VOLUME14.2 VOLUME 14.2––2019 2019
RECYCLING VS REUSE LOOP AND THE QUESTIONS IT RAISES
PERSONAL CARE • INSPECTION • POUCHES • CARLSBERG, NESTLÉ & VEOLIA INTERVIEWS
Content Team Tim Sykes Elisabeth Skoda Libby White Victoria Hattersley
Head of Studio Gareth Harrey
Production Manager Paul Holden-Abbott
Advertising Coordinator Kayleigh Harvey
Executive Assistant Amber Dawson
Head of Commercial Operations
VOLUME 14.2 – 2019
Head of Sales Kevin Gambrill
Senior Sales Executive Dominic Kurkowski
Sales Executive Alain Rizk
IT Support Syed Hassan
Audience Development Executive Andrew Wood
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Editorial Tim Sykes Loop Will a radical new vision redefine circularity? Reuse vs Recycling Value chain views on the relative merits Carlsberg interview New Dawn, Snap Pack and Fiber Bottles Coffee packaging Waste free on-the-go Personal care trends From messy manliness to buttock masks Inspection Exploring innovation ahead of IFFA Nestlé Inside the new Institute of Packaging Sciences Stand-up pouches Sustainability focus shifts E-Commerce Functional challenges for corrugated Energy efficiency Channeling Industry 4.0 Pharmaceuticals From pre-filled syringes to combi-filling PACE Forum McBride on today’s critical issues Veolia Circularity partnerships encircling the planet Innovation Spotlight Smurfit Kappa’s 2019 Better Planet Packaging Design Challenge On second thoughts... Unintended consequences
elcome to another Packaging Europe magazine, which is coming to you a little more frequently this year as we increase to eight editions. I hope you enjoyed last month’s unboxing experience – and that our efforts to ensure everyone received the geographically correct box paid off! #unboxingEurope was a fantastic way to commence a big year for us. Among the exciting developments coming up, we’ll soon be announcing details of the expanded 2019 Sustainability Awards, Elisabeth Skoda will be taking an extended road trip to report on the issues driving the packaging industry in Europe’s largest economy, and Libby White prepares to bring you the first Augmented Reality edition of our magazine. In addition, I’m thrilled to introduce the hugely talented Victoria Hattersley as the fourth member of our hugely talented Content team. We’re creating more content in more media than ever before, and Victoria’s experience and ability is going to be invaluable in enabling us to keep pace with our ambitions over the coming months. With so much going on in the development of the circular economy, inevitably this edition of the magazine is once again dominated by discussion of sustainability. The launch of Loop™ at Davos is a big story in itself, but the concept has profound implications beyond the project itself. As we start to glimpse a viable circular economy in plastics based on recycling, will society start to wonder whether universal recycling isn’t good enough after all? How
Tim Sykes Head of Content
would a consumer goods industry based on widespread reuse look? Would it deal with perishable items? How do the respective carbon footprints of reuse and recycling compare across different material types, geographies and supply chain lengths? Recycling vs. reuse is set to be a hot and contentious topic this year; we set the scene with an extended report on Loop and the questions it raises, featuring interviews with TerraCycle’s Tom Szaky, brand owners and other viewpoints across the value chain. Also in this magazine: exclusive interviews with Carlsberg on its sustainable packaging strategies and Veolia on the potential for industry to solve problems if regulators get out of the way; Nestlé’s new R&D centre; wastefree coffee on the go; ten trends in personal care (in which I learned that ‘bottom masks’ are an actual thing); developments in pouches, inspection and Industry 4.0; the functional challenges of e-commerce driving innovation in corrugated; and Sanjay Patel offers his Second Thoughts.
Tim Sykes Tim Sykes firstname.lastname@example.org @PackEuropeTim
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WILL LOOP’S RADICAL VISION REDEFINE THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY? The last year has seen rapid development in the construction of a circular economy in plastics, with most of the leading brand owners and many of the leading converters and chemical companies making substantive pledges on recyclability and value-chain collaborations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and CEFLEX mapping out how to marry design for recyclability with a viable recycling economy. Meanwhile, some voices suggest that even universal recycling of plastics would be no panacea. Last month’s launch of Loop™ by TerraCycle and a coalition of CPG giants has the potential to bring reusable packaging to the mainstream – and raises big questions about the relative merits of recycling vs. reuse. Tim Sykes reports.
aunched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Loop is an online shopping concept that challenges our reliance on single-use packaging. It proposes to send consumers products in customised, durable packaging, which is subsequently collected for reuse rather than recycling. Pilot schemes will launch this spring in France and north-eastern USA, with a subsequent roll-out across additional markets.
The formidable list of participants in the initiative suggests that Loop will be a lasting presence in the CPG landscape – and indicates that brand owners’ reading of circular economy challenges and consumer preferences is making them take the return-and-reuse model seriously. Brand owners involved include Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mondelēz, Danone, Packaging Europe | 5 |
Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC and Beiersdorf. In addition, Carrefour will be the key retail partner in France, and other partners include UPS and Suez.
How does Loop work? 1. First consumers will go to the Loop websites or the websites of retail partners such as Carrefour, and purchase goods from participating brands. 2. Consumers then receive their durable products in Loop’s specially designed shipping bag, which eliminates the need for single-use shipping materials. 3. When consumers finish their products, they place the empty packages in the Loop bag, which is picked up directly from their home. 4. The packaging is then cleaned, using custom cleaning technologies so that each product may be safely reused. (If there is recoverable used product such as nappies, pads, razors or brush parts, they are also recovered to be reused or recycled.) 5. Loop replenishes products as needed and returns the refilled shipping bag to the consumer. Loop, a division of TerraCycle, is based on a multi-stakeholder concept, and brand owners have opportunity to invest, while Suez also owns a stake. Nestlé, P&G, Unilever, Mars and Pepsi were the first brand owners to join and have played a role in developing the idea. TerraCycle will play the role of gatekeeper, defining the parameters for participating products (assessing durability, cleanability and LCA) and advising brands on how to adapt designs if they don’t comply. Loop will also own the collection and treatment infrastructure.
Inverting the ownership model Speaking to Packaging Europe, TerraCycle’s CEO Tom Szaky suggested that overturning the ownership model of packaging offers a winning combination of sustainability and experiential benefits. “Recycling is critically important and using recycled material is an important short-term step but it doesn’t solve our core waste problems,” he said. “One of the starting points for Loop was questioning the idea of consumers owning the packaging of the products they buy. This provides an incentive for the manufacturer to make it cheaper, and the cheaper and lighter it is, the less economical it is to recycle. On the other hand, if the manufacturer takes ownership and responsibility, packaging starts to be treated as an asset in the P&L.” The idea of consumers borrowing, rather than buying, packaging resonates with a millennial economy prioritising experience over ownership. “Why should you own packaging?” continued Tom. “The cheaper the packaging, the less desirable it is. We see an opportunity to increase consumer delight by moving from cheaper materials to luxury design and materials such as alloys, glass and engineered plastics. Since there is no point of sale function, the container has limited labelling requirements, further enhancing the aesthetics. There’s also an opportunity to add functionality, for instance Häagen-Dazs has created a steel container that keeps the ice cream frozen for hours outside the freezer.”
Sustainability claims Disposable packaging became popular in the 1950s as it promised a cheaper, more convenient lifestyle. Tom Szaky regards Loop as a means to continue to deliver affordability and convenience at the same time as eliminating the waste.
This is facilitated by the economic depreciation of reuse: expensive packaging grows cheaper the more times it is used, and Loop claims the costs are similar to SUP when collection and washing are factored in. But what of Loop’s overall environmental footprint? While there has been considerable societal pressure in favour of reusable systems, to date the arguments have tended to be more intuitive than empirical. According to TerraCycle, Life Cycle Assessments have been carried out under usage pattern assumptions that demonstrate an opportunity to cut carbon as well as packaging waste. Results vary from product to product but tend to reach parity with single-use packaging once they undergo three lifecycles. The wider industry will of course be curious to scrutinise this data, and Packaging Europe believes we are in urgent need of a whole body of new research into the relative carbon footprints of reuse and recycling across the spectrum of consumption contexts, materials, geographies. Filling this gap in our knowledge will be essential in order to map out the respective roles of reuse and recycling in the optimised sustainable ecosystem.
Extensions As Loop grows, it seems it will become an increasingly decentralised entity. “We’ve set up our own e-commerce website as a petri dish,” said Tom Szaky. “However, the way to scale it up is to work with major retailers, such as our partner in France, Carrefour. In time we also intend to work with accredited agencies to approve product design suitable for cleaning and reuse in the Loop system.” With regard to participating products, the initial focus is on the FMCG category, starting with those whose sales volumes and simplicity render them immediately viable. We may not expect Loop-delivered insect repellent any time soon. However, Loop is hardly modest in its ambitions. Reusable aerosol containers are in the pipeline. According to Tom Szaky, “Nothing in CPG poses an impossible hurdle” – though we are unaware of any short shelf-life products in the initial portfolio that would usually rely on high barrier packaging. There is also further innovation in the pipeline around cleaning technologies. In the first phase, triggers and pumps will be recycled but Loop is developing a cleaning process in which pumps and sprayers are actuated with nitrogen passing through, enabling them to be reused.
What the brand owners say PepsiCo is trialling Loop in Paris via Carrefour’s e-commerce channel. “We will be initially offering Tropicana Orange Juice and Quaker Chocolate Cruesli via the Loop system to participating consumers in Paris,” Simon Lowden, president of PepsiCo Global Snacks Group, told Packaging Europe. “We wanted to commit to this trial with two of our most popular brands in France. Quaker Cruesli is one of the leading granola brands in the French market, with chocolate being the most popular variant. Tropicana is the number one juice brand in France and has long had a reputation for pioneering new innovations. We are excited to see the reception from Paris consumers as we bring Tropicana and Quaker to them in this new format and through this new channel. We will then assess further development opportunities.” New packaging formats were created specifically for Loop by PepsiCo’s R&D team. “These combine a high-end design aesthetic with the durability needed for reuse,” Simon commented. “The Quaker containers are stainless steel and finished with a brushed effect and a friction fit push-on closure to retain product freshness. Our Tropicana orange juice will be packaged in an attractive glass bottle with side ridging to ensure an enhanced pouring experience.”
