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HKScan makes packaging recyclable and reduces plastic

20. October 2020

HKScan Estonia which manufactures Rakvere and Tallegg meat products will reduce the use of plastic in the packaging of its products by at least 200 tons by the year 2025 and will switch completely to reusable packaging by that time.

According to Anne Mere, member of the management board of HKScan Estonia, the company has been consistently reducing plastic used in product packaging in recent years. “During last two years we have been reducing the amount of plastic in the order of 45-50 tons, i.e. 5 percent of the total amount of plastic packaging used by HKScan in the Baltics per year. The goal is to proceed at least at this pace in the coming years as well, ”Mere explained.

The purpose of the whole HKScan group is to reduce the carbon footprint and plastic use by 20 percent by the year 2025 compared to 2019, saving thousands of tons of plastic. During the years 2017 up to 2019 HKScan group reduced the total of 1500 tons of plastic.

A big leap in reducing plastic took place, for example, already in 2017 and 2018, when plastic buckets and strong plastic boxes of Rakvere and Tallegg products in the Baltic countries were replaced with more environmentally friendly handle bags. With this step the use of plastics was reduced by more than 30 tons per year at a time. 70 percent less plastic material is used in making the bags. The latter generate less waste and thanks to more compact packaging the need for transportation decreased by 96 percent compared to the previous package.

In addition thinner packaging has been consistently introduced in the packaging of Rakvere and Tallegg products. Since September the sign “Less plastic, cleaner environment” has also been added to the packaging of Rakvere and Tallegg products so that consumers would know which products have already new plastic-sustainable packaging.

“As a first step we are looking at whether we can use less plastic in packaging for all products, and if this is no longer possible technologically and in terms of product safety, then the next steps are already related to the replacement of specific packaging lines,” Mere described. “However, as we have a total of 57 packaging lines and a change on one line can take approximately 12 months, it will definitely require investments and time to implement the changes,” she added.

Besides reducing plastics, the whole HKScan Group has an ambitious goal of switching to fully reusable packaging by 2025 at the latest. “For us the primary requirement for packaging is always product safety – we do not make concessions in this. But secondly it is important that we are able to offer our products to our customers in a sustainable way, ” Mere said.

“The development of packaging and the transition to a new solution have not always clear benefit. Some packaging may reduce the carbon footprint, but at the same time make packaging more difficult to recycle. Therefore, at HKScan we are focusing on the introduction of innovative biodegradable materials and the use of monomaterials in product development, which make it easier to recycle. Despite the fact that there is currently no recycling system in Estonia, we are taking preventive steps to ensure that all our packaging is reusable in the future, ” Mere added.


Additional information:

Anne Mere

Chairman of the management board of HKScan Estonia

E-mail: anne.mere@hkscan.com

Phone: +372 502 5899


HKScan aims to grow into a diversified food company. We have more than a hundred years of experience in meeting the expectations of our customers and consumers to produce delicious, healthy and responsible food. At HKScan we are responsible for developing food production throughout the value chain – from farms to consumers. Our diverse product portfolio includes pork, poultry, beef and vegetable products, which we produce and market under well-known brands, including HK, Scan, Rakvere, Via, Rose, Pärsons, Kariniemen and Tallegg. Our home markets are located in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltic countries. HKScan employs more than 7000 specialists who will ensure a tastier life today and tomorrow. In 2019 the net sales of HKScan, listed on a stock exchange, was 1.7 billion euros.