Pringles launches ‘designed for recycling’ paper-based tube

Metal bottom replacing with paper fiber-based bottom

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Pringles
A new recyclable paper version of the trademark tube container of the Pringles potato chips pictured next to the old version containing metals, at the Mechelen production site

In a significant moment for the snacking industry, which reflects the world’s collective mission of acting and consuming more sustainably, Kellanova Europe has given its Pringles tube a more sustainable redesign.

Together with Sonoco, Kellanova Europe has redesigned its Pringles packaging to make it widely recyclable by replacing the metal bottom with a paper fiber-based bottom.

Earlier this year, Kellanova Europe’s Belgian engineering and R&D teams announced the official launch of the new ‘designed for recycling’ Pringles tube and introduced the new paper sealing technology on production lines in Mechelen Belgium.

These specially designed machines once fully operational across all production lines will be able to produce more than 1 billion perfectly sealed recyclable Pringles tubes per year.

The original Pringles tube, which many households are familiar with, is iconic and “has been a defining feature of the product since it was launched in 1967 in the USA,” says Kellanova.

The new tube retains the brand’s iconic cylindrical shape – enabling the crisps to remain stacked. The shape and stacked nature of the crisps is part of the Pringles image and adds an element of fun for the consumer. Furthermore, the new paper-based tube protects the chips and preserves the flavor of the Pringles to help keep them as fresh as the day they were made. Consumers can also reclose the tubes with the recyclable plastic lid to ensure the chips stay fresh after opening.

Most importantly, the new paper-based tube takes into account ‘Circularity by Design’ guidelines from the European fiber-based packaging value chain, the 4Evergreen alliance, and obtains a good recyclability score for its suitability for recycling in standard paper mills under 4evergreen’s Recyclability Evaluation Protocol.

The tubes are accepted in recycling streams across Europe, as the new paper end makes it easier to recycle for paper recyclers. The launch follows Kellanova’s trial of a steel can in Italy in 2019 and a paper tube in the UK in 2020.  The vast majority of the paper used for the old and new tube is made from recycled material, helping to boost the circular economy for recycled paper packaging.

The introduction of the recyclable Pringles tube is an important step towards Kellanova’s commitment of all its packaging being recyclable, reusable and compostable by 2030. Ultimately, the new paper-based Pringles tube sets an example for the food packaging industry while bolstering brand loyalty too.

Tracy Murphy – senior director Salty Snacks at Kellanova, says, “As part of our Better Days Promise, we have been working hard to reduce our environmental footprint. The recyclable Pringles tube is another important step on our sustainable packaging journey. From the trial of the paper tube that we did in 2020, we already know that consumers love the new-look tube, so we’re now very excited that they’ll be able to get their hands on it.”

Seàn Cairns, president – Global Rigid Paper and Closures (RPC) at Sonoco, worked with both companies’ technical teams, to develop the new ‘designed for recycling’ Pringles tube.  He notes that consumers are more aware than ever of how their purchasing behaviours are impacting the environment, as well as the more sustainable packaging options available to them. “With this in mind,” he says, “it’s important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve by exploring new packaging technologies and materials.”

Highlighting the importance of partnership in packaging design, he adds: “It was a pleasure working with Kellanova and we look forward to seeing how the new paper-based Pringles tube is received by the market. We hope the success of this project inspires other companies and brands to convert to more sustainable packaging.”

Sonoco says it has long been committed to increasing the paper content in its packaging to maximize its recyclability.  Sonoco has taken steps over the years to re-design its packaging and make it more sustainable. This process involved the company hugely investing in research and development to reduce or, where possible, completely remove the plastic and metal components of its packaging.

The result of this is Sonoco’s successful, rigid paper packaging lines as part of the EnviroSense family including EnviroCan, GREENCAN and EnviroStick.

The new Pringles paper-based recyclable tubes are already available in Belgium, in the UK (initially available at UK Tesco and One Stop stores) and in the Netherlands with plans to scale up their launch across Europe.

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