A product’s entire life cycle must be considered in a circular model to be truly sustainable. Today, there are strong drivers in society, including the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). Adopted in 2020, it is a cornerstone of the Commission’s comprehensive European Green Deal for a sustainable future. Duni Group supports this – being fully circular by 2030 is one of our main targets.
A circular economy – unlike a linear one – takes a holistic approach to sustainability. While the end-of-life stage is crucial, we must also consider upstream and manufacturing activities, handling the entire life cycle. The choice of raw materials is essential because recycling alone won’t solve the climate crisis.
At Duni Group, we find renewable just as valuable as recyclable. Each recycling cycle requires an input of new material, which should be renewable. This way, we can leave the fossil resources where they belong, in the ground.
SDGs connected to the initiative
With dramatically increasing raw material use in society, it is vital to ensure sustainable consumption and production. Also, production requires energy and other resources, and a lot of the materials are not recycled. We must separate economic growth from resource use.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production All companies must make active choices. Duni Group commits to choosing more sustainable materials, using renewable energy sources for production and working for viable end-of-life solutions for our products.
SDG 15: Life on Land Renewable paper fibres from the forest are an increasingly important raw material for Duni Group. But forests must also be protected, managed and restored to be a sustainable raw material source. Therefore, we prioritise FSC®-certified raw materials from responsibly managed forests.
A circular model for take-away
In line with Duni Group’s aim to offer the most sustainable solution for any occasion, we acquired a part of the Spanish reusable packaging company Bûmerang Takeaway, S.L. in 2021. Our goal is to create an active partnership and cooperation to support their continued growth in the Iberian Peninsula.
Founded in Barcelona in 2019, Bûmerang markets the first return system for take-away packages in Spain. The system uses a digital platform that makes it easier for consumers to return their bowls and other packages. Currently, more than 70 restaurants and cafes are connected to the system.
Raw materials: Getting it right from the start
An environmentally smart choice always starts with suitable raw materials. Because you can’t put that right later in the life cycle. It is one of our top priorities, and we actively include this perspective in the development and design processes. We aim to:
Use more renewable raw materials with a focus on fibres where possible
Use less plastic and only where needed
Move from fossil virgin plastic to renewable or recycled plastic.
Sustainable end-of-life solutions
The "end-of-life" stage is essential to a product’s overall sustainability performance. We consider various scenarios where our products should fulfil at least one of the following options: recycling, composting or reuse.
Collection and sorting are essential to successful recycling. We collaborate with the company &Repeat that improves recyclability by creating cleaner material flows from restaurants.
Composting is essential for our products in Australia, where BioPak has created the solution Compost Connect, which improves collection.
Reuse is a growing trend, and we have committed to developing new solutions through our investments in Relevo and Bûmerang, two young but leading companies.
Life Cycle Analysis proves CO2 reductions
Before launching our Bio Dunisoft® and Bio Dunicel® products only using renewable materials including the binder that keeps the product together, we performed an externally validated Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We compared them to their standard equivalents, produced with fossil binders.
The fossil-free Bio products reduce the negative climate impact. Especially Bio Dunicel®, with its efficient binder use, does very well with a 30-percent lower climate impact. Our switch to paper-based packaging instead of fossil plastics also contributes to the products’ good performance.
Measuring is key to improving
Our sustainability initiatives are central to Duni Group’s updated strategy. It is essential to follow up on how we perform and improve. We have set key performance indicators (KPIs) to facilitate the follow-up of our performance. The KPIs for the sustainability initiative Circular at scale are:
Virgin fossil plastic use
The target for 2025: Index 50 on total tonnage, 2019 base year
FSC®-certified raw material use
The target for 2025: Business Area Duni 100 %; BioPak Europe 75%