Not all plastic is inherently evil and saying no to it isn’t as straightforward as we think.
Our much-loved Anlene, Fernleaf and Anmum (Materna, Lacta and Essential) milk powders - made from sustainably-sourced NZ milk - are typically packaged in pouch laminates that are multi-layers of plastic and aluminum. Both are important elements for food safety and quality; plastic prevents oxidization while aluminum protects vitamins and minerals from deterioration by sunlight.
That said, we’re on a mission to do more. As a responsible dairy nutrition company, we’re vested in growing the circular economy to help reduce the amount of packaging waste in the environment.
In our Malaysian operations, more than 80% of the packaging we use to hold our precious dairy is already recycle-ready. But are consumers ready? Big commitments to sustainable packaging solutions are only one step in the green value chain and mean little without fit for purpose infrastructure and the right consumer attitudes and behaviours.
It’s why we’ve chosen to partner with the Penang Green Council (PGC) and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) on a Feasibility Study to establish a pilot collection scheme for soft plastic packaging in Penang. Penang has established itself as one of the leading states in Malaysia’s green journey.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that not only the milk our consumers drink is sustainably-produced, but its packaging is managed in an environmentally-responsible way,” says Shekhar Rapaka, General Manager of Fonterra Brands Malaysia. “With a huge portion of our packaging already recycle ready, proper infrastructure will mean this can be readily collected, sorted and reprocessed into new items of value.”
The feasibility study - which kicked off last week - will evaluate current recycling systems, consumer behaviours and available recycling infrastructure in Penang. This will enable the state’s Environmental Authority to develop a model to create meaningful change, which if successful, could be a blueprint for the country’s packaging and recycling challenges.
Rapaka said that when it comes to environmental challenges, “sustainability is absolutely a team sport” and the real power lies in the partnership ecosystem, affirming that meeting these challenges would require a group effort.
This is the latest of sustainability initiatives in the Malaysian business which already employs a rooftop solar power generation system to deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions and energy use in its operations.