is therefore essential to limit the use of aluminium as a packaging material to the technically necessary cases and to develop more sustainable alternatives for more and more application areas.
The Pure-Pak® eSense carton is such an aluminium-free alternative, specifically developed for aseptically filled, both low-acid and high-acid products such as juices, UHT milk or plant-based drinks. Elopak has successfully replaced the conventional aluminium barrier in its Pure-Pak® eSense carton with a layer of polyolefins. As always, Pure-Pak® eSense cartons can be combined with other already established sustainable solutions from the Elopak, further reducing the carbon footprint of the packaging. García Carrión also opted for our tried-and-tested natural brown unbleached carton and a closure based on renewable plastics for the new, aluminium-free Don Simón packaging. It is made of polyethylene, which is based on tall oil instead of fossil raw materials. Tall oil is a residue from pulp and paper production.
Aluminium-free aseptic carton
Available with natural brown, unbleached board, climate-friendly and material-efficient
Optional with renewable polymers
Easier recycling
Innovative polyolefin blend barrier
Reduced emissions by about 40 percent. 
Overall, García Carrión has reduced the carbon footprint of the packaging of its Don Simón plant-based drinks by 40 percent compared to a standard Pure-Pak® aseptic carton.

The Spanish beverage manufacturer offsets the remaining carbon emissions through Elopak’s verified CarbonNeutral® programme, making the packaging completely carbon neutral.
“To be convincing, products from consistently sustainable production also require equally sustainable packaging. We are therefore delighted to support such a renowned brand as Don Simón to position itself as the most sustainable plant-based drink provider with our aluminium-free, forest-based Pure-Pak® eSense carton.”
Andrijana Golubovic, Marketing Director South at Elopak

Elopak Pure-Pak® eSense

Pure-Pak® eSense is an aseptic carton for low and high acid products which is aluminium-free, made with sustainably sourced paperboard and polyolefin blend barrier..
Press release Elopak launches Pure-Pak® eSense (PDF)
Press release Don Simón uses Elopak Pure-Pak® eSense (PDF)
Graham‘s UK
Scotland-based Graham’s Dairy becomes the first UK dairy to produce a range of milk in Pure-Pak® cartons using the tethered Pure-TwistFlip™ closure.
Lidl Vemondo DACH, France, Poland
Lidl relaunches oat drinks in the Pure-Pak® Sense Aseptic carton under its own brand Vemondo. The products can be found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Poland.
A-Ware Netherlands
A-Ware is a traditional Dutch family business with a passion for sustainable foods. The Group’s commitment to have a positive influence on people and the planet, and to support retailer’s sustainable strategies to reduce plastic packaging, has led to this recent move to Elopak cartons.