On the eve of COP28 and with a joint investment of over 2.5 million AED
Dubai, UAE, 1 December 2023: Tetra Pak and Union Paper Mills (UPM) have entered the next stage of their partnership, marked by the signing of a ground-breaking AED 2,500,000 recycling agreement aimed at establishing a commercially viable collection and recycling value chain for used beverage cartons (UBC) in the UAE. A memorandum of understanding was signed in November last year and has paved the way for significant progress in identifying the technical and investment needs for the recycling of UBC in the UAE. Since the signing of the MoU, Tetra Pak and UPM have engaged in extensive collaboration, including technical assessments, recycling expert visits from abroad, numerous meetings, and industrial trials with carton packages collected from local dairy producers.
The formalisation of this first-of-its-kind partnership outlined Tetra Pak's investments in capital expenditures (CAPEX) for new equipment to be installed at UPM. Recycling targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined and agreed upon, as well as areas of collaboration in developing the collection and recycling of UBC in the UAE are identified.
The new recycling equipment is set to be ordered in December, with delivery and installation expected in the second half of 2024. Collections will commence even before the recycling line is fully operational to generate feedstock for the start-up and commissioning.
Emphasising strong collaboration and partnerships in the recycling value chain, Niels Hougaard, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Arabia Area, said: “This project is our way to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and to collaborative innovation in the region. We strongly believe that we all have a role to play in our battle against climate change. Tetra Pak’s strategy aims to involve waste management and collection companies, to reach out to potential partners in the region, and to collaborate with our customers and schools to raise awareness about waste segregation and recycling. By involving diverse stakeholders, we aim to create a comprehensive and effective recycling ecosystem”.
Salahhaldin Sharafi, Chairman of MAHY Khoory Group, which owns UPM, stated, “As the pioneer and largest paper recycler in the UAE, sustainability is at the core of what we do. This new collaboration with Tetra Pak supports our sustainable growth plans, enhancing our recycling capabilities to process UBC and obtain high-quality raw materials for our operations while supporting the UAE’s ambitions to increase recycling”.
Tetra Pak and UPM have together developed a local recycling solution for UBC. UPM's recycling process will extract high-quality virgin paper fibres from UBC, contributing to the production of high-quality test liner for corrugated cardboard boxes. Polyethylene and Aluminium (polyAl) from the recycled cartons will be sent to Saudi Top Plastics (STP), a recycling partner of Tetra Pak in KSA, to be recycled into various products such as pallets and crates.
The two partners also value collaboration with governmental entities. Niels Hougaard added: “The project aligns with the UAE government's ambitions to divert waste from landfills and enhance local recycling capabilities. We are proud to co-chair the Sustainable Manufacturing pillar within the Circular Economy Policy Council and to collaborate with the Circular Packaging Association to drive positive change at a systemic level”.
This milestone agreement represents a significant step towards developing Circular Economies in the UAE, showcasing the commitment of Tetra Pak and UPM to environmental sustainability and responsible business practices.