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Ricola relies on Big Bags with recycled material from #tide

March 13, 2024

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[Reading time: 2.5 min]

At Ricola, sustainability is more than just a buzzword – it is firmly anchored in the company's DNA. Switzerland's most popular herbal sweets are produced according to strict ecological criteria. And the fact that they also taste so uniquely good makes them an international hit: Ricola candies are sold all over the world.

Two years ago, Ricola contacted #tide in its efforts to continually optimize its environmental performance and reduce its logistics footprint. The aim was to use recycled plastic in the big bags that Ricola uses to transport its products around the world. One of these large white transport bags contains 240,000 sweets and weighs around 900 kilograms.

The popular herbal candies are then shipped by sea to the USA or Asia. For these shipments, Ricola now uses transport bags containing 30% #tide ocean material. But that's not all: Together with Swiss packaging manufacturer Relianz AG, #tide has successfully developed bags made from 50% ocean-bound plastic. An independent study shows that #tide's rPP recyclate has half the CO2-footprint than the production of virgin plastic.

This underlines Ricola's commitment to making its transport and packaging more sustainable. "It is not our goal to save the world. But we can and want to do what we can to make it a little better," say Ricola’s Vinh Tran and Jochen Layer.

Many pieces to the puzzle

In order to optimize logistics, Ricola has reduced the number of transshipments and shortened transport routes. Deliveries have also been optimized.

Other concrete measures include better capacity utilization and making full use of the maximum payload weight of containers, which will reduce the overall transport volume by 12%. Trucks powered by biodiesel are used to transport the boxes from the production plant to the rail terminal until a zero-emission propulsion technology is fully developed. Rail transport to the export ports of Hamburg and Rotterdam saves the shipper around 51 tonnes of CO2 per year. Also rail transport via Genoa has been successfully tested. The ship transport runs on Sustainable Maritime Fuels instead of heavy fuel oil, resulting in a 75% reduction in CO2 equivalents over the life cycle. Ricola is currently optimizing its already low volume of air freight with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), which saved over 150 tonnes of CO2 in Q1/2023. 

For #tide, the collaboration with Ricola is a particular pleasure: "Ricola is not only a new business partner for us, but also a role model: the traditional company is consistently questioning its use of resources in order to achieve its ambitious environmental goals," says #tide co-founder Marc Krebs. "Ricola grows its herbs in the Swiss mountains according to organic guidelines and consistently avoids the use of herbicides and pesticides. We are delighted that we can now help to minimize the carbon footprint of unavoidable transport."

Reusing old Big Bags

The first 1000 Big Bags Ricola is using to export its popular products are still made from 30% ocean-bound plastic, but the next batches will be made from 50% #tide recyclate thanks to further development by Relianz, the company that manufactures and markets them. 

The polypropylene was recycled by #tide after a thorough analysis of the material’s properties. Fruit juice bottles as well as discarded disposable cups and plates serve as the feedstock. To produce the new raw material, these are cleaned, shredded and then processed into granulate by mechanical recycling. Relianz AG uses the pellets to produce sustainable big bags.

The old Big Bags which Ricola will now sort out, will also be given a second life: On the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the Costa Maya, #tide will use them to store and transport ocean-bound plastic waste.

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