“Plastic packaging is a growing concern for many of our customers and consumers because of plastic waste pollution and the environmental impact of producing plastic,” said Tai Ullmann, global sustainability manager for Cargill’s edible oils business. “Using less plastic in the packaging used for our vegetable oils helps customers who have set goals around plastic reduction or recyclability, as well as reducing GHGs.”
Here are some examples of plastic reduction in packaging in each of the four geographies in which Cargill’s edible oils are manufactured.
Cargill has eliminated 930,000 pounds (421 metric tons) of plastic usage in packaging a year due to its investments in new bottling line technology; as well as retrofitting existing equipment and improving processes at its crush and refinery facilities. As a result, approximately 1,219 metric tons of GHGs per year have been reduced from the atmosphere.
Cargill now uses 100% recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic for packaging in its three new bottling lines.
In addition, Cargill is now using smart technology to create bottles on-site from small, core plastic components, eliminating the need to transport standard-sized plastic bottles, thus cutting additional GHGs.
Cargill has worked with all its customers to reduce the amount of plastic in their one liter bottles of vegetable oil. The changes are reducing plastic usage by 720,000 pounds (360 metric tons) a year. That removes 790 metric tons of GHGs per year from the atmosphere.
Cargill is also working with a German consumer goods customer to incorporate 30% recycled PET in its one liter bottles of vegetable oil. That will mean approximately 235,000 pounds of recycled PET will replace first-time-use plastic in the packaging. That project, and similar ones launching with additional customers, are designed to help customers prepare for the European Union’s goal of plastic bottles having at least 25% recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
Cargill’s popular edible oil brands in India, Gemini, Sweekar, and NatureFresh, cut approximately 25% of the plastic used for select packages, eliminating 562,000 pounds (255 metric tons) of plastic usage in packaging in 2018. This resulted in removing 504 metric tons of GHGs per year from the atmosphere.
Cargill is cutting down on the amount of raw plastic used across all platforms and products. For example, Cargill worked with Dow Chemical to reformulate its plastic material, making 90% of its plastic packaging recyclable. It has a goal of using 100% recyclable packaging for Gemini, Sweekar and NatureFresh brands by the end of 2020. To further raise awareness among consumers, the brands carry the slogan "recycle the present, save the future" on their packaging.
Cargill is working with the Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) to strengthen the collection and processing of used packages from consumers. IPCA has installed dry waste collection centers at important locations to segregate and compact plastic waste before distributing it to co-processing industries and plants. So far, Cargill’s oils business has been able to collect 25% of used packages for recycling, but expects those numbers to grow up substantially in 2020.
Cargill’s soybean oil brand in Brazil, Liza, has reduced the amount of plastic in its 900 ml bottles of vegetable oil from 17.7 grams to 16.7 grams, which eliminates 355,000 pounds (161 metric tons) of plastic used in packaging in a year. This results in 390 metric tons of GHGs removed from the atmosphere each year.
"We are always looking for new options and strategies for more environmentally-friendly packaging that consumers desire. We are testing several options and soon will have new projects to announce,” said Márcio Barela, sustainability coordinator for Cargill’s global edible oils business in South America.