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Loop is one of a range of initiatives PepsiCo is exploring as part of a drive to reinvent its packaging. “We are also looking beyond the bottle and beyond the bag for our brands,” Simon revealed. “Our recent acquisition of SodaStream is part of this approach, as are our breakthrough innovations like Drinkfinity and beverage dispensers like Spire for foodservice and Aquafina water stations for colleges and universities. Packaging sustainability is a complex and multifaceted challenge, requiring different solutions depending on the product, the market and the consumer proposition. We are exploring a number of different solutions as we work to achieve our vision for more sustainable packaging.” For P&G joining Loop can be seen in the context of its Ambition 2030 roadmap, launched last year. “We are now moving the Roadmap into action and one of the goals was to inspire and enable responsible consumption,” Virginie Helias, VP & chief sustainability officer told Packaging Europe. “There are many ways we want to do that but one of them is to drive 100 per cent of packaging towards reusable or recyclable. We’ve been doing a lot of innovation on the side of recyclability, but until now we hadn’t done so much on reusability.” Ten of P&G’s product categories are participating in the Loop pilot. However, not all of these brands have developed new packaging, since some of their existing packaging already fits the durability criteria to withstand several cycles. “Ariel and Febreze are participating with durable, refillable packaging that is also available in stores, testing a new direct-to-consumer refill and reuse model,” Virginie revealed. “They are using existing packaging to launch in the pilot and if successful will then design unique packaging as the idea is to add functionality and features. On the other hand, a few brands decided to develop unique packaging especially for the pilot. So we have Pantene with a unique bottle made with lightweight, durable aluminium for its shampoo and conditioner. It is very convenient, and the packaging looks beautiful.” Similarly, Cascade has developed a new ultra-durable packaging for Cascade ActionPacs which enables consumers to skip the prewash. Tide, America’s number one laundry detergent, is participating in Loop in a new durable bottle made from stainless steel with a simple twist-cap and easy pour spout. Meanwhile, Oral-B has developed a totally new product: it will test circular solutions for both its electric rechargeable and manual toothbrushes. Oral-B CLIC, a new iconic design for manual toothbrushes features a durable handle equipped with a unique mechanism that allows consumers to only exchange the brush head. The Loop platform will recycle used brush heads for both manual and electrical brushes. “The idea really is to shift consumers’ existing shopping habits into Loop,” concluded Virginie. “Therefore, we need to have a very broad line-up of products. If there were only a few premium products, that would defeat the purpose. | 8 | Packaging Europe
We want to change the entire consumer habit. When we tested with people, the feedback was that it was indeed extremely convenient. I would call it a premium experience: it’s a wonderful way to innovate and delight people. The fact that Loop is on the e-commerce platform is also important, as this is the fastest growing channel for us. At the same time, it addresses the consumer concern for the elimination of waste. I’m not saying that it will reach 100 per cent, but I have high hopes that it will become a significant way of shopping in the future.” “We’re acutely aware of the causes and consequences of the linear ‘takemake-dispose’ model of consumption,” David Blanchard, Unilever’s chief R&D officer, commented. “And we want to change it. That’s why we’re proud to be a founding partner of the Loop Alliance with nine Unilever brands. These brands have all embraced the challenge to redefine how consumers access the products they love, whilst eliminating waste. We believe this collaboration will complement our existing efforts to help create a packaging system that is truly circular by design.” As part of its 2025 wider sustainability goals, France’s leading retailer Carrefour has set out to reach 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging, with at least one concrete action taken towards these objectives every month. As Loop’s retail partner in the French pilot, it will be offering around 100 products, including 20 of its own private label organic products that use glass packaging, alongside those of international brand owners. “We are inviting our suppliers to work on packaging innovations for Loop,” Bertrand Swiderski, Carrefour’s sustainability director, told Packaging Europe. “Such packaging must meet four criteria to be considered: it has to deliver higher quality or a luxury experience in relation to disposable packaging; it must be more convenient for the customer and reusable up to 100 times; and the product must be cheaper over the whole lifecycle.” Carrefour will be responsible for managing the Loop supply chain in France, handling delivery, customer services, and collection of empty packaging at the same time as delivering new products. The pilot will commence on a small scale in the Paris region, with a view to quickly applying the lessons learned. “We’re treating this like a start-up,” Bertrand remarked. “We are ready to move fast and accelerate. We can develop this by testing out new ideas, e.g. maybe we’ll try pop-up stores or extend Loop to drive-through formats, which are more prevalent outside Paris. We can approach this in an agile way: it’s a very different mindset for a such large company.” We’ll be keeping an eye on how the Loop project takes off over the coming months and years. But having already prompted so many industry behemoths to think outside the box, we can confidently apply that over-used adjective: this idea is disruptive.
REUSE OR RECYCLE? In the light of the Loop’s radical vision of a system in which the brands retain ownership of durable containers, we asked stakeholders from around the value chain how they regard the relative merits of recycling and reusing packaging.
The Brand Owner Virginie Helias, VP & chief sustainability officer, Procter and Gamble: Reusability is a new model and we absolutely want to explore this. Based on the consumer reaction we have had in the past twelve months where we’ve been testing it with a few households we believe there is real potential with this new way of shopping. It’s not just about reusability – it’s about our ability to invest in superior packaging. This is the key to brand building – basically the ownership is changing from consumer to manufacturer in terms of assets. It gives us great flexibility to invest in the packaging and that’s why some of the packaging we have developed uniquely for Loop has great aesthetics and functionality. However, recyclability is also a priority for all our brands. Today about 86 per cent of our packaging is recyclable so we are well on our way to attaining our 100 per cent target. We’ve been active in R&D, for example the PureCycle initiative, which has developed a technology that restores used polypropylene to a virgin-like state. In short, we are very active on both recycling and recyclability. We don’t leave any stone unturned.
Simon Lowden, president, PepsiCo Global Snacks Group: There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Achieving a world in which plastics need never become waste will require different packaging and distribution models in different product, market and consumer contexts. We are exploring a number of different solutions.
Glass Michael Delle Selve, senior communications manager, FEVE – The European Container Glass Federation: Reuse models in packaging have existed for a very long time and there are many examples of reusable packaging systems in place, notably in the beer sector. So we do not see a rise in reuse models; on the contrary, many products in reusable packaging have switched to single-use due to the convenience and on-the-go markets. Now the announcement of the TerraCycle Loop initiative is different. It is a response to the unprecedented media and consumer attention on single-use plastics, which is driving brands and entire sectors to seek alternatives. In the meantime, these same brands and sectors are investing massively in the plastic recycling chain to increase the recyclability of the materials and the end-markets for plastic recyclates. Having said that, the TerraCycle model mixing digital technology and online shopping could certainly play a role in improving the consumer experience of using refillable or reusable packaging. Reuse is a simple concept, but there are many different types of reuse whether the packaging is for transport, business or consumer use. For instance, wood pallets are reused for carrying goods, plastic crates are reused for carrying packed products, or glass bottles are reused for refill. Given that transport and business packaging tends to be organised within a well-defined logistical system, which makes the return of the packaging traceable and easier to control, we tend to consider that consumer reuse is the most difficult of the reusable systems to put in place. It requires an upfront investment on a packaging fleet, and a consumer incentive on the bottle to ensure it is returned and therefore optimise the investment. In terms of consumer reuse, glass bottles are the best performer and can go up to 40 rotations on the market. It can be a very efficient and sustainable solution to maintain products in a short Packaging Europe | 11 |
supply chain, provided there is a consumer culture supporting reuse. But it is not always the best approach, and it depends very much on the size of the market. Beyond the local level, single-use is usually a better approach, provided the packaging material is recyclable and effectively recycled. Glass performs on both levels: it can be reused, but it is also a permanent material that is endlessly recycled in a closed loop. LCA-based indicators (like carbon footprint) are dangerous to generalise. An LCA is generally conducted for specific situations and the conclusions are only valid in this specific context. Energy mix of the region considered, transport distance, breakage rates, number of refills, cleaning process, furnace efficiency, cullet rate, recycling allocation methodologies, packed volume, bottle weight, and so on are all critical factors that need to be specified before any conclusions can be drawn. That being said, when trying to have all these parameters equal for comparison (which does not always makes sense), reusable glass is one of the best performers (all packaging considered) in LCA for local markets.
Dr Liz Wilks
Print Vincent Millot, future product marketing manager, Markem-Imaje: While itâ€™s better to recycle than to send something to landfill, there are still two resource-intensive cycles involved: initial production and subsequent recycling. A trend in some Latin American countries, for example, is to refill both glass and PET bottles. However, the industry has been widely impacted in the recent past by traceability issues linked to ink adhesion. Inks need to be strong enough for product codes to stay on from production through consumption but still come off easily upon return. To address this issue we launched an improved version of our MB243 ink which is delivering sufficient adhesion in reusable returnable glass bottles and comparably high performance in RefPET. With the increasingly loud debates in mature markets about the viability of refilling versus recycling, and having solved the adhesion issue in returnable bottles âˆ’ thus ensuring traceability even in a refillable setting âˆ’ we are not surprised to see that this emerging market model is currently being reimplemented in the developed world.
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Corrugated Dr Liz Wilks, European director, sustainability & stakeholder outreach, Asia Pulp & Paper: A circular economic system needs to be implemented, an economy built around both reuse and recycling. It is clear that there are a number of benefits of the reuse model. For example, 95 per cent of the value of plastic is gone after the first use. Reuse keeps material out of the waste stream, thereby securing its value whilst reducing energy consumption and extending the life of the original raw material. In the case of pulp and paper, with a virgin fibre product, assuming that other materials can be extracted easily from it, can be upcycled up to seven times and thereafter safely be disposed of. The key is to ensure that materials can be easily separated by the consumer and the waste stream, then those which can be re-used have the infrastructure to be able to be re-purposed.
Crucially – among other benefits of the reuse model – with reports highlighting that England’s landfill sites will be overflowing by 2022, reusing items can reduce the amount of material we send to the landfill. With the EU agreeing that, by 2020, member states must recycle 45 per cent of all plastics, rising to 60 per cent by 2025, it will be interesting to see how countries across the continent respond to this ambition and the impact it has on our landfill sites. Recycling is a key element of the product lifecycle. In the case of pulp and paper, without the original pulp, recycling wouldn’t be able to take place but in the same vein it is important to make use of the product’s technical features to extend the life of the material as much as possible. We need to be thinking of product innovation with the end of life in mind and the ability to re-integrate with nature, whilst respecting the function of the packaging.
Plastics Statement from Amcor: Increasing collection, recycling and reuse worldwide requires new thinking and ways of doing things, and collaboration by all stakeholders. We know that success will only come from a combination of lots of different approaches, so we are watching and learning about all of them. For performance and recyclability, it remains true that plastic packaging is typically the best solution for consumers and the environment. Amcor makes reusable PET beverage bottles that are returned, cleaned, and refilled multiple times (today in several Latin American countries) and flexible packaging, for products like dish soap, that consumers use to refill dispensers at home. In general, packaging reuse programmes work best in small geographies where high volumes of products are used, but are typically less suitable today for large-distribution geographies. Packaging reuse requires reverse logistics, cleaning, inspection, and refill facilities, with total costs that can be much higher than conventional packaging, even when the cost of recycling is included. Amcor is committed to developing all its packaging to be high-performing and recyclable and reusable, and a leader in long-term solutions. Success will come from a combination of lots of different approaches, so we are watching and learning about them all.
