Choose topics to filter the report

Your filter results


We aim to lead the way towards a fully circular packaging system.

Our planet’s resources are finite and its capacity to absorb waste is limited. As a society, we need to move towards a circular economy that stops producing waste and strengthens natural systems. We know SIG can play a big part in this.

SIG cartons contribute to the circular economy from the start of their life because they are made mainly from renewable materials that are naturally regenerated. They are designed to be fully recyclable after use, which helps to keep high-quality materials in circulation and avoid uncontrolled waste entering the world’s oceans as litter that can harm wildlife.

Our packaging solutions, including sustainable innovations such as our paper straws and tethered caps, help our customers comply with growing regulations and fulfil their ambitions to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

We work with customers and others in our industry to extend recycling infrastructure and collection systems around the world as part of our shared responsibility to enhance the rate of cartons that are recycled. Many of the programmes we support have a wider positive impact by increasing collection and recycling of other types of packaging, and by adopting ethical standards and innovative models that support underprivileged people.

Optimising our packs and cutting waste in our own operations helps us minimise material use and enhance the efficiency of our production processes. Certified environmental management systems help to preserve water resources in our operations and supply chain, and our innovative filling technology helps customers to reduce water use at their factories.

Our commitment

Our goal is to design cartons that support increased circularity by stepping up our use of renewable or recycled materials and fostering recycling to turn more used packs into valuable resources that can be used again.

We are committed to the principles of the circular economy, set out by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to design out waste, regenerate natural systems and keep products and materials in circulation, underpinned by use of renewable energy (see Climate+).

In Europe, we are also fully committed to the ten industry commitments set out in the ambitious 2030 roadmap set by the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), of which SIG is a member (see box below).

Light bulb (icon)

ACE 2030 roadmap: industry commitments in Europe

Through ACE, together with others in our industry, by 2030 we are committed in Europe to:

  • produce beverage cartons only from renewable materials
  • and/or produce beverage cartons from recycled materials
  • use more fibre and less plastic
  • decarbonise our value chain in line with 1.5°C target
  • deliver the lowest carbon footprint packaging
  • design for circularity
  • achieve a 90% collection rate of beverage cartons for recycling
  • achieve at least a 70% recycling rate verified by third parties
  • meet the highest sustainability sourcing standards for all materials
  • increase carbon sequestration, enhance biodiversity and increase forest growth.

Partnering to foster collection and recycling

We are committed to collaborating through industry associations (see box below), and with other stakeholders, to significantly increase recycling rates for used beverage cartons globally.

The high-quality fibre that makes up the majority of our cartons can be separated and recycled relatively easily for reuse at paper mills, so our main focus for investment to increase recycling capacity is on more facilities to recycle the remaining polymer and aluminium – either together as a robust PolyAl material for roof tiles or furniture, or separately to enable wider applications for the recycled materials. Through EXTR:ACT, we keep apprised of new recycling technologies and facilities being developed independently and through industry associations. We also strive to increase demand for recycled materials from used beverage cartons by showcasing potential uses.

Used beverage cartons must be collected before they can be recycled. To support this, we advocate for enabling regulatory frameworks (including extended producer responsibility legislation), raise consumer awareness to support collection of used beverage cartons for recycling, and develop innovative models for collection that provide additional societal benefits for underprivileged people.

Our tailored local Going Circular roadmaps are designed to catalyse collection and recycling, and to promote the beverage carton as a sustainable packaging option, in 25 priority countries that together account for around 90% of our global carton sales (by weight).

We are also embarking on plans to enhance collection and recycling systems for our newly acquired bag-in-box and spouted pouch solutions. Some of the industry partnerships that SIG supports in relation to beverage cartons, such as the Consumer Goods Forum, already include collection and recycling of these types of packaging.

