Home » Manufacturing » The benefits of a circular economy in decarbonising Irish food systems

Artur Dannenberg

Key Account Director, UK and Ireland, Tetra Pak

Transitioning towards a circular economy is crucial to increasing resilience across global and Irish food systems, safeguarding food security and meeting sustainability goals.

Global issues such as pandemics and the changing climate can threaten food security and safety everywhere. But by transitioning to a more sustainable, resilient food system, we can “ensure food is safe and available to everyone, everywhere, with a reduced environmental impact,” says Artur Dannenberg, Key Account Director at Tetra Pak, UK and Ireland. One way to achieve this is by adopting a low-carbon circular economy which considers the climate impact of raw materials and the manufacturing value chain.  

Food that’s fresh and safe 

Part of this transformation requires producing food and drink in a way that ensures it is safe to consume, with a lower carbon impact. Artur explains: “To make food systems better for the planet, it’s not just the packaging we have to think about — it’s how we process products too. We need to ensure products have as long a shelf life as possible while putting the systems in place to allow materials to be recycled and reused.”  

We look at sustainability holistically – that is, how our business can benefit the planet and the people on it.

Improving recycling  

Beyond processing, one of the biggest components of a circular economy is recycling. Tetra Pak is working with local councils and government policymakers to encourage higher rates of recycling, where the necessary infrastructure exists.  

Much needs to be done to promote education around sustainability and recycling at all levels — consumer, government and business. “Progress is absolutely a joint effort. As leaders in the packaging industry, we must ensure we’re sharing our knowledge with others and supporting them where we can. But we also need to learn from them. Companies must forge meaningful partnerships with all stakeholders in the food system, to create mutually beneficial networks.”    

Innovating for good  

When it comes to decarbonising food systems, innovation is essential. Currently, Tetra Pak’s carton packages are used across Ireland and Europe to offer consumers safe, fresh food and drink options in predominantly plant-based packaging. But its ambition goes further.  

The company is seeking to create the world’s most sustainable food package — a carton package made of renewable or recycled materials that are responsibly sourced. To help achieve this, it is investing €100 million per year over the next 5–10 years to develop more sustainable packaging solutions.  

That’s because being a leader in sustainable packaging goes further than business. “We look at sustainability holistically – that is, how our business can benefit the planet and the people on it”, Artur concludes.   

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