COMMUNICATING SUSTAINABILITY: A ‘NEW DAWN’ FOR CARLSBERG Carlsberg has set itself some tough environmental targets for the coming decade. Given its recent rebranding, along with a raft of recent and upcoming innovations – such as the much-anticipated green fiber bottle – it was an ideal time for Packaging Europe to catch up with Simon Hoffmeyer Boas, group sustainability director, and Julian Marsili, global brand director, to find out about the brand’s sustainability ethos and how this impacts its strategic direction. Victoria Hattersley reports.
here are a lot of competing priorities in the global supply chain when it comes to sustainability: resource efficiency vs. packaging reduction; product protection vs. downgauging, and so on. Sometimes it can fall to global brands such as Carlsberg, which have high visibility among consumers, to help further the conversation and negotiate a path between these conflicting needs through their own brand development strategies. In mid-2017 Carlsberg launched its most ambitious sustainability programme to date. The ‘Together Towards ZERO’ programme sets out clear ambitions to be achieved by 2030: zero carbon emissions (through eliminating coal use and converting to renewable energy), zero water waste, zero irresponsible drinking and zero accident culture. And it is already ramping | 14 | Packaging Europe
up its efforts. According to Mr Hoffmeyer Boas, it hopes to achieve half of this target by 2022. “When you look at where in our value chain carbon is emitted, around 14 per cent is from breweries, and 86 per cent is from outside of the breweries. We call this our ‘beer-in-hand’ footprint, and for this we have a 30 per cent reduction target,” he says. “As packaging makes up around 40 per cent of the total value chain emissions it’s a very important area for us to focus on.” Indeed, as a group Carlsberg is ‘very vocal’ about the need for more ambitious climate targets than the world is currently employing. Its CEO Cees ‘t Hart is a member of the World Economic Forum alliance of CEO climate leaders, so it is clearly in a position to make its voice heard on this topic.
Simon Hoffmeyer Boas
Consumer engagement is key Quite apart from the purely functional concerns, there is another important reason why packaging plays such a key role in reducing environmental impact – the high visibility it has for consumers. It’s increasingly apparent that consumers are becoming far more conscious of the impact a product’s packaging has as opposed to the product itself. “What is great about packaging,” he adds, “is that it is very physical so it has a concrete impact on the consumer, which gives us the ability to engage with them on sustainability.” And Carlsberg is very clear that sustainable change can only come about through collaboration between consumers and brands – it is no use, it says, producing a highly sustainable package if consumers don’t know how to correctly dispose of it.
A ‘new dawn’ Last year, Carlsberg launched what it calls its ‘new dawn’ – a complete rebranding of its visual identity. But Global Brand Director Julian Marsili is quick to point out this is not simply a cosmetic facelift. “This rebrand has allowed us to bring to life many sustainable innovations we have been working on over the past year, with two main aims: to deliver better beer experiences to consumers as well as brand-building activities that are better for society.” The most effective of these new innovations, he says, is the Snap Pack. Introduced in 2018, it was designed to replace traditional, bulky plastic rings with a pioneering solution that instead bonds packs of multiple cans together. It was initially launched on 6 x 330ml Carlsberg Expørt cans, which are held
together with a specially developed glue in small dots. These are easily snapped apart when required, yet robust enough to be transported to and from the store. Through the Snap Pack, the Carlsberg Group aims to reduce its overall plastic usage by more than 1200 tonnes annually.
Recyclable inks Yet end of life packaging is only part of the picture: Carlsberg has been looking at the entire value chain to optimise every aspect of its packaging. Another area it has identified for sustainable development is greener inks. Through a collaboration with hubergroup it has introduced a range of Cradle to Cradle certified™ inks and coatings for offset and gravure print products. “Along with hubergroup we looked at each ink and its impact on sustainability,” said Mr Hoffmeyer Boas. “Our message was that it doesn’t have to be difficult to create a better ink optimised for recycling – it’s just about asking the right questions. With a brand like Carlsberg, that Julian is heading up, we can use that for good in creating awareness of what better inks look like.” Mr Marsili expands on this: “We’re not just looking at the impact of colour on the shelf anymore, but on its ability to be recycled. This is not to say that we ignored the colour and the look – of course this is a vital part of on-shelf appeal – but we have to look at the whole impact.” It’s also worth mentioning that this collaboration with hubergroup is indicative of how Carlsberg tackles each sustainability challenge. In general, it recognises that a collaborative approach is one that gets results – to which end it regularly taps into the knowledge of suppliers, NGOs and startups. Packaging Europe | 15 |
“Together we can do better,” he says. “When you unleash the power of all our partners, that’s when you get somewhere. Ask questions. What can we do that is different to create sustainable alternatives? Support our partners. Say to them: ‘If you develop this sustainable innovation we will put it on the market’.”
The question of materials: Plastics reduction vs. resource efficiency Given the broader debate around the problem of plastic waste weighed against the need for resource efficiency, we are interested to find out how Carlsberg engages with this issue. Where does it sit within the brand’s overall approach to sustainability? “We have what I would call a ‘scientific approach’ to sustainability,” says Mr Hoffmeyer Boas. “That means when we are faced with the question, Is this sustainable?, we a look at it from two perspectives. “First there is the quantitative environmental impact, which relates to resource efficiency: if a has a low CO2 impact vs. other materials it’s a really good start. “Second, there is the qualitative aspect – how the consumer perceives this material. Where does it end up at the end of its life? How can it become a new product? This qualitative aspect is clearly more difficult to tackle but it’s a very important question to ask.” But when it comes down to the question of one material over another, Carlsberg has not tied its flag to any particular mast. “With materials, we believe any type can be made more sustainable – there are just different approaches to different materials. You simply have to look at the waste hierarchy: in essence, with radical reduction comes carbon benefit, and this also means you have less material that needs to be recycled.” Which brings us to another question that brand owners like Carlsberg, which are actively looking to reduce their carbon footprint, will no doubt ask them| 16 | Packaging Europe
Carlsberg’s forthcoming Fiber Bottle
selves. How far do we try to influence the debate on waste management and the circular economy? The thinking from Carlsberg is that regulators should always engage with industry first, where possible, because “we really have knowledge of what works in our industry.” Look at the area of coating, for example: more than 80 per cent of Carlsberg’s packaging in Asia is in refillable glass bottles, which can fade in appearance over time, so environmentally friendly coatings, produced by chemicals group Arkema, are applied to ensure they stay appealing to consumers – “the bottle appears new though it may have been used several times.”
What next? While our interviewees are not able to reveal much detail on Carlsberg’s future sustainability initiatives, Mr Hoffmeyer Boas was able to confirm that the longrumoured ‘world’s first biobased beer bottle’ is due to appear in 2019. We already know a little about this project: the Green Fiber bottle has been in development since 2015, in partnership with Danish packaging company ExoXpac with support from Innovation Fund Denmark and the Technical University Denmark. Carlsberg says the innovative new bottle will be made from a selection of biobased materials, principally sustainably sourced wood-fibre, in line with its long-term plans to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. We will watch with interest over the coming months to see how this story progresses. “Any type of packaging can be better and more sustainable,” says Mr Hoffmeyer Boas in conclusion, “so there is no crusade against any particular type of material. What we need to do as a company is help our consumers live more sustainable lives.”
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THE COFFEE CUP CHALLENGE Together with other single-use packaging items, single-use coffee cups have received negative media attention in recent years. Does this mean that consumers are actually keen to seek out alternatives? Elisabeth Skoda explores some surprising statistics about on-the-go coffee consumption and advancements in recycling technologies for coffee cups.
-the-go coffee consumption varies widely across different countries. According to a survey from NPD and CREST, Japan leads the field with 48 per cent of total coffee orders to go. The USA is not far behind with 45 per cent. In Germany, France and the UK, 17 per cent of all coffee orders are to go. Finally, in Italy and Spain, the figure only amounts to 3 per cent. Holger Preibisch, managing director of the German Coffee Association, highlights a study the association commissioned in 2017, which explores the buying habits of coffee drinkers. It is based on statements by 37,000 regular coffee drinkers, describing 240,000 individual situations in which coffee was drunk. 56 per cent of people surveyed stated that they don’t generally drink coffee to go. Of the remaining groups, 34 per cent say that they drink their coffee from a single-use cup, and nine per cent stated that they own a reusable cup they carry around with them. “Coffee to go consumption decreases with consumer age. Younger consumers are generally more mobile and don’t want to do without their coffee. However, whether or not consumers are likely to use a single-use or a reusable cup is not dependent on age. Across all ages, around every fifth person who drinks coffee to go uses a reusable cup,” Mr Preibisch points out.
Convenience trumps environmental concerns Efforts to get more people to either return or recycle their cups or use their reusable cups have shown some success, but over 60 per cent of coffee to go drinkers say that single-use cups are still by far the most convenient solutions for them. “Users are aware of environmental problems, and only a minority denies that there is a problem,” Mr Preibisch adds. “But single-use cups are so convenient that only a quarter of users favour a complete ban. 40 per cent of consumers surveyed even said that they don’t worry about whether a cup is environmentally
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friendly or not. On the other hand, around 30 per cent of single-use cup users have a guilty conscience when using such a cup. 25 per cent of users feel that the environmental problems caused by single-use cups are negligible compared to other environmental issues. 21 per cent of coffee drinkers agree with the statement that single-use coffee cups should be banned.” He does however detect growing acceptance for a cup deposit and the introduction of a levy on single use coffee cups from the study: “60 per cent agree that a deposit on cups would lead to less harm for the environment, and 33 per cent would be willing to go out of their way to return a cup. Setting the deposit at the right price is key to success, however, as 27 per cent state that If the deposit was 15 cents or less they would still throw away their cup. In addition, 42 per cent of consumers would actively prefer to use a single-use cup as alternatives are considered too complicated.”
Theory and practice The study highlights a slowly growing acceptance of non-disposable coffee cups and a levy on single-use cups, but many consumers are still hesitant. “Data from retailers and coffee shops who offer their coffees in single-use and reusable cups confirm that customers are still hesitant to choose a reusable cup on a regular basis. Like with so many questions around sustainability, there seems to be a discrepancy between survey results and actual decisions made at the point of sale,” Mr Preibisch observes. Asked what an ideal reusable cup should look like, Mr Preibisch highlights the importance of usability for hot and cold drinks. “It should also have a reusable and tightly closing lid and survive at least 300 uses or washes,” he says. “Beyond that it should be made from bioplastics
and be 100 per cent recyclable. It would also be great if there was a single system for reusable cups that is available everywhere where coffee is on sale that makes it easy to return the cups there. That would be an ideal model, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal cup world.”
A recycling solution In the UK, paper maker and converter James Cropper has been working on a solution to the disposable cup problem with the launch of CupCycling™, the first recycling process dedicated to upcycling take-away cups. The technology won a Packaging Europe Sustainability Award in 2018. Instead of being landfilled
and incinerated, the cups are turned into paper. The CupCycling™ process is progressing smoothly, with James Cropper recently having received the first bales of used coffee cups from a pioneering pilot scheme in collaboration with Forge Recycling, environmental charity Hubbub and Leeds City Council. “The delivery marks a step in the papermaker’s ambition to help recycle some of the estimated three billion take-away cups that are currently thrown away in the UK each year. CupCycling™ is all about collaboration and is designed as a process to upcycle paper coffee cups. We give more value to the fibre when it is being recycled by upcycling the coffee cup into a beautiful new product. If there is a value to us it also makes it worthwhile for the waste
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management companies to collect it from coffee retailers and transport hubs,” says James Cropper’s market development manager, Richard Burnett. “The particular challenge with recycling paper coffee cups is that they are generally lined with polyethylene on the inside. Our unique process removes the lining that makes take-away cups waterproof, while preserving the precious paper fibres. The polyethylene is recycled by our reprocessing partner, and our paper fibres are ready to upcycle. The fibre in a cup is as high quality as you can get in the marketplace, so cups are a great material source if you can get around the problem of polyethylene lining.”
