A Large European Dairy Company Switches from Buckets to Rapak Flexible Bags to Cut Plastic use by 83%

Award-winning cheese supplier to the largest UK bakery chains and food manufacturing companies chooses flexible bags supplied by Rapak, part of DS Smith Plastics, to minimize their environmental impact.

The challenge

One of the largest farmer-owned co-operatives in North Europe, known for the superior quality of their dairy ingredients, has seen continuous growth and strong sales results, with their products winning several awards every year. However, its soft cheese packaging was not in line with the environmental values of the dairy and its customers. Delivering in polypropylene (PP) buckets was creating high quantities of unnecessary waste for customers and sending valuable resources to landfill.  Cheese packaging is traditionally not recyclable due to high rates of contamination, and they needed a more sustainable solution to suit their supply chain. This lead the dairy to re-evaluate their packaging choice and challenge the status quo.

The approach

The dairy approached Rapak, part of DS Smith Plastics Division, with the idea of replacing the buckets with a more environmentally friendly packaging. Rapak proposed a 60g flexible LDPE bag solution, and returnable plastic trays were purchased to carry and transport the bags from the dairy to the customer. Once with the customer, they simply cut the bag open, remove the product and place the empty bag in the bin.

The result

On annual scale, new solution brings massive plastic waste reduction of 83%. It reduces plastic use by 300g per unit or from 252 tonnes to 42 tonnes annually.

The dairy´s customers also appreciated that bags take very little space after disposal. Due to cheese residual, bags are often still unable to be recycled; however, they are currently the lowest impact alternative on the market, drastically reducing waste storage requirements and creating more efficient disposal.

In addition, fully closed airtight bags brought greater cleanliness and solved issues of glugging while pouring and forming of crust.

What is important, this change did not result in any cost increase for the customers.

The big picture

Reducing plastic waste is an increasingly high priority on the global agenda. This switch to Rapak bags demonstrates the benefits of eliminating unnecessary plastic without compromising product safety and hygiene. DS Smith’s flexible packaging solutions enable customers to reduce their total plastic footprint across a wide range of industries, and Rapak continues to advocate for high-quality recycling and early segregation of recyclables.

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