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Belgian coop, BelOrta, launches 100% recycled, recyclable strawberry punnet

BelOrta will begin packing its Belgian strawberries in new packaging this week. "These Tray2Tray punnets are made of recycled raw materials. And they, in turn, are 100% recyclable. Consumers can recognize these punnets by a special logo. BelOrta's taking the next step in increasingly sustainable production and distribution. That's together with Fost Plus and Infia. This move contributes to a circular economy. This is significant. Recent figures show Belgians are eating more and more locally grown strawberries," says a representative from this Belgian cooperative.

Closed loop
BelOrta launched these strawberry punnets this week. They're made from 100% recycled PET and are 100% recyclable. So, none of these empty strawberry punnets should ever end up on the trash heap again. Each one can be processed and reused. That's as a raw material for new punnets. BelOrta thus continues to fulfill its pioneering role toward a more sustainable future.

Jo Lambrecht is BelOrta's Sales and Marketing Manager. He says, "We contribute to a circular economy with this Tray2Tray concept. New punnets are made from used packaging. We'd already been working with so-called 'r-PET' as a raw material for four years. It's recycled from not only water and soft drink bottles but also other PET packaging collected by consumers. Recently, we introduced the New Blue Bag. That's for collecting all plastic packaging waste."

"Belgians, by the way, are great at sorting and collecting waste. That adds to a healthier, more pleasant living environment. New techniques were developed thanks to Fost Plus. So, we can now sort these r-PET punnets (via the New Blue Bag). We recycle them into flakes. Then they're reused as raw material for producing new packaging. Like those for our strawberries and berries. That completes the cycle."

450 tons less CO2 emissions annually
But what about 'no packaging is the most sustainable packaging'? "That's true for many products, often including food. We try to avoid or reduce using packaging wherever possible. But with delicate, perishable goods, well-chosen packaging is crucial. That's in the fight against food waste," answers Jo.

"Several trials have shown that well-thought-out packaging makes a difference. They tested products like strawberries and berries. Wasting less food reduces our ecological footprint. Also, r-PET as a raw material has a low environmental footprint than many other materials."

"For BelOrta, replacing PET with r-PET means a reduction of 450 tons of CO2 emissions annually. That immediately makes these new strawberry punnets one of the most sustainable on the market, " says a BelOrta spokesperson.

Belgians eat 1.94 kg of strawberry/year on average
In 2020, farmers sold in excess of 9,000 tons of strawberries via BelOrta. BelOrta has more than 100 growers. So, its acreage amounts to some 300 hectares. That's up four percent from the previous year.

The marketing research firm, GfK, recently released figures. These show that in 2020, the average Belgian ate 1.94 kg of strawberries. That's 12% more than in 2019. Elsanta, Portola, Elegance, Malling Centenary, Sonata, and Sonsation are BelOrta's main varieties.

For more information:
Borgloon Division
Tel: +32 (0) 126 70 210
Zellik Division, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 248 10 883

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