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Danone leads yoghurt packaging towards bioplastics

By Guy Montague-Jones , 27-Apr-2011

Danone is taking a lead in the use of bioplastics for yoghurt packaging as higher volumes promise to make prices more attractive, according to European Bioplastics.

Last week Danone Canada announced that it would start using a bioplastic made from sugar cane for its drinkable yoghurt packaging. DanActive, Danacol, Danino Go and Drinkable Activia will all undergo a bioplastic packaging makeover by the end of the year.

Environmental impact

The Canadian division of the French dairy said the introduction of the recyclable bioplastic will reduce the carbon footprint of its drinkable yoghurt containers by 55 per cent.

Hasso v. Pogrell, managing director of the trade association European Bioplastics, said that Danone has taken a lead in the use of bioplastics for yoghurt packaging, having already started using them in Europe.

Pogrell said: “Danone is indeed the first big brand for yoghurts that is using bioplastics.

“In Europe they are even using more than one type of material. For their product Actimel they have introduced a little bottle made from biobased PE (in France). In Germany they recently introduced cups for their yoghurt Activia made from PLA.”

Cost still an issue

However, cost remains a barrier to more widespread use of bioplastics.

Danone Canada admitted that “it generates additional manufacturing costs for the company”.

Pogrell said that prices are indeed higher for bioplastics but added that the relative cost of the green materials is likely to fall. That could lead to the long awaited take-off in bioplastic packaging.

Pogrell said: “Volume in the market is rising and with a growing volume prices will adapt. Especially with rising oil-prices bioplastics will be an alternative for an increasing number of packaging types soon.”

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