The tip of the iceberg The process has only scratched the surface so far and there is large potential for upscaling, Mr Burnett claims: “To date we recycled around 40 million cups, but we have the capacity to upcycle 500 million cups per year. We have significant capacity available, and it’s something we’re looking to develop further. We are getting more interest all the time from new businesses who are looking to recycle their materials. It is key to build a market for cups and help people understand that it is a valuable commodity and not something to throw away. One of the challenges we had in the past is that there’s been some confusion about what could happen to cups and how they could be recycled. Great progress has been made in the last couple of years in terms of in-store recycling and available collection points.” Education and giving consumers a clear message about what can be done with the cups will help motivate them to dispose of the cups in the right place and avoid them ending up in landfill or in nature. “We are working hard to put the message across by making products we produce visible to consumers. For example, recently we worked with Paperchase | 20 | Packaging Europe
on their Sustainable Living range of products. Showcasing what can be made out of cups helps to raise awareness that recycling can make a difference.” An end to end solution that boosts recycling rates is important to make the system work, according to Mr Burnett. “We have a close relationship with retailers such as Costa or McDonald’s,” he says. “It’s key that they understand what kinds of materials we can recycle and to work in partnerships with waste companies. Nothing can be done in isolation. Businesses from different sectors need to work together to be able to solve the issue. The importance of cooperation across the value chain is further underlined by the fact that different types of cups being launched into the market can be problematic for recycling – a different type of coating can pose challenges to recycling. A proliferation of different technologies can have a negative impact on recycling. So with new products being developed for the market, it would be beneficial for the recycling mills to have a dialogue with the businesses developing the technologies to make it work.”
FROM MESSY MANLINESS TO BUTTOCK MASKS: THE PERSONAL CARE TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself” (Andy Warhol). Kirsty Cole, head of growth at Anthem Benelux, takes a look at brands blurring boundaries – emerging trends and smart innovation shaking up the personal care category and beyond:
the early adopter mindset filters out into mainstream thinking and behaviours, brands need no longer target their innovations towards a small group of consumers – the floor is open and the consumer demand growing across all demographics for brand innovation.
The boundaries of what we might have traditionally considered as ‘personal care’ are shifting with brands exploring new territories and opportunities to take care of the body and mind from a more holistic perspective. Here we take a look at a selection of ten current and emerging trends from brands leading notable movements of change.
Brands developing targeted personal care solutions for the more active amongst us are on the rise. Natural luxury spa brand Espa have launched a new body care collection designed for use post workout, and include a Muscle Rescue Balm and Fitness Shower Oil specially formulated to sooth tired muscles.
Practical and affordable male grooming brand Harry’s questions conventional definitions of what it means to be a man, celebrating the ‘messiness of masculinity’ and championing social causes that challenge outdated stereotypes. The subtle and playful illustration of a Mammoth on pack calls attention to the brand’s message of extinct perceptions of masculinity that need to be abolished.
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Credit: Eco + Amour
Sustainable living Born from a belief that small changes can have a big impact, Eco + Amour have collaborated with some of the trendiest eco-conscious brands to offer a refillable, more sustainable, beauty, personal care and home care shopping
experience. No doubt Iâ€™m not the only one with at least three different moisturisers and deodorants in the bathroom at any one time â€“ refreshingly, Eco + Amour encourages consumers to only buy what they need.
Clean living, clean design The broader trend towards clean living (both in terms of health and sustainability) and clean beauty has been broadly adopted across the personal care category, particularly by more agile brands. For the most part, the fragrance category has been slow to respond, continuing to follow traditional premium colours, codes and cues. Minimalism is the new luxury and Le Labo is a great benchmark, with clear stand-out on shelf against the swathe of rose gold and metallic designs of other fragrance super brands. Taking cues from the premium spirits category with the bottleâ€™s heavy foot, the label design also mimics tasting notes as though from a distillery. A fantastic example of the value in looking cross-category for design inspiration.
Credit: Le Labo
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Credit: Don Yaw Kwaning, Medulla Project
Eco-materials Netherlands based designer Don Yaw Kwaning is exploring sustainable innovation using the soft rush plant. Through a process of separating the pith from the fibres you are left with a foam which has lightweight, shock-
resistant and insulating properties – all without the need for bonding agents. The fibres can be developed into materials such as paper and corrugated cardboard, a fantastic new eco-packaging solution.
Credit: Feather Aqua
Leveraging health and wellness In support of the ever-popular self-care movement, personal care brands have an opportunity to incorporate health and wellness solutions into their product functionality and design. Japanese haircare brand Feather Aqua explores holistic health and wellness for the scalp – founded on the premise that taking care of your head takes care of your hair. The brand uses amino acids and natural plant extracts coupled with aromatherapy fragrances to also elevate the state of mind and mood of the consumer.
New wave supplements Wellness start-up Hello.me has recently launched a special natural supplement designed to combat the negative effects of using contraceptive pills. The ‘Top Up Tonic’ reportedly relives symptoms such as bloating, mood swings and breast tenderness.
Credit: Hello Me Top Up Tonic | 24 | Packaging Europe
Harnessing advances in technology World leader in regenerative medicine, Professor Augustinus Bader has utilised the restorative power of stem-cell technology to provide consumers with the ultimate solution in highend anti-ageing skincare. The TFC8® patented technology activates the body’s stem cells to biologically repair damage to the skin caused by lifestyle and environmental factors – mobilising our body’s natural abilities to renew.
Credit: Augustinus Bader
Delicious derrières Never has Sir Mix-A-Lot been more relevant. Products aimed at targeting elasticity, firmness, dry skin and sagging of the bottom have flooded the market over the last year. Masks in particular are on the rise. Niche Los Angeles brand Anese brings us ‘Down with the thickness’, a collagen mask that detoxes, plumps and softens your bottom.
Credit: Anese, Down with the thickness
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A sculpting revolution The onslaught of easily accessible fitness solutions across social media and personalised app technologies has begun to filter out into the personal care market. Be for Beauty brings us a ‘BOD’ range (‘Body on Demand’), a ritual of products designed to tighten and sculpt the body through the reduction of water retention. The range includes bath salts which are designed to tone the body, clear out excess toxins and supposedly eliminate up to 3lbs of excess water retention weight – all within a 20-minute soak.
Credit: Be for Beauty, BOD | 26 | Packaging Europe
FROM FARM TO FORK IFFA is opening its doors to the meat industry on 4-9 May 2019 and will feature exhibitors specialising in inspection such as Eagle Product Inspection, Ishida Europe and Fortress Technology Europe. Libby White caught up with these leading companies ahead of the fair to find out about the latest trends and focuses of inspection within the food industry. Minebea Intec also weigh in with their insights. Interlinking trends
Peter Golz, deputy managing director, VDMA Nahrungsmittelmaschinen und Verpackungsmaschinen, highlights four main drivers of inspection for the meat industry: avoiding food fraud, establishing reliability to the customer, food safety, and automation. “These four trends are interlinked,” he comments. “The core issue is to get the complete supply chain under control, from farm to fork. This has much to do with the organisation of logistic processes. For example, you have to form virtual batches as small as possible to track down sources of contamination while keeping related recalls small in quantity.
“If you want to avoid food fraud you might consider serialisation, which depends on batch formation to follow the product through processing lines. Based on these technologies you also will be able to allow the customer to reliably trace back the origin of the processed meat in his shopping cart. These trends will also push forward automation with in- and near-line inspection results linked to the respective small virtual batches.” Phil Brown, MD, Fortress Technology explains that traditionally, their equipment tended to sit end-of-line: “We are now seeing a push towards in-line inspection and an increase in demand to capture contaminants before they are too far down the process chain.” Packaging Europe | 27 |
For foreign body contamination the classic topics are still on the agenda: How to reliably detect small bone parts within processed products or how to discriminate plastic contaminations from meat? Dr Golz continues, “Progress in computing and interpreting data based on machine learning will enhance opportunities and might help to overcome economic limitations. I’m sure that we will see some progress on this issue at IFFA. This also should hold true for inline inspection for sealing defects; e.g. by vision systems. Further, the trend to fully automated systems will facilitate the implementation of these systems. “If it comes to quality inspection of processed meat, I expect that the focus will be on the laboratory side and the merging of information generated in laboratories with data from processing units. We see a trend in the food industry to get quality inspection tools available transportable or near-line. In research we have seen projects for in-line non-invasive quality determination like the texture or the water content by means of combination of different sensor-technologies. Today, this is not state-of-the-art but once available these technologies will open new opportunities to optimise meat processing.” Simon King, head of global sales, service and marketing, Eagle Product Inspection is increasingly witnessing a greater degree of production line consolidation in order to optimise assets. “This leads to demand for increased throughput rates, greater line efficiency, and a focus on OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), which leads to a demand for higher speeds and improved inspection results,” he remarks.
Widening materials: smaller scales Clients are looking to expand inspection to a widening range of materials and on increasingly smaller scales, from metal to glass and even plastic. “We are putting our energy and investment at the moment into detection technology,” Mr King says. “We can reliably find metal and bone for a customer, and now we can also find plastic. I think there will be a growth of hybrid systems in the near future – X-ray combined with vision systems, i.e. infra-red, in order to provide more complete solutions.”
Dr Peter Golz
At IFFA 2019, Fortress Technology will unveil how producers of low-profile meats can achieve high metal detection with the Interceptor DF. It is especially sensitive to ultra-thin metal contaminant flakes and foils that are difficult to detect on low profile, high value meats. To increase food safety, the Interceptor DF system addresses several previous limitations – notably orientation, size, geometry and position of metals. It’s especially reliable at detecting very thin flakes and foils that could be introduced in the mincing, grinding, cooking or slicing processes. Rather than scanning a select number of frequencies, the conveyor-style metal detector inspects raw and packaged products vertically and horizontally at the same time. The variety of foods and types of packaging that consumers can choose from these days is wider than ever. As a result, food and beverage producers find themselves confronted with a vast number of potential sources of error during production and so will have numerous specifications for each of these processes. With Dymond Bulk, Minebea Intec has developed an X-ray inspection system for bulk materials that enables efficient detection and elimination of all types of foreign objects when inspecting goods being fed into the production process ‘directly from the field’. Dymond Bulk provides excellent detection performance with raw materials such as vegetables, nuts, dried fruits or cereals. Minebea Intec will soon be introducing its latest developments in side shooters for horizontal X-ray inspection: the Dymond D and a new version of its Dymond S. Compared to previously available systems, these advanced developments offer the user improved performance for more throughput or higherdensity products as well as simplified integration into production lines. The new systems are designed for the reliable inspection of tins, Tetra Paks and other tall, upright packaging made from glass, metal or plastic. Both developments have been designed by Minebea to help cut the amount of plastic packaging in the food industry in favour of more environmentally friendly materials: “Our new X-ray inspection systems should open the industry up to more design possibilities for products, packaging materials and container sizes, without jeopardising consumer safety,” says Thorsten Vollborn.
