Mengniu scores another sustainability win with move to recycled resin for packaging

CHINA – Chinese dairy giant Mengniu has partnered with packaging and materials science firm Dow to transition to the use of recycled resin shrink film for the secondary packaging of its dairy products. 

According to a report by Food Navigator, the transition makes the Chinese dairy heavyweight the first firm in China’s domestic food industry to adopt recycled resin in packaging. 

Speaking to Journalists, Mengniu Dairy Packaging R&D Director, Frank Wang said that the transition was in line with its vision to reduce its environmental impacts as part of its sustainability commitments. 

Mengniu says it proactively supports China’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060 and aims to lead the industry in achieving carbon neutrality.  

“Mengniu has a great vision for sustainability, where we have made a promise to lead consumers towards a Healthier World – and shifting towards more sustainable packaging is a critical part of that,” Wang said in an interview.  

“There are many different solutions for this on the market now, but we have found recycling is still one of the most effective. Before this, post-consumer recycled (PCR) resins were used in various other industries, but not yet in the China food industry, [and we are the first to do so].” 

Mengniu is currently using the PCR resin shrink film as secondary packaging for two of its products which are a drinking yogurt that is usually stored under ambient conditions, and a fermented milk product that needs to be chilled. 

“We know that using this PCR resin can help us to reduce hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide yearly, so by investing in this, the aim really is to tell consumers that Mengniu is seriously investing in carbon reduction,” added Wang. 

According to Dow Recycling APAC Commercial Director for Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Suny Markose, the use of PCR resin for packaging reduces GHG gas emissions by some 25%.  

To make the PCR, DOW utilizes domestic plastic waste collected from recycling partners such as milk, water, juice bottles, and discarded flexible film within China.  

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These are made into PCR resins which are incorporated into the core layer of the shrink film. This helps eliminate the number of post-consumer waste that ends up in the landfill. 

 As part of its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, Mengniu is involved in other sustainable packaging initiatives including plastic usage reduction, removing PVC from packaging, and optimizing its packaging designs for recycling. 

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