Light bulb (icon)

Industry partnerships

We are advocating and driving initiatives to increase collection and recycling of used beverage cartons through industry partnerships, including:

Industry partnerships: grace (Global Recycling Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment), Extra:Act (Driving Value from Multimaterial Recycling), The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, 4evergreen perfecting circularity together, The Consumer Goods Forum, Holy Grail 2.0 Intelligent sorting (logos)Industry partnerships: grace (Global Recycling Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment), Extra:Act (Driving Value from Multimaterial Recycling), The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, 4evergreen perfecting circularity together, The Consumer Goods Forum, Holy Grail 2.0 Intelligent sorting (logos)

We are also part of national producer responsibility organisations (PROs), industry associations and other interest groups that seek to promote recycling in countries such as Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the USA.

Designing for circularity

We are committed not just to increasing collection and recycling rates for cartons as they are designed today, but to designing our cartons to support increased circularity in the future. Our standard procedures mandate that all new carton packs must be fully recyclable by design.1

Through our focus on sustainable innovation (see Sustainable innovation), we have developed circular solutions, such as paper straws for on-the-go cartons and tethered closures that ensure the cap stays with the rest of the pack for recycling. We are also innovating to increase use of renewable or post-consumer recycled materials across our packaging portfolio – particularly to replace virgin fossil-based polymers.

Our industry-leading aluminium-free2 solutions for aseptic cartons offer the potential to simplify the recycling process for beverage cartons, with just two materials to separate rather than three, and to enhance the quality of the recycled polymers recovered – in addition to further reducing the carbon footprint of our cartons (see Climate+).

The box that makes up the majority of the materials in all our bag-in-box solutions can already be recycled through widely available paper recycling streams. We are working to make more of the bags in these solutions, as well as our spouted pouches, fully recyclable by design (see Sustainable innovation).

Optimising resource use in filling

SIG filling machines have an industry-leading waste rate that means less than 0.5% of our packs are wasted during the filling process. We are committed to designing each next-generation machine to help customers further optimise the amount of resources – including water, energy and hydrogen peroxide for sterilisation – they need to fill our carton packs at their factories compared with previous models (see Sustainable innovation). We also work with customers to ensure that our filling machines, and their parts, are recycled or disposed of responsibly at end of life.

Minimising waste and water use in production

We are committed to monitoring and managing environmental impacts from our operations – including minimising waste and use of resources such as water. Robust environmental management systems, certified to ISO 14001 at all our sleeve and spout production plants for our aseptic cartons, support continuous improvement across our operations.

Our main focus is on eliminating waste to landfill by reusing or recycling waste – or, where this is not feasible, by choosing the next best option, such as energy recovery. We also implement responsible disposal options for hazardous and electronic waste to avoid environmental harm and ensure hazardous waste does not end up in landfill.

We use relatively little water in our operations, but we monitor and aim to minimise water use where feasible. All our sites in water-stressed areas are required to have a water management system.

Sourcing sustainable materials

We aim to source all our raw materials with certifications to rigorous external standards that ensure the resources we purchase are produced responsibly (see Responsible culture: our supply chain).

The liquid packaging board that makes up 75% of our cartons on average comes from renewable wood fibre and is procured with FSC™ certification, which requires forest operations to be sustainably managed so nature is protected and natural resources are continually regenerated. FSC™ certification also requires forest operations to protect and restore natural water sources and avoid or mitigate any negative impact on water quality or quantity. We also cover relevant sustainability topics through our working groups with liquid packaging board suppliers, including checking that they have water management systems in place.

Our targets

2025 target1


Progress tracker

Launch a full barrier carton linked to 100% renewable materials (see Sustainable innovation)


Further reduce the amount of non-fibre materials in our carton packs to increase the share of renewable materials and to enable SIG cartons to go into paper recycling streams where relevant by 2030 (see Sustainable innovation)


Partner with stakeholders to implement dedicated and country-specific roadmaps to support increased collection and recycling of beverage cartons


25% reduction in grams of waste per m2 of packaging material (from 2016)


Zero landfill – all waste to be recycled or used as renewable biofuel


Maintain certification to ISO 14001:2015 at all production plants



A target, and accompanying KPI, for the newly identified material issue of water is in development.