Food waste Ciaran Murphy, quality inspection control business manager for EMEA, Ishida, adds that both retailers and consumers alike are focused on food waste – driving the trend towards greater control within the production line. “Checkweighers can help combat food waste by weighing food products and ensuring there is not either too much or not enough. Inspection can also check for foreign bodies within the process and ensure food is not discarded on a batch level. Checking MAP activity and detecting leaks is also vital to ensure products maintain their expected shelf-life, another way we can help fight against food waste.” Ishida introduced a leak detection solution for MAP products a couple of years ago. Since then, it has been optimising the laser which is the heart of the platform and pushing the boundaries of speed expectations.
Learning from pharma Eagle’s Simon King comments that full traceability and linking data across the supply chain is important from the manufacturing plant all the way to injecting a drug into the patient’s arm. He sees this ethos bleeding into the food industry, cementing the idea of farm to fork. “Currently the food industry is more orientated towards batch traceability and is not focused at individual item levels – yet. X-ray has real value in capturing images and generating unique identifiers; for example, a serialisation code for a database that provides traceability throughout a supply chain. We are seeing the food arena moving in this direction.” Eagle Product Inspection has very recently launched an X-ray platform which seeks to deliver high inspection capabilities all the way from instruction to the software and interfacing systems, to the mechanical hardware. By integrating clients’ detector technology to find smaller contaminants and run fast, Eagle Product Inspection aims to combine to give the best of both worlds with a view to eliminating false rejections. Ishida’s Ciaran Murphy adds that the pharmaceutical industry is driven by regulatory bodies rather than the end user. “The hot topic is block-
chain traceability, from the farm to the fork. This is following a very similar direction towards what the pharma industry has been doing well for a considerable amount of time now.” Ishida has a number of IDCS data packages for checkweighers to monitor production and improve efficiency. Data capture and regular verification can help assist with market compliance.
Down the supply chain Some of the large food retailers are delivering far more exacting quality expectations- which in turn are being pushed back through the supply chain. Simon King explains this is presenting a major challenge for equipment providers and driving the need to deliver higher performance. Retailers cannot afford a recall or contaminant issue, “We’ve seen the consequences of that many times,” underlines Simon King. Brand protection and food safety are the predominant factors. Last year, a nationwide crisis in Australia saw its multi-million dollar strawberry industry suffer financial losses after needles were found in the fruit. “There is always an element of contaminant risk: this malicious attack is probably one of the hardest examples to address,” Phil Brown believes. “We were involved in helping to resolve this issue and supplied our equipment. How you apply the equipment to maximise finding contaminants is key.” It’s important to minimise risk as much as possible. Ishida’s Ciaran Murphy adds that the demands regulators and retailers are placing on food producers trickles down the chain towards the equipment providers. “Retailers still carry out independent audits and historically these used to be very prescriptive – for example indicating exactly where a food producer needs to install a metal detector on a production line. “M&S has recently moved towards providing guidance rather than a prescriptive code of practice. I think a lot of retailers will move in this direction.” Ishida is seeing its role as moving from providing equipment towards partnering with food producers to offer consultancy. Packaging Europe | 29 |
NESTLÉ LAUNCHES INSTITUTE OF PACKAGING SCIENCES
In December last year, Nestlé announced the creation of a new Institute of Packaging Sciences, which it says will be dedicated to the discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging. We asked what makes this initiative significant, and which technological challenges it will be looking to address.
ike most of the leading global brand owners, Nestlé has committed to the New Plastics Economy gold standard of 100 per cent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and the announced inauguration of the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences has naturally provoked interest in the concrete steps it will take to meet these goals. “The creation of this institute builds on our actions in recent years, which have aimed at minimising the environmental impact of our packaging,” a Nestlé spokesperson told Packaging Europe. “It will discover and develop new packaging materials in terms of safety, environmental impact and functionality, in close collaboration with other parts of Nestlé Research – for example in the fields of safety and analytics.” The institute, which forms part of Nestlé’s global research organisation, will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The company says it will employ around 50 people, including around 20 new positions, and include a state-of-the-art laboratory complex as well as facilities for rapid prototyping. It will be working closely with academic partners, start-ups and suppliers, testing new materials in various product categories before they are rolled out across Nestlé’s global portfolio.
Tackling waste One of the key issues Nestlé says the Institute will be facing is that of plastic waste, for which it will be delivering “highly-performing environmentally friendly | 30 | Packaging Europe
packaging solutions.” Focus areas for research will include recyclable, biodegradable or compostable polymers, functional paper, as well as new packaging concepts and technologies to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging. But as we know, the issue of plastic waste is a complex one. We’ve written extensively about the tension between stopping plastic waste from entering the natural environment without losing the high resource efficiency this material provides. With that in mind, we were interested to know whether Nestlé, through the Institute, will be looking to find a solution to this, or whether it will be taking an agnostic stance on the wide variety of possible approaches. “We believe there is an urgent need to minimise the impact of packaging on the environment,” said the company spokesperson. “However, as plastic packaging plays an important role in safely delivering food and drinks to consumers and reducing food loss and waste, we need to carefully consider all possible alternatives. Due to the varying nature of the infrastructure and systems around the world, including recycling, we are taking a pragmatic approach to identifying areas to take specific, targeted action with the countries in which we operate. “Our long-term vision is that none of our product packaging, including plastics, should end up in landfill or as litter, including in the seas, oceans and waterways.” Of course, the current controversy surrounding the use of plastic is not the only big issue facing the industry today. As the marketplace changes and
new retail channels emerge, it is prompting retailers to think in new ways about their packaging. Adapting packaging for e-commerce, rising to the opportunities of social media engagement with digitally printed customisation and providing greater supply chain transparency are just three of the other big challenges that researchers may have to engage with.
Collaboration As mentioned above, cross-industry collaboration is set to feature highly in the Institute’s activities. Nestlé says it will be working closely with everyone from its global R&D network and academic partners to suppliers and start-ups to “come up with cutting-edge science that will enable us to deliver a pipeline of highly performing environmentally friendly packaging solutions.” To give just one example, Nestlé is currently working with industry partners Danone and Origin Materials on the NaturALL Bottle Alliance, a US start-up focused on the development of a PET water bottle made from 100 per cent renewable materials. The first results of the Institute’s work are expected to be released by mid2019, at which time we will no doubt take the opportunity to revisit the company and discuss its progress.
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STAND-UP POUCHES SHIFT SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS The stand-up pouch market has rocketed – prominently within the food sector, where the packaging type holds a number of stand-out properties addressing issues such as food waste. According to the Smithers Pira ‘the future of pouch packaging to 2021’ report, global pouch packaging consumption was projected at just over 324 billion units in 2016. It is forecast to grow during the period 2016–2021 at an annual rate of 4.7 per cent to 407 billion units. A shift from light weighting to recyclability
ouches became a popular choice swept along by the trend of light weighting and a move away from heavier alternatives such as metal cans and glass containers. However, a turn in the tide towards the trend of recyclability has shone an intense light on the downside to pouches developed for the market in the past. Libby White spoke to RPC bpi protec, Mondi and Ampacet to discover how pouch developers are meeting current concerns and reimagining pouches towards sustainability goals. The pouch has many advantages as a form of packaging, which Claudia Feldgitscher-Ruess, head of product development at the Austrian Mondi plant in Korneuburg highlights, “Pouches are convenient, for example they are easy and light to carry from the supermarket to the home. These properties also give advantages for transportation and logistical efficiency- and translate well into e-commerce applications with regards to product preservation and protection. Easy-opening solutions can be applied- meaning consumers do not need any exterior tools to open the packaging. To help combat food waste, pouches offer single-serve portions and reclosable zippers or seals. They also eliminate odours
during storage. On top of this, the pouch offers shelf appeal and consumers can see the actual contents through transparent films. “A great example of a pouch application is for baby food- you can easily rip the pouch to access the contents, the packaging will not break and can be stored in a bag, and also the baby can hold a single-serve snack themselves.” The current issue however in the face of the industry is obvious. A strong focus on plastic waste is shifting the development of the pouch solution, and causing developers to optimise their previous offerings. Julie Eller, sales director, consumer products at RPC bpi protec comments, “Push back against the popularity of pouches is due to the change in focus from light weighting to recyclability. Traditionally, the materials used for pouches have been mixed and unrecyclable. The market is now questioning itself- what was a great idea a few years ago now has some downsides.” Judith Wronn, senior communication manager, Mondi Consumer Packaging weighs in on the shift in focus, “Our customers are facing increasing pressures. We believe flexible plastic packaging is ideal for specific applications when it is intelligently designed- that is the key aspect.” Packaging Europe | 33 |
Optimising solutions The industry is focused on developing sustainable solutions in a competitive market which still provide the advantages of previous offerings. One of Mondi’s latest solutions is the BarrierPack Recyclable- a fully recyclable solution constructed by two layers of polyethylene film- which provides a gas barrier that greatly extends the laminate’s breadth of potential applications. Claudia Feldgitscher-Ruess sums up: “High barrier pouches are the way forward- increasing shelf life and reducing food waste addresses sustainability concerns.” Ampacet has focused on developing special masterbatch solutions to enable new material constructs to meet previous demands. Francois Thibeau, strategic business manager, Ampacet shares, “We have developed special UV barrier solutions for transparent packaging as consumers like to see the packed contents. Fatty products such as peanuts, delicatessen products etc are sensitive to UV light so a transparent pouch or window needs to provide protection. Our special masterbatch called UV block is designed for polyethylene and BOPP films. We have also developed solutions which mimic closely the aesthetics of aluminium foil. This allows the pouch manufacturers to minimise thickness without detriment to the shelf appeal.” RPC bpi protec has positioned itself to offer a solution that can fulfil all the prophecies of laminate and non-recyclable pouches- but is also recyclable. It most recently launched the X-EnviroPouch as an environmentally-sustainable alternative to the traditional Doy sealed pouch. The single layer co-ex film solution means that further energy is saved as there is no requirement for lamination. This in turn can offer a reduction in lead times as traditional laminates require an extended curing time. Julie Eller enthuses, “We have taken a close look at the criteria we need to fulfil- moisture barrier for sensitive products, oxygen barrier, stand up (and out) on shelf which traditionally relies on the strong polyester material, haptics, and forming effectively on a machine (which also previously relied heavily on a strong polyester material).” To address the scope of mechanically forming pouches Ampacet has introduced new products which allow for smooth production. LAMSLIP 754 is | 34 | Packaging Europe
a specific masterbatch for example which has been designed in order to solve some well-known problems existing in the industry. “The problem with laminating polyethylene films and PET to make pouches is the consistency in slip properties before and after lamination,” Francois Thibeau says. “This masterbatch has been developed to allow predictable and consistent low friction and good slip properties, allowing pouch manufacturers to produce films with low COF of 0.2. Being highly efficient at low addition rate, it limits converting and packing problems typically linked to fluctuating slip properties of the packaging film and prevents efficiency losses during automatic packaging process. This innovative masterbatch technology reduces the quantity of offspecification and scrapped films and decreases the risk of claims from converters and end-users that makes it a reliable solution for laminated packaging and pouch applications.”
