The Super Cartons campaign is being introduced to consumers via three characters: Captain Infinity, Dr Renewable and Super Transformer. ‘Captain Infinity gets his energy from sustainably grown wood, Dr Renewable’s superpower is looking after the earth’s health by ensuring that a tree is planted for each one harvested, and Super Transformer’s special talent is transforming paperboard into new products that can be recycled after use,’ explains Fibre Circle’s manager, Francois Marais.
The in-store roll-out at 40 Checkers stores, 10 Checkers Hypers, 24 Pick n Pays and 25 Spars in Gauteng, uses eye-catching shelf talkers and product showcases to encourage consumers to enter the online competition, which runs until May 31, for a chance to win cash prizes.
According to Fibre Circle, South Africans recycled about 1.1-million tons of paper in 2020. ‘While 73.3% of paper is recovered for recycling in South Africa, food and beverage cartons make up a small portion,’ Francois explains.
These cartons can have up to five layers, which are formed on a multi-ply machine, and are composed mainly of sustainably sourced, bleached or unbleached chemical pulp (paperboard). The remaining layers are made up of polyethylene and foil to increase the shelf life of products.
The cartons can be recycled after use through a pulping process, where the paperboard reduces into a pulp and separates from the other layers. The pulp is then used to make new paper-based products, and the plastic or plastic-and-foil (polyalu) components are extruded or injection-moulded into plastic-like products.
‘Paper fibre is made into packaging paper, bags and cartonboard boxes. While the plastic and foil can be used for composite materials such as planks, pallets, furniture, desks, and even roof tiles,’ explains Francois, adding that the plastic caps can be repurposed.
Although several industry players have been contributing financially on a voluntary basis as part of their sustainability commitments, extended producer responsibility becomes mandatory on May 5. This means packaging manufacturers and brand owners will soon be obligated to take responsibility for the end-of-life management of their used products.
‘That’s why it’s vital to put these campaigns in place now and work together on educating consumers about responsible packaging use. And that requires the co-operation of beverage and food producers, the vital link in the chain between packaging manufacturers and consumers,’ Francois states. ‘Adding prominent recycling information to product packaging will go a long way towards assisting national paper recovery and recycling efforts.’
Additionally, Fibre Circle is calling on beverage carton brand owners and retailers to join in making their customers and networks aware of these cartons’ recyclability on an ongoing basis to help drive a significant increase in the collection and recycling rates.
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