Through a voluntary Green Deal agreement, Valio is committing to reduce the amount of plastic used in its single-use, single-serving packaging by 15% by the end of 2026 compared to 2022. Valio will now package all Valio PROfeel® quark products in recyclable paperboard cups. The change will result in 143 tonnes less plastic being used, equivalent to 6,800,000 plastic shopping bags. With this commitment, Valio is contributing to the national target for an ambitious reduction in single-use, single-serving plastic packaging.
The Single-Use Plastics Directive, which came into force in 2019, aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment, particularly seashores, and to promote the circular economy. Valio has significantly reduced the amount of plastic in its packaging for many years, for example by eliminating detachable lids/caps, plastic spoons and straws from single-serving packages. In addition, Valio has reduced the amount of plastic by using thinner plastic in its packaging, for example, in its sliced cheese packaging, and by packaging yoghurts and quarks in paperboard-wrapped cups.
With the voluntary Green Deal agreement, Valio commits to further reduce the use of plastic in its single-serving packaging. This change is now reflected in the increasing use of paperboard cups in Valio’s snack products.
“Paperboard cups have been used in single-serving yoghurts, for example, already since 2021. Going forward, all Valio PROfeel® quark products will be packaged in recyclable paperboard cups. Valio’s goal is that by the end of 2025 all packaging will be suitable for a true circular economy, meaning that new products can be made from it. We are continuously developing our packaging so that it better aligns with the circular economy and to reduce its climate impact. We have added plain-language recycling instructions to our packaging to make recycling as easy as possible for everyone,” notes Valio’s Head of Packaging Development Juhana Pilkama.
Voluntary Green Deal agreement seeks sustainable solutions
The Green Deal agreement seeks solutions to climate challenges, biodiversity loss, overconsumption of natural resources and the promotion of the circular economy in Finland. The Green Deal agreement is made between the government and business as well as public sector actors. The aim of the agreement is to jointly promote sustainable development goals on a voluntary basis without additional legislation.
“Green Deal agreements can strengthen or complement legislation. They can also impose stricter targets than legislation and achieve certain objectives without additional national regulation. Voluntary agreements give us more flexibility than legislation to find the most effective, efficient, timely solutions to achieve our common goals,” notes Juhana Pilkama.
Valio’s plastic reduction and circular economy actions:
- Gourmet cheese packaging made from 90% recycled plastic starting in 2018.
- Thinner packaging for sliced cheese products in 2020; more than 55% of the packaging material comes from plastic bottles recycled in Finland.
- Discontinued detachable plastic lids/caps, spoons and straws in 2020.
- Transition from plastic cups to paperboard cups in some product packaging starting in 2021.
- Use of recycled plastic in packaging of drinkable snacks starting in 2023.
- First SUP directive-compliant tethered caps for beverage containers under three litres in early 2023, and all packaging changes completed by summer 2024.
The Green Deal agreements and the commitments made to them are part of Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development introduced by the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development. Businesses and public actors commit to promote the goals and actions of the agreements by making a ministry-approved commitment on the Sitoumus 2050 website.