There’s still a year to go before the European Union's Single-Use Plastics directive concerning tethered caps comes into force. Intermarché, one of the most popular retail chains in France, however, believes in getting ahead of the game.
In an announcement July 6, the company said that it would replace the closures on its fruit juice carton packs with SIG SwiftCap Linked closures — one of the tethered cap models developed by the Swiss packaging solutions provider, SIG — on SIG’s carton packs.
Intermarché said the move covered its entire private label juice portfolio of around 20 SKUs, or stock keeping units, and included both the Paquito and the MERCI! brands carried by the retail outlets.
Intermarché also said it planned to switch to cartons made from a packaging material from the SIG Terra portfolio, contributing to a significant reduction in the utilization of fossil-fuel-based plastics. The SIG Terra portfolio offers a range of more sustainable packaging alternatives, including options without an aluminum layer, or incorporating forest-sourced renewable materials and even recycled materials.
SIG uses tall oil, a by-product of the paper industry as a forest-based raw material for the production of the polymers used to produce the cartons in the Terra portfolio. The polymers, produced via the mass balance approach, are certified according to the certification scheme ISCC Plus. The cartons incorporate an ultra-thin aluminum layer to protect the contents of the carton from light and oxygen, which is certified against ASI (Aluminium Stewardship Initiative) standards.
The EU directive in question - no. 2019/2024 - requires single-use plastic beverage bottles up to 3 liters in size to be fitted with caps that remain on the container throughout its service life. The goal is to prevent closures from ending up in the environment or being lost for recycling.
The tethered caps requirement takes effect in July 2024.
“We want to help Intermarché meet regulatory requirements and the growing consumer demand for sustainable packaging,” Mélanie Révolte, marketing manager France, BeNeLux at SIG
The tethered caps developed by SIG are sturdy, convenient, can be easily disposed of and recycled with the rest of the carton pack. Importantly, they are also compatible with existing SIG filling machines and closure applicators. This means no major investment is required on the part of the company’s existing customers and creates more security about the continued use of these systems in the future.
According to Arnaud Allain, adhérent-strategy and development director Agromouquetaires in Montgiscard, the producer behind the Paquito brand, replacing plastic with renewable materials is a priority and part of Agromouquetaires’ targeted and committed sustainable development strategy.
“We have defined ambitious CSR objectives that we are determined to achieve. By being the first in France to adopt SIG's tethered closures, and by switching to an SIG Terra packaging material, we are helping to reduce the consumption of fossil resources and lower the impact on the environment,” he said