Towards closed loop The packaging industry strives towards closed loop models and companies such as Ampacet divulge they are close to launching products designed for favouring circular economy models for high barrier packaging. Julie Eller highlights the next step of RPC bpi protec’s focus. “We have been working alongside our customers towards a closed loop model. With our recyclable films, industrial waste can be collected from our customers and recycled into a resin we have established called Sustane. We have developed a 100 per cent recyclable shrink film made of 30 per cent PCR. We look towards expanding the possibilities of this resin in the near future.” Although RPC bpi protec is striving to address sustainability concerns – Julie Eller underlines the responsibility of the industry is to deliver packaging that is recyclable – a comprehensive plan is needed from governments and authorities to support a holistic approach for the industry. Mondi is also focused on providing solutions that reduce plastic waste and is taking steps to close the gaps in the circular economy such as minimising material and energy usage, and towards a closed loop system. As Judith Wronn concludes: “Pouches are part of the solution.”
E-COMMERCE: FUNCTIONAL CHALLENGES FOR CORRUGATED In our previous edition we explored the brand engagement opportunities around corrugated packaging (and had a great deal of fun exploring them with our #unboxingEurope experiment). This month we’ve invited two industry insiders to share their insights into the functional requirements posed by the direct-to-consumer channel. Right-Sizing Carsten Dickmann, marketing director Europe, Packsize GmbH ccording to a popular saying it is the thrill of anticipation which is the best pleasure. That is something e-commerce does for customers. But what happens if this triggered happiness is destroyed because of a received package that contains a damaged product? A negative unboxing event often goes along with a negative brand experience. Apparently, the consumer will be unsatisfied and the number of returns for the retailer keeps growing. Currently, 30 per cent of items ordered online are returned and 20 per cent of all returns are caused by damaged products. Why is that? A common and simple reason for that is that the respective goods have not been shipped in suitable boxes. Most of the time there is far too much air and space in the box, which destabilises the package and leaves room for products falling and moving around.
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To cope with that problem, a lot of companies try to safeguard their ordered products with lots of filler material or plastic bubble wrap. Obviously, this is a way to reduce damage, but it is also vital today for packaging to address the problem of environmental pollution, which has resulted in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and indeed pollution across all the world’s oceans. Furthermore, void fillers and freight volumes cost money and even if companies are not primarily eco-sensitive, their customers are probably increasingly so. But what can be done to get online orders to customers’ homes safely and thereby reduce the return rate as well as the amount of plastic waste at the same time? In a world where e-commerce and the respective freight costs are constantly growing, these issues should be tackled in a sustainable way. What if an appropriate and tailor-made box for every product to be delivered home could be produced each time when needed? The risk of damage caused by shaking inside the box would be reduced heavily, the use of void fillers could be minimised, and space and freight volume in trucks would decrease, leading to faster order shipments and lower freight costs. Technology such as that offered by Packsize enables producers and fulfilment agencies to create right-sized cardboard boxes just in time for each product to be shipped. For delicate goods, the packaging design could even be adapted (e.g. double creasings or edge protections). That way, the number of returns would decrease significantly and customer satisfaction would rise at the same time.
CMC’s Cartonpack was an early example of leveraging automation technology to meet the variable size demands of e-commerce fulfilment.
Innovation for tomorrow’s supply chain Santiago Soria, E-Commerce Right Size Packaging business development manager, DS Smith he e-commerce supply chain is evolving at a rapid pace, with large e-retailers investing heavily in last-mile delivery innovations, including drones and robots, that could change the face of online shopping. However, current packaging performance within the supply chain is far from optimised – either for the existing 50 touchpoint e-commerce journey that a typical product endures, or for compatibility with delivery methods of the future. E-commerce packaging today is often too large, with half-empty packages resulting in products not being properly protected throughout the supply chain and excess waste for consumers to dispose of. For example, our 2018 Black Friday research found that one in ten products ordered online during the annual sale would arrive damaged, with a third arriving to the consumer unusable. Consumer research has demonstrated that over a third of shoppers who have bought something online are concerned by excess packaging and 15 per cent worry about how to recycle packaging – leading many brands to take action. Many online retailers have turned to alternative, more sustainable materials such as corrugated card to make recycling easier. Some have also taken steps to reduce empty space within their packages ahead of the introduction of Amazon’s certified Frustration-Free Packaging scheme later this year. However, there is more work to be done to boost packaging performance and ensure it is fir for purpose now and in the future.
E-commerce of the future The popularity and convenience of online shopping is changing the e-commerce supply chain – driving efforts to make deliveries easier, quicker and more automated. This approach saw the world’s first robot delivery service launched in Milton Keynes, England, in late 2018. Initially tested in London and California, the compact robots use existing road and pavements to navigate road crossings to deliver food to a consumer’s address. Amazon has also comprehensively tested autonomous delivery drones since 2016 and continues to explore innovative delivery methods including robots. But it’s clear that these forward-thinking methods present challenges for brands and their product packaging. By adapting the supply chain to allow for robot and drone deliveries, packaging will need to be even more compact, lightweight and offer more protection than the average package delivered today. In addition, cross-border shipping is rapidly increasing and in this case the supply chain is more demanding, so e-commerce packaging will have to be able to survive these tougher environments. This will also see brands continue
to deliver their products at the total convenience of their customers through the newest and most innovative delivery methods.
Packaging innovation Leading packaging experts and brands are already looking to the future and producing innovations that are compatible with the future of home delivery. At DS Smith we’ve developed a technology that can recommend the optimal number of different boxes, and their sizes, based on a brand’s most frequent order combination to ensure the packaging is the right fit for the products it contains. The eBox Range Optimiser is a unique tool that can significantly reduce void fill, excess material, shipping air and the amount of goods damaged during delivery – and therefore returns. By optimising the size of the packaging, more boxes can be fitted into a standard single shipment and help brands to revaluate their packaging approach so that it’s fit for the future. This also presents savings in operational costs as the box suite is optimised. Packaging size is, however, only one challenge – protecting the product throughout its journey from the manufacturer to consumer is another. Due to the number of routes a package can take, it’s important to consider the knocks and bumps it will encounter, and ensure that packaging can offer adequate protection so the product arrives in good condition. Simulating a brand’s e-commerce supply chain and touchpoints, the DS Smith DISCS testing laboratory consists of five pieces of equipment, each replicating a part of the product journey to test e-retailers’ packaging. The tests can be adjusted to reflect real world conditions, helping brands adapt their packaging to provide optimal protection. Named after the types of testing (Drop, Impact, Shake, Crush and Shock), the Drop element tests whether a package can survive a careless delivery, with the package dropped from varying heights. The Impact test looks at what happens if a heavy object hits the package on the conveyor or in a truck. The Shake test is making sure that the package is optimised for diverse transport methods, mirroring the package’s experience in the back of a moving vehicle. With the Crush element, whether the package can handle the pressure of bad stacking techniques is explored. And finally, the Shock tests mirrors what it’s like what if the package is thrown around, for example into the back of a van. Innovative delivery technologies are on the horizon, and the next decade will see a fundamental shift in the way our online orders are delivered. But regardless of the delivery method, reducing empty space and ensuring that products are protected throughout their journey will be the key priorities for brands and packaging suppliers. Getting this right now will put manufacturers in the best possible place to meet whatever the future might deliver. Packaging Europe | 37 |
THE FUTURE OF ENERGY EFFICIENT PRODUCTION Elisabeth Skoda looks at the ways in which Industry 4.0 and smart solutions have helped companies become more energy efficient and keep track of what happens at their production sites.
dopting Industry 4.0 into a packaging line can bring many benefits, from better data management to improved efficiency. Smart packaging lines can improve traceability, uptime and quality, while reducing running costs and total cost of ownership. “Benefits come from having an integrated component and control platform which allows seamless exchange of data between devices and the control system. Having access to this component level data is a key enabling factor to realise the benefits of an Industry 4.0 system,” observes Daniel Rossek, regional marketing manager at Omron.
Getting a clearer picture Energy efficiency has become a growing concern, but the challenge is to monitor how much energy is being used on individual machines, as Mr Rossek points out. | 38 | Packaging Europe
“We usually start in the areas known to have high energy consumption, including any connective processes, where there is a lot of movement. Heating, cooling, conveyors, refrigeration, freezing and frying also tend to be energy intensive. We then use low cost equipment to monitor this, giving customers insights into their energy consumption and enabling them to make informed decisions.” Especially on older equipment, available data is typically just binary. Either the machine is working or not, the sensor can detect something or not. Inefficiencies often arise when systems are not integrated together and work in isolation, which amounts to bad housekeeping, as Mr Rossek explains. “There is often no granular information that could for example indicate that a machine is operating at less than full capacity because of increasing wear on the motor bearings or because an optical sensor is getting dirty. Capturing data electronically and making sure that it is logged correctly and not just scribbled on a piece of paper constitutes an important step. If the data is already being
captured by the equipment, connecting the machine to higher level IT domain or analytical is key.” Once the basic data capture process is place, it is then possible to start analysing the data to check efficiency and to identify potential bottlenecks in the process. It will also be possible to monitor device condition, permitting preventative maintenance. “Incorporating these principles, Omron’s ‘i-Automation’ concept aims to provide customers with intelligent, integrated and interactive solutions through the digitalisation of manufacturing. Because the system is completely linked, the data collected can be analysed to help overall system control. A key part of the Industry 4.0 future, smart data allows a system’s production rates to be tailored to meet actual demand shifting from the traditional ‘pushproduction’ approach of many industries to one of ‘pull-production’. Smart data also means problems can be detected, analysed and located in a timely fashion, allowing operators to determine the best maintenance schedule and minimise downtime,” Mr Rossek says.
Valuable insights Digital industrial transformation can help with big gains in productivity, availability and longevity. In order to facilitate this, GE Digital has developed Predix, a cloudbased operating system which connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. Senior solutions director and Predix apps & platform expert Lennart Christensson explains that the solution works especially well for the industrial space to securely collect data from a machine and store it in the cloud, where it can then be used for analysis. “Many customers in the industrial space don’t have programming skills,” he remarks. “In order to help them, we created an asset performance management system that is more of a software service. Different elements and different functions can be easily accessed. The solution is customisable for individual customers.” Mr Christensson highlights the fact that everything is combined into one asset-centric solution, as having separate, siloed systems which don’t interact can be problematic: “Our system includes information not just on machine data, but also data on how much time was spent on replacing a spare part.” Detailed performance measuring can help with getting a handle on energy waste. “Predix offers the capability to measure uptime and failures on machines which results in being able to exactly pinpoint energy consumption,” says Mr Christensson. “We can take information from the site to find out what product is being produced and then tie it in with energy consumption for that specific product. This helps the customer to improve their maintenance and energy footprint.”
already have and not run it to failure. With a digital system, you can find out if there a problem before it occurs, and, for example, order spare parts before they fail.”