Our progress

We made further strides on the road to circularity for our cartons this year with new industry guidelines on design for recycling developed through ACE in Europe and expansion of our innovative Recycle for Good social models for collection of used beverage cartons in several countries around the world. A new recycling facility we funded with partners opened in Australia to boost recycling capacity and create a new market for recycled cartons by turning them into innovative construction materials. The latest launches from our sustainable innovation pipeline bring further benefits for circularity by expanding our range of aluminium-free3 solutions for our aseptic cartons, introducing a paper blister for our paper straw solution and reducing resource use during filling – as well as introducing recycled content and enhancing recyclability of our newly acquired bag-in-box and spouted pouch solutions.

People separating consumer waster at Cidade+Recicleiros programme in Brazil (photo)
The Cidade+Recicleiros programme in Brazil enables cities, companies and communities to establish effective municipal systems to collect and separate consumer waste and ensure decent working conditions for waste pickers. SIG is leading business support for the project.

Recycle for Good in Egypt

We extended our Recycle for Good programme this year with two innovative recycling initiatives in Egypt, where there is currently no segregation of waste at household level. Both use technology to offer full traceability to show the volumes of materials recycled and offer wider societal benefits, including verifying ethical working conditions for waste collectors.

Our partnership to collect used beverage cartons with Tagaddod – the first company in Egypt to enable direct household and food service waste collection through tech-based solutions – builds on its existing app solution, logistics network and operations to collect other recyclable waste. People in Cairo can now use the app to arrange for used cartons to be collected from their home or workplace, and we can use it to trace the cartons to a specific waste collection point and recycler and check ethical working conditions for waste collectors. Households and businesses can earn points for each carton collected, which can be exchanged for rewards such as food products or a donation to local charities. We are raising awareness of the programme through a campaign targeting 3 million households.

In a second programme, with the international organisation Plastic Bank, we are piloting the use of blockchain technology to verify ethical working conditions and enable full traceability of the volume of used beverage cartons and other waste removed from the environment.

Man with

By the end of 2022, around 100 tonnes of used beverage cartons had been collected and tracked in just three months. The pilot, in a coastal area of Egypt on the Red Sea, aims to empower waste pickers by ensuring they receive appropriate personal protective equipment, training and pay for their work. An app enables them to log each piece of waste they collect and receive their choice of payment in exchange – either cash (via an online wallet), food products or school fees. More than 60 workers have participated so far.

Boosting recycling capacity for beverage cartons in Australia

In December 2022, the first batch of innovative new construction materials rolled off the production line at the saveBOARD recycling facility in Sydney, Australia – made from recycled SIG beverage cartons.

These high-performance recycled board materials are designed for use in building interiors and exteriors as a low-carbon alternative to products such as plasterboard and particle board. They are suitable for use in homes and commercial buildings. They also offer benefits for indoor air quality, with zero volatile organic compounds, because they are bonded using heat and compression rather than glues or chemicals.

Together with partners, SIG has provided funding support for this innovative recycling facility, which will process more than 4,000 tonnes of material a year. It will help create a new market for post-consumer recycled materials made from beverage cartons and paper cups by producing high-performance construction materials. The facility has also been awarded public grants through the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the New South Wales Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

construction material made from recycled SIG beverage cartons (photo)

The initiative builds on advocacy efforts over the last two years via the GRACE partnership, which we have worked together to expand this year with other applications for government funding for additional recycling capacity. Further funding has already been secured for the construction of a second saveBOARD recycling facility in Victoria. These concrete achievements demonstrate the value of sector cooperation to deliver system-level solutions.

construction material made from recycled SIG beverage cartons (photo)
construction material made from recycled SIG beverage cartons (photo)

Performance in 2022

Designing for circularity

See Sustainable innovation for information on how we are designing for circularity through our focus on sustainable innovation.

