Planet Earth needs our help more than ever right now, so we feel it’s only right to play our part in helping address and reduce plastic pollution. That’s why our tubs have been fully recyclable* for some time. But now, we’ve gone one step further in our fight against plastic waste, and we’re proud to announce that we’re now making our tubs and lids with recycled plastic! Our new recycled-plastic tubs – has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? – will soon be available in stores near you, with a new ‘Made with recycled plastic’ logo on pack. You might have spotted them already (you lucky thing)!
These new tubs and lids are made using recycled polypropylene plastic (rPP as its also known) and remain fully recyclable themselves*. This is especially exciting for us as we’re the first dairy-free ice cream brand in UK to use recycled polypropylene plastic, pioneering a new recycling technology to do so. You can find out more about this below.
By choosing to enjoy a tub of Swedish Glace you’ll also now be playing a role in reducing the impact of plastics on the environment and helping us to work towards a more sustainable future. We’ll eat to that!
*We always recommend checking recycling guidance from your local recycling facilities – and make sure to give our tubs and lids a rinse before popping in the recycling bin.
Creating food grade recycled plastic – an innovative, new recycling technology
Traditional didn’t quite cut it for the recycled plastic that we needed for our tubs. Enter Advanced recycling.
Our new tubs and lids are made from a type of plastic that’s called recycled polypropylene plastic – it’s a mouthful, so let’s just refer to it as rPP from hereon in.
Whilst you might have seen the claim ‘recycled plastic’ on other products – it’s becoming quite common on personal and homecare products - the material used in this non-food packaging is usually produced via traditional mechanical recycling methods. Traditional recycling involves sorting, cleaning and cutting existing plastic into small pieces and then reprocessing it into a new component. It’s an industry that’s been around for quite some time.
But for Swedish glace we can only use the best quality food-grade material, which is safe for contact with food, and which holds the other properties we need for our ice cream tubs (working well in the freezer being one!). So, using mechanical recycling technology to produce our recycled plastic is off the table for us.
To create the food-grade rPP we use, a much more complex method is required, called advanced recycling. It’s currently the only way to produce food-grade rPP. It’s a very new industry, using innovative technology that follows what is called a mass balance approach.
In the advanced recycling process, mixed non-food grade plastic products, are collected and broken down into their ‘building blocks’ – ‘oil’ or ‘resin’ – which is then turned back into plastic itself. The rather brilliant result is a product that’s identical to new food-grade virgin plastic but sourced from recycled plastic waste! This means we can take non-food grade materials and transform them into food-grade material that is safe for use in our tubs.
The mass balance approach
Mass Balance is an important tool in helping industries to move away from virgin materials to renewable or recycled ones in a more sustainable way.
As we’ve mentioned, the rPP we use for our new Swedish Glace tubs is produced via advanced recycling, following what is known as a “mass balance” approach.
“Mass Balance” is a traceability, or chain-of-custody method used to track the switch from virgin materials to recycled or renewable materials - in complex supply chains - in an economically and resource-efficient manner.
In the mass balance approach, recycled materials are blended with virgin materials in existing manufacturing systems, and being the clever measuring tool that it is we can keep an eye on the total amount of recycled material that moves through the system.
Adopting this approach means industries, and ice cream makers like us, can integrate these types of recycled materials into their existing production processes, without needing to set up a new manufacturing system (which would be highly resource intensive and take quite some time to establish). Mass Balance Advanced Recycling is currently the only method available to create the rPP material used in our new packaging – and we’re very excited to be using it and helping work towards a more sustainable future!