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Every year, Danes open around 55 million packs of pork and beef from Danish Crown. In total, these black or green plastic trays weigh more than 1000 tons which will now get to be reused again and again for pre-packed food - unlike the plastic which is being used currently.

When the first new trays arrive at Danish Crown, they will be made with 80 per cent recycled plastic. The goal is to reach 100 per cent, but this will require the local authorities to collect more plastic.

- Our preliminary calculations show that the shift to PET-plastic will reduce the CO2-emissions per plastic tray by 54 per cent if the tray is recycled. This number will become even higher in time if it becomes possible to produce the trays entirely of recycled plastic. However, if the PET-tray is incinerated, the reduction is only 6 per cent, so it is crucial that we raise the number of trays that are being recycled, says Preben Sunke, Group COO of Danish Crown and responsible for the group’s sustainability strategy.

According to a statement from Dansk Waste Association, by the end of 2018, 71 of the country’s 98 local authorities collected plastic for recycling from households. Still, the assessment in the government’s plans for plastic is that only 15 per cent of the plastic waste from Danish households is being recycled. The rest ends up in the trashcan and is incinerated.

- Together with the grocery sector, we are now taking a huge step in the right direction. We hope that the local authorities will make a greater effort to sort waste from consumers, businesses and institutions, so the meat trays, among other things, can be recycled instead of ending up as district heating, says Preben Sunke.

Danish Crown will work diligently to communicate about the new packaging. Both to motivate consumers to recycle the trays and to ensure that they take a few necessary seconds to prepare the trays for recycling. The trays need to be rinsed briefly under the tap, before being placed in the container for hard plastic.

- The choice that we are making now means that our consumption of plastic is increased by around five per cent, because PET-plastic weighs slightly more than the other types of plastic which we used previously. To us, this underlines how important it is that consumers help by sorting their waste, while the local authorities need to ensure that a lot more plastic is being collected for recycling, says Preben Sunke.

The change to the more environmentally-friendly packaging is for both Danish Crown’s black plastic trays and the organic subsidiary Friland’s green trays.