Partnering to foster collection and recycling

  • Through the platforms we are part of, we continued to work together with others in our industry this year on practical guidelines to reinforce our collective commitment to increase recycling rates:
    • ACE: We were instrumental in the development of ACE’s Design for Recycling Guidelines that provide producers of beverage cartons with technical guidance to identify materials in the packaging that are compatible with existing recycling processes and how the recyclability of beverage cartons can be optimised. Development of these guidelines fulfils an important commitment of the ACE 2030 roadmap for the industry.
    • 4evergreen: We supported the development of guidance published by 4evergreen in 2022 on improved collection and sorting for recycling and circularity by design for fibre-based packaging. We are now working to develop further guidance on circularity and recycling processes, including recommendations specifically for beverage cartons.
    • Consumer Goods Forum: With the addition of bag-in-box and spouted pouch solutions to our portfolio for the first time this year, we have now committed to the Consumer Goods Forum’s Golden Design Rule to increase recycling value in flexible consumer packaging. This follows our previous commitment in 2021 to the two Golden Design Rules that are relevant to SIG’s cartons – to remove elements from packaging that could lower recyclate value and reduce virgin plastic use in business-to-business plastic packaging.
  • We added five additional priority countries for our local Going Circular roadmaps in 2022 – four from our Middle East and Africa region (fully owned by SIG since 2021) plus India. Going Circular roadmaps have been developed for each.
  • We launched and expanded innovative new programmes this year that offer social benefits as well as boosting collection of used beverage cartons:
    • Egypt: Two new Recycle for Good partnerships using technology to collect and trace recycled materials are enabling collection of used beverage cartons, while improving working conditions for waste pickers (see case study above).
    • Indonesia: Building on our successful co-operation in Brazil, the SIG Way Beyond Good Foundation is working with the NGO so+ma to develop a rewards-based community recycling programme in Jakarta. In 2023, a Recycle for Good container will be set up for people to return their used packaging in exchange for rewards.
    • Brazil: Our pioneering programmes in Latin America expanded this year with significant increases in the amount of waste collected, rewards for communities and support for workers. Five collection points have now been established in Brazil through our partnership with social enterprise so+ma and we plan to extend this to Chile. More than 1,300 families are participating in the so+ma vantagens rewards programme. Over the last four years, they have collected 306 tonnes of waste in exchange for rewards such as training courses and essential food products, including products provided by SIG customers. New so+ma activations in municipalities where Recicleiros Cidades is in place will enable us to integrate these two flagship programmes for the first time. The Recicleiros Cidades partnership to boost municipal recycling programmes and ensure decent working conditions for waste pickers – through seed investment from SIG and targeted support from more than 60 businesses that also helps them meet their regulatory requirements in relation to recycling – is now operational in 14 municipalities. A further two municipalities have joined the programme and we aim to reach 60 by 2027. The programme has collected more than 6,300 tonnes of waste, reached 847,000 citizens and created 239 jobs for waste pickers over the last five years. SIG teams also offered their expertise to help the waste pickers’ cooperative in Campo Largo enhance safety, ergonomics and work protocols and make production processes more efficient. The results will be shared with other cooperatives across Brazil through the Recicleiros Waste Pickers’ Academy.
  • Capacity to recycle beverage cartons and PolyAl continued to increase in 2022:
    • Australia: The new saveBOARD recycling facility established with support from SIG and our GRACE industry partnership went into production at the end of 2022, making high-performance construction materials from used SIG beverage cartons (see case study above). We also supported the successful government grant application for a second saveBOARD facility in Victoria .
    • Brazil: We began construction of a new recycling plant for beverage cartons that is expected to begin operating in 2024 with an initial capacity to process 200 tonnes of PolyAl per month. The plant will use innovative technology that makes it possible to separate the polyethylene from the aluminium in PolyAl to create a wider market and demand for these recycled materials, increasing their value by more than 50%. Developed over five years with project partner ECS Consulting, the new technology has already undergone a pilot project that proved the effectiveness of the chemical recycling process.