Making a complex process transparent Jürgen Kerner, head of operations, Corporate IT at Mayr-Melnhof Karton AG, highlights that large efficiency gains can be made at the macro level and explains how the company achieved this by using Elasticsearch, a distributed, JSON-based search and analytics engine designed for horizontal scalability, reliability, and easy management. “Cardboard manufacture is a complex, organic process,” Mr Kerner remarks. “Efficiency is about maintaining quality, especially fibre length, with the minimum input of chemicals and minimum wastage. Minimising resource usage and the embedded carbon in key chemical constituents, cutting down production times and reducing wastage: this is where the real energy savings, cost savings and efficiencies can be found.” In the past, much of the relevant data was locked into individual control systems. Mayr-Melnhof Karton had detailed operational data on each part of the production process with no way to stitch it together. “We took an IT search system that is often used to optimise efficiency and manage data centres, and we applied this to our operational data,” Mr Kerner continues. “Elasticsearch is an open source technology which is built to handle large volumes of data in different formats. It allows the user to search across this disparate data and look for trends, patterns and potential efficiency gains. Of course, ERP systems allow you combine control system data into a predefined module and give you some overview. But Elasticsearch allowed us to really explore our process data, look for new trends and relationships and visualise this in straightforward dashboards which can be given to everyone from the shop floor to the boardroom.” The introduction of this new tool brought several benefits to Mayr-Melnhof Karton, as Mr Kerner points out: “Detection of manufacturing inefficiencies was reduced from days to seconds,” he says. “We received self-service data intelligence for non-technical users, offering machine operators new insights into cardboard product KPIs such as chemical and moisture. We also were able to optimise our usage of raw materials, and lowered consumption of high-cost materials during production by 20 per cent with the same output. We were able to keep our costs low thanks to an efficient use of materials and improved production speed.”
Only replacing what’s necessary Mr Christensson points out that many businesses overmaintain and spend money where it is not necessary. “Digital solutions can help to get a better understanding of processes,” he observes. “Our software offers a closed loop and enables customers to change their strategy, and then get feedback on the impact of that change. It also allows a template approach, creating a blueprint for future reference. It is much more energy efficient to use the equipment you Packaging Europe | 39 |
FROM PRE-FILLED SYRINGES TO COMBI-FILLING Pre-filled syringes have become a preferred format, as they make it easier to handle drugs and increase dosing accuracy. In addition, the ongoing biopharmaceutical boom has promoted the growth of the pre-filled syringe market. At the same time, other pre-sterilised packaging types are also on the rise, posing new challenges for pharmaceutical companies. Accordingly, machine manufacturers are working at fever pitch to offer new, more flexible solutions and are presenting pioneering results – according to Klaus Ullherr, senior product manager at Bosch Packaging Technology
comparison to conventional packaging, pre-filled syringes not only offer ease of use and more precise dosing: modern pre-filled syringes are also characterised by reduced product loss, which is a major advantage when it comes to expensive biopharmaceuticals. These highly individual products, used for instance to treat autoimmune disorders, can best be administered in liquid form using syringes.
Processing: a high degree of automation As manufacturing becomes more and more automated, manual handling on the part of human operators, and subsequently the chief cause of particulate and bacterial contamination, can be reduced to a minimum. The fully automatic opening of sterile syringe packages has been a standard requirement for new filling lines for some time. Moreover, isolators are becoming increasingly common. They consistently separate the aseptic area from its surroundings. Inprocess controls are also an important factor in further improving the quality of the filling process. Currently the focus is on determining the filling weight, and on monitoring the presence of the stopper. In the future, there is likely to be more emphasis on additionally checking the quality of the packaging directly before filling. Is the silicone seal intact? Is the safety cap present and still in the correct position? If the answer is no, faulty syringes can be sorted out before the filling process, thus reducing product loss. Highly automated filling machines with flexible handling units allow syringes to be precisely removed from the nest. As a result, individual syringes can be fed into an integrated inspection station. Further, methods are now available for checking the thickness and distribution of the silicone layer within the syringe. This ensures that the stopper can glide smoothly, which is particularly important for syringes used in auto-injectors. In this context, it is worth mentioning that more and more silicone-free systems are becoming available for plastic syringes. There have also been reports of silicone-free stoppers for glass syringes, which open the door for silicone-free glass systems.
Filling and closing: various methods The use of single-use filling systems is increasingly being discussed in connection with pre-filled syringes in the pharmaceutical industry. This approach does away with the need to clean and validate the components that come into | 40 | Packaging Europe
contact with the product, which is especially cost-intensive for biotechnological products. In this regard peristaltic pumps are enjoying renewed popularity, since they never touch the material to be filled. This also considerably improves machine availability, as there is no need for time-intensive CIP/SIP (cleaning in place, sterilising in place) processes. Once the filling process has been completed, a vent tube is used to close the syringe with a stopper. Due to the biotech boom, coated stoppers are becoming increasingly common. Yet their coating makes them less suited for this method. Vacuum stopper insertion offers an alternative: a vacuum is created inside the syringe, sucking the stopper into place. Though this more complex approach compresses the stopper to a minor extent, it does not allow the stopper to be placed as precisely as with the vent tube insertion method. Depending on the respective requirements for precise stoppering and the desired residual air-bubble size, the output can also be affected.
New packaging types on the rise There is no stopping the trend toward pre-filled syringes. Countless new projects are based on pre-sterilised syringes – and not just for small batches, but also for high-output lines. Yet other pre-sterilised packaging types are slowly but surely changing from niche products to appealing alternatives for pharmaceutical companies. Manufacturers of primary packaging made of glass – and in the meantime also plastic – are contributing to this change, for example by developing pre-sterilised, ready-to-fill vials and cartridges. Here the main distinction is made between nest and tray systems: trays are especially intended for use with classic bulk filling machines. Nests can normally be used with machines for syringe processing including automated bag and tub opening, though some adjustments may be necessary, depending on the packaging geometry, material and structure. The broad range of resulting packing formats will confront machine manufacturers and pharmaceutical producers alike with major challenges. In this regard, initiatives like the standardisation work done at the ISO would be desirable.
Still no standard method Another aspect that is now being intensively discussed is the infeed of presterilised packaging types. Though the e-beam has long been the standard
solution for decontaminating tubs in high-output lines with isolators, it is generally considered too large for smaller lines. Alternatives currently being explored include tunnels or locks used in combination with plasma, UV light, nitrogen dioxide or hydrogen peroxide. However, none has established itself as standard yet. Aseptic transfer is possible with Restricted Access Barrier Systems (RABS) or with isolator applications, provided a suitable fully automatic bag opener is used, combined with spray disinfection of the bag. In this regard, double bagging for added safety is becoming more common. The more packaging types that can be filled and closed on a single machine, the more space-saving it is for users. This is possible thanks to new combi-machines for flexibly processing various types of primary packaging. By integrating both filling and capping station in a single unit, there is no need for a second machine. Further, the compatibility with various filling systems is a prerequisite for new filling and closing machines. In this regard, combi-filling stations, which can be easily reconfigured to accommodate diverse filling systems without taking up more space, have quickly proven their value. They allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to adapt filling processes to their respective medications and packaging types, while ensuring that all filling systems are in the sterile area.
Higher efficiency, more individualisation Given how costly biopharmaceutical drugs are, efficient filling methods are a priority. The key is to keep product loss to an absolute minimum, and the latest filling technologies deliver almost complete product yield. Here, the focus is above all on the start-up and emptying process steps. A statistical or 100 per cent in-process control (IPC) during production ensures that all containers leave the machine with exactly the desired amount of liquid. In light of the trend towards product individualisation, customer-specific, flexible solutions are also taking on a new importance. Clinical studies in particular require the highest-possible flexibility in a very compact space, which can, for instance, be achieved by combining manual, partly and fully automated processes, together with different packaging types. In this case, the infeed can be either manual or semi-automated so as to accommodate the new variety of packaging types, especially with regard to the outer packaging. In turn, the filling is fully automated. To ensure that the individual work steps can be adapted to future types of packaging, the use of robots is advisable, for example for transporting packages from one station to the next. Adding a reserve station at some point in the future is also worth considering.
Combi machine for syringes, vials and cartridges (ÂŠ Bosch)
Complete line concepts What pharmaceutical producers expect from their systems or lines can vary considerably, depending on their respective therapeutic area, region, or company size. Yet they all share a focus on ensuring the best-possible protection for the product and their machine operators. Accordingly, new filling and closing machines are as a rule characterised by a high degree of automation, and equipped with either RABS or isolators. When they are used with upstream automatic tub and bag openers, and in combination with downstream process steps like inspection, plunger-rod insertion and labeling, the result is a complete filling and closing line â€“ and in the near future, not just for pre-filled syringes, but increasingly for other pre-sterilised containers, too.
Packaging Europe | 41 |
DISCUSSING TODAY’S CRITICAL ISSUES The current economic climate has created a challenging environment whilst also redefining possibilities for businesses and competitors. With a major shift in consumer demand, there is a need for retail, brand and supplier companies to change and adapt. To this end, marketing strategies are being refined across the industry, in a bid to keep pace with ever more selective consumer behaviour. PACE (Packaging and Converting Executive Forum) offers a meeting point for brand owners and innovative solution providers to focus on the latest technology, best practice and innovations that are set to transform the future of the industry. This year’s PACE will take place in Amsterdam on 13–14 March.
uest speaker Eric Kaddari, packaging team leader at McBride, talks to Packaging Europe about his appearance at PACE, outlining how smart packaging solutions can help with recycling technologies, and highlighting industry developments in the area of smart packaging and sustainability for household products.
Why did you choose to particulate in PACE? PACE has a long, well established history which makes it an ideal forum to meet potential and new customers and partners and of course to showcase our latest developments and innovations for the household packaging market. McBride has ramped up its sustainability efforts, and at PACE, will announce the use of recycled polyethylene in a significant number of household products within McBride in Belgium and beyond. | 42 | Packaging Europe
What potential do you see for smart packaging? It is becoming increasingly clear that a key challenge when including recycled materials in packaging is a lack of available recycled materials, which is directly at odds with EU directives requiring an increase in the percentage of recycled materials within packaging products. Recyclers have the capacity to recycle more, so we have to find a way to boost the amount of available recyclates and avoid bottles slipping through the net, for example because a sleeve prevents them from being recognised as recyclable. Smart packaging technologies can help with this, and for me, the best smart technologies are simple ones, involving tags being placed on the bottle itself which can be read by camera systems. These tags just contain a simple code that can be read by camera systems. Technologies such as digital watermarking are on track to boost the amount of available recyclates. There are further exciting applications for these
tags in combination with the smart devices we all have in our lives nowadays, containing information about the bottlesâ€™ content or instructions about how to recycle them.
