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Tetra Pak has reached an agreement with Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem to purchase limited volumes of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) derived entirely from a renewable feedstock.

The agreement is said to represent a move towards using green polyethylene in the carton packaging industry.

Braskem expects the commercial-scale green polyethylene plant, located in the south of Brazil, to come on stream late next year and is targeting first deliveries to Tetra Pak early in 2011.

The facility will use ethanol derived from sugar cane to produce ethylene, which will then be converted into polyethylene.

It is estimated that the process will result in an overall reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions when compared with the traditional process for manufacturing polyethylene.

Under the terms of the agreement, Braskem will begin supplying Tetra Pak with 5Ktons per year of green HDPE from 2011 for use in the production of plastic caps and closures.

The volume represents just more than five per cent of the company’s total HDPE demand and is slightly less than one per cent of its total plastics purchases.

Tetra Pak is involved with the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and is supporting the development of a sustainability certification standard to guide the production of renewable raw materials to supply the green plastics chain.

It is also a partner in the WWF Climate Savers Programme and is on track to meet its commitment to reduce global carbon emissions by 10 per cent in absolute terms between 2005 and 2010.

In 2002, Braskem issued a public commitment related to its contribution to sustainable development and it endorsed the UNEP International Declaration on Cleaner Production.

Since 2005, it has been listed on the Brazilian Stock Exchange Sustainability Index (ISE Bovespa).

All its industrial plants are ISO 14001 certified.

This year, in support of the climate-change engagement movement, Braskem signed the Copenhagen Communique on Climate Change.

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