    • Germany: The Palurec facility, in which SIG is a major investor together with two industry partners, has increased its capacity for recovering polymers and aluminium from PolyAl and enhanced the quality of the recovered polymers to expand the range of products they can be used for. Through FKN, the German packaging association, we also welcomed the prototype flexible packaging developed and presented by Saperatec as a potential new application for recycled PolyAl.
  • Through EXTR:ACT, we are keeping apprised of new recycling technologies and facilities being developed independently and through industry associations – including initiatives in Czechia, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. Together with Palurec in Germany, these facilities can already process around 50,000 tonnes of PolyAl annually – enabling polymer and aluminium to be recovered from approximately 30% of the total PolyAl produced from recycled beverage cartons in Europe.
  • Local programmes launched this year to raise awareness of the importance of recycling among consumers and facilitate the return of used beverage cartons include:
    • Austria: We partnered with industry peers to run a communications campaign to emphasise to consumers, including schoolchildren, that used beverage cartons are a valuable resource, and to encourage people to put them in the appropriate bin or bag to be recycled.
    • Brazil: We began working with Menos 1 Lixo, an online sustainability platform focused on reducing waste that has over 600,000 Instagram followers, to raise awareness of our recycling programmes.
    • Dominican Republic: We collaborated with SIG customer Nestlé and major retailer Grupo Ramos to establish 40 collection points for used beverage cartons.
    • Indonesia: We launched a programme with SIG customer Frisian Flag Indonesia to install collection points in 13 stores in the Greater Jakarta area and enable consumers to collect stamps for returning used beverage cartons that they can redeem for rewards in store.
    • Mexico: We completed research in preparation for a pilot of an innovative system that offers credits for collection, transportation and sorting of used beverage cartons that supports integration of the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) sector as a major driver for achieving national recycling targets. We also promoted collection of used beverage cartons at more than 100 schools and used the recycled materials to support social organisations, including partnering with SIG customer Alpura to collect enough used beverage cartons from schools to build a PolyAl roof for an orphanage.
    • Thailand: We extended our collaboration with other packaging manufacturers – and began partnering with the largest chain of convenience stores in Thailand – to raise awareness and provide guidance on how to sort used packaging for collection and recycling through the Beverage Carton Recyclable Project (BECARE) in 20 provinces across the country. We also launched a new project to educate children at 13 international schools on recycling.
    • Vietnam: Through the national PRO, we are supporting a one-year pilot in Ho Chi Minh City that aims to collect and deliver 800 tonnes of used beverage cartons for recycling by March 2023. Working with aggregators and a recycler, the pilot will test out a system to certify and audit the volume of cartons that are collected and recycled to support compliance with regulations on extended producer responsibility that will come into force in January 2024.
  • Through industry organisations, we continued to advocate for enabling regulatory frameworks to support collection and recycling of packaging. In Europe, ACE called for a mandatory beverage carton collection target for EU Member States, and in the USA the Carton Council supported new extended producer responsibility legislation that has been rolled out in several states this year.
  • Our Way Beyond Good Champions, together with local teams, ran a global campaign in 2022 to get employees and communities involved in activities to support our Resource+ action area. In Linnich (Germany), they joined a local clean-up activity in the city and organised a donation of unwanted clothes for reuse to help Ukrainian refugees. In Neuhausen (Switzerland), they cleared litter from the banks of the River Rhine and partnered with WWF Switzerland to raise awareness about correct disposal of waste to support recycling. In Cairo (Egypt), they organised a clean-up of part of the River Nile, as well as sponsoring the removal of two tonnes of packaging waste from the river in collaboration with a local NGO. And in Melbourne (Australia), they donated electronic waste to a local charity that repairs and resells equipment to disadvantaged members of the community or uses it to train job seekers.

Optimising resource use in filling

  • We sold a further 21 water reduction kits, designed to cut water consumption during production by up to 50%, to upgrade existing third-generation filling machines that are already in use in customers’ factories. We have also extended our water reduction kit to another SIG filling machine format and almost all new filling machines are now sold with water reduction upgrade kits already installed.
  • Our SIG NEO next-generation filling machine for family-size carton packs, launched in late 2021, is designed to reduce overall use of utilities (hydrogen peroxide, compressed air and water) by 30% on average. Field tests with customers planned for 2022 have been delayed and we now expect to be able to confirm actual reductions in 2024.

Minimising waste and water use in production

  • We maintained our global ISO 14001 certification for our aseptic carton business – and began work to extend it to newly acquired sites in 2023 – for our environmental management systems, which help to drive continuous improvements in waste management and water management. We also designed and launched new interactive online training on ISO 14001 to help employees understand how our environmental management systems can help us cut environmental impacts and how they can do their bit to help. Initially rolled out to colleagues in our newly acquired bag-in-box and spouted pouch business, we plan to roll out this training across SIG Group in the coming year through our established learning and development channels.
  • We generated a total of 64,724 tonnes of waste at our aseptic carton production sites in 2022, including 1,521 tonnes of hazardous waste that was disposed of by certified waste management contractors. Our waste rate for production of aseptic cartons decreased by 6% to 32 grams per m2 of packaging material.
  • In 2022, 91.6% of waste from production of our aseptic carton packs was reused or recycled, 1.5% was recovered for energy and only around 0.2% went to landfill. We have achieved zero waste to landfill at six of our aseptic carton production plants in China, Europe and Saudi Arabia.
  • We continue to seek ways to minimise production waste through local initiatives. For example, the team at Suzhou (China) introduced closer monitoring of the extrusion process to avoid excess polymer being used in the lamination process. They also introduced a new process to treat and recycle ethanol from printing processes, previously disposed of as hazardous waste, for reuse in production processes, saving over 20 tonnes of ethanol in 2022. In Rayong (Thailand), waste polyethylene was recycled into robust, hardwearing pallets.
  • Our operations do not require a lot of water, but we continued to ensure that water management systems are in place at our sites in water-stressed areas. We used a total of 200.1 million litres of water in 2022, including 100.3 million litres in water-stressed areas.4 The SIG plants in water-stressed areas – Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Suzhou (China) – together accounted for 33% of our production plants.

Production waste rate for aseptic carton packs1

(grams of waste per m2 of sleeves produced)

Production waste rate for aseptic carton packs (line chart)
1 Production waste and waste rate are for sleeves production only, and exclude our closures plant in Switzerland.

Production waste for aseptic carton packs by type1 (thousand tonnes)
















Raw and laminated carton






























Hazardous waste















Aluminium (<1%)

























Production waste and waste rate are for sleeves production only, and exclude our closures plant in Switzerland.

Production waste for aseptic carton packs by disposal method in 20221

Production waste for aseptic carton packs by disposal method in 2022 (pie chart)
1 Production waste and waste rate are for sleeves production only, and exclude our closures plant in Switzerland.
2 Such as incineration without energy recovery.

Production waste for aseptic carton packs by disposal method in 20221 (tonnes)



Non-hazardous waste


Hazardous waste


Total waste















Recovered for energy














Other disposal options2







Total waste








Production waste and waste rate are for sleeves production only, and exclude our closures plant in Switzerland.


Such as incineration without energy recovery.

Sourcing sustainable materials

See Responsible culture: our supply chain for information on how we are sourcing sustainable raw materials from certified responsible sources.

1 Our evaluation of recyclability is based on the relevant EN643 standard.

2 With no aluminium layer.

3 With no aluminium layer.

4 Based on an assessment using the World Resources Institute water risk atlas.

Share this page