What sustainability initiatives would you like to highlight? At PACE, McBride is announcing the launch of bottles with 50 per cent recycled content that are soon going to be rolled out for several customers across Europe. With a packaging sustainable focus we as a private label company are ready to introduce recycled material RPE/RPP. However, the complete roll out remains a commitment between producers and sellers. In addition, the company introduced bottles with perforation at the sleeve to make them easier to remove and therefore enhance recyclability. Furthermore, we removed the masterbatch for sleeved bottles, i.e. the pigment in the bottle to further boost recyclability. These are quite major steps for household packaging, which has somewhat lagged behind other areas such as food packaging. McBride has also expanded its sustainability efforts to doypacks â€“ McBride recently received an award for a doypack made with mono materials. We are developing doypacks both with mono materials and recycled materials. It would be easy to assume that the cost of recyclates is cheaper than virgin material, but in fact recyclate is more expensive. Customers are often keen to launch their packaging with recycling content, but the extra cost can be problematic. Nonetheless, there is great interest and commitment out there.
Packaging Europe | 43 |
CIRCULARITY PARTNERSHIPS ENCIRCLING THE PLANET A common denominator in several of the recent circular economy collaborations we have reported on is the France-headquartered waste management giant Veolia. In addition to its bilateral initiatives with Unilever and Tetra Pak, Veolia was a signatory to the Alliance to End Plastic Waste organisation, launched in January. Tim Sykes interviewed Laurent Auguste, Veolia’s senior EVP, development innovation & markets.
October last year, Unilever and Veolia unveiled an international collaboration partnership to help create a circular economy on plastics. The work will focus on implementing used packaging collection solutions, adding recycling capacity and developing new processes and business models. | 44 | Packaging Europe
“There is intense pressure for a brand like Unilever to recycle more of its plastic packaging and it has published global commitments,” Laurent Auguste told Packaging Europe. “To realise its 2025 commitments, collaboration across the value chain is essential to achieve the various requirements: you
need the technology for recycling, but before this there’s a need for adequate collection and sorting infrastructure. Should a brand wait for infrastructure or should it be proactive?” Increasingly, leading stakeholders in the packaging value chain are choosing the latter option. The month following the Unilever announcement, Veolia joined forces with Tetra Pak in a partnership that will see PolyAl extracted from beverage cartons and converted into raw materials for applications within the plastic industry. It is claimed that the initiative, which is projected to make Tetra Pak’s cartons fully recyclable in the EU by 2025 and will be rolled out globally, will double the overall value of used liquid cartons.
Reverse innovation The Unilever collaboration, by contrast, will have an initial focus on south and south east Asia with a view to applying the lessons it learns across more developed economies. The objectives of this initiative are on a broader scale, with the potential to transform the waste management landscape in some of the countries from which the most packaging waste is leaking into the oceans. Veolia and Hindustan Unilever will run pilot projects to identify solutions to improve the effectiveness of existing collection systems. Meanwhile, there will be work on introducing new recycling technologies in south east Asia, and connecting with other players in the value chain to find new solutions, potentially
including chemical recycling. As well as figuring out what’s required from a waste management point of view, the partnership will join the dots to consider eco-design that fits the emerging infrastructure. If south and south east Asia are in urgent need of waste management, the regions also serve as a kind of blank canvas on which better ideas can be devised. “This is a fantastic opportunity for reverse innovation,” Laurent observed. “We’re all very familiar with the various, established systems that are in place in Europe, where lots of items go in the recycling bin and some of them are sorted out for recycling at the sorting plant. In somewhere like Indonesia where there is little existing infrastructure we have an opportunity to think in a more disruptive way – to be closer to the consumer, to recognise the value of the material, and to involve the rest of the value chain. Perhaps we can come up with something that’s more cost efficient, because people are more involved in the sorting, and also more technologically efficient.” Lack of existing systems often makes less developed regions quicker to embrace new technologies that pioneer the way for the global North to follow. In particular, digital technologies may offer a powerful tool. “These countries could be the scene for interesting developments around digital platforms that engage and connect consumers with the value chain to create a more fluid and dynamic system that responds to the needs of the circular economy,” Laurent remarked. “A few years ago when I was in China Packaging Europe | 45 |
I found it took weeks to get a landline, but just minutes to get a cell phone – so of course many people skipped the landline and went straight to the cell phone. We might see a similar thing with collection and recycling in Asian countries: innovation emerging that leapfrogs what the so-called developed countries are doing and benefits the whole world.”
Pre-competitive More recently still, the Veolia name has appeared as one of thirty initial signatories to the cross value chain Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which has committed over a billion dollars to end plastic waste in the environment. The global Alliance is intended to develop and bring to scale solutions that minimise and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics by helping to enable a circular economy. This can be seen as a complementary initiative to the New Plastic Economy (of which Veolia is also a founding supporter): building upon NPE’s layer of policy pledges with concrete steps on the ground. The AEPW will partner with cities to design integrated waste management systems in large urban areas where infrastructure is lacking, especially those along rivers significantly associated with transporting plastic waste into the ocean. It will also fund The Incubator Network by Circulate Capital to develop and promote technologies and business models preventing ocean plastic waste and improving waste management. An open source, global information project will be developed to support waste management projects. The Alliance will also foster capacity building collaboration with intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations to conduct joint workshops and training for government officials and community-based leaders and support Renew Oceans to aid localised investment and engagement. “We need to mobilise all actors in the value chain,” Laurent said. “In addition to the brands and the recyclers, we need CEO-level involvement on the part of the plastics and petrochemical companies. The threats we face are global, and require systemic changes, which in turn necessitates a pre-competitive environment, in which competing brands, competing chemical companies, and competing waste management companies join forces.”
Public / private In the present time, when there is such European public concern about plastics, we see a curious mixture of regulatory pressure within Europe and initiatives driven by the private sector that can impact more directly on the parts of the planet most in need of waste management systems. “Regulation is essential for pushing the circular economy in the right direction,” Laurent observed. “However, civil society expects things faster than regulators can make them happen. So there’s also pressure on businesses to have a kind of licence to operate. In countries such as Indonesia it will be very interesting to see which direction they take. Will they emulate the European model of public sector EPR-type rules or will they opt for private sector-led initiatives? I’m tempted to think they should choose the second. You can always tax industry and raise some money, but can you guarantee that will be channelled into effective solutions? If you want the required speed and impact, there’s an opportunity to let the private sector come up with solutions and do things in a smarter way. With the right blend of pressure and incentives, we can mobilise and show new ways forward.” Amid a flurry of technological advances in design for recyclability, sorting and recycling, Laurent Auguste sees industry collaboration as the game-changing | 46 | Packaging Europe
innovation: the realisation that transformative change can be made and value shared when market leaders come together to figure out solutions. “We’ll only break out of the linear economy if we also break down the silos that we’ve built over time. We’re seeing this change in attitude taking place in plastics – and we need the same attitude across the whole of the circular economy.” As if ocean plastics weren’t a weighty enough challenge in and of itself, this achievement could have wider implications: “We need the same attitude shift in order to tackle climate change,” Laurent concluded. “Imagine the impact if we can send the message that we are able to mobilise ourselves – to change the game and make a difference.”
SMURFIT KAPPA BETTER PLANET PACKAGING DESIGN CHALLENGE 2019 The impact of plastic waste on the environment is a global challenge, and it requires a global response.
murfit Kappa believes that through innovation, collaboration, better design and partnerships we can build a more sustainable future. To this end, it has launched The Better Planet Packaging Initiative with the goal of reimagining and redefining packaging for a more sustainable world. As part of the initiative the company is launching the Smurfit Kappa Better Planet Packaging Design Challenge, the first of many projects planned for the coming months and years to start conversations and stimulate new thinking around sustainable packaging.
Challenging you The Design Challenge is open to designers, engineers, inventors and creative thinkers. Smurfit Kappa has set two specific challenges, and submissions are welcome for either, or indeed both. The objective of each is to find innovative paper-based alternatives to everyday non-biodegradable packaging.
Design Challenge 1: To develop an alternative solution to avoid plastic stretch wrap around pallets (stacks of boxes) to provide stability during transport and storage. Today when products are placed on a pallet they are wrapped with plastic stretch wrap for stability. While this is efficient and cost-effective, it creates waste, which potentially can end up as litter, or is not recyclable (incinerated). The challenge is to find a paper-based solution that is recyclable or reusable in the same collection system as paper-based packaging, while still delivering the same properties in terms of stability and efficiency.
Design Challenge 2: To develop a fully paper-based parcel with thermal protection for chocolate (as an example of a temperature sensitive product) for use in the e-commerce sales channel. Temperature sensitive products need to be packaged in a way that keeps the temperature low through transport (approximately six hours). Current solutions are in most cases made with materials that are difficult to recycle, such as EPS or cool packs. The challenge is to find a solution that will deliver the required temperature control but is renewable and kerbside recyclable in the paper
recycling system, ideally using wood fibre. Concepts can use various types, shapes and forms of paper-based materials – think of paper, corrugated, carton, honeycomb or pulp.
Leading by example These challenges invite creative thinking from many angles: there is no one solution. Below are two case studies of paper-based alternatives Smurfit Kappa’s designers have recently developed in-house to address these issues. Firstly, products with strong primary packaging such as plastic bottles are often packaged in shrink wrap to hold them together securely during transport and storage. Smurfit Kappa has developed a robust corrugated handhold for plastic olive oil bottles as an alternative to shrink wrap. In addition to the sustainability benefits, this highly visible handhold also provides a further branding opportunity. To take another example, Segafredo Zanetti were packing their coffee bags in white corrugated trays with plastic shrink film, which were unstable during transport with poor in-store visibility. Smurfit Kappa developed a 100 per cent recyclable, one-piece paper-based solution that enables the coffee to be transported securely and placed on the shelf in the same pack. Meanwhile, an eye-catching design with strong emotional appeal increases point-of-sale impact. Through reduced transport costs and faster packaging speeds, the new solution has delivered savings for Segafredo Zanetti, while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.
The prize Entries will be judged by an international panel of senior packaging experts from across Smurfit Kappa’s business including paper, corrugated, recycling and sustainability. The winning designers for each challenge will receive a prize of €8000 and the winning packaging concepts will be showcased at Smurfit Kappa’s Innovation event on 16th May 2019.
Register today To take part in the competition all participants must first register at smurfitkappa.com/designchallenge. The deadline for design submissions is 29th March 2019. Packaging Europe | 47 |
ON SECOND THOUGHTS... Sanjay Patel
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES Everyone should be alert to the dangers of simplistic reliance on headline metrics, argues Sanjay Patel, founding partner of the Packaging Collective.
ackaging is everywhere; on store shelves, in our homes, encasing our favourite products, on the streets, on the beaches, on the front pages, in the seas, in animals and even in us. Through its unprecedented success in protecting, preserving and presenting our products it has become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives. Without packaging, we couldnâ€™t have travelled to every corner of the globe, or even to the moon. Plastic packaging has become one of the key enablers of the societal, environmental and economic prosperity that so many of us enjoy today. Yet recent media coverage has resulted in plastic becoming almost universally vilified. Why has this happened given all the wonderful things they have helped us to achieve? The answer is simple. There is a lack of understanding in the value of packaging and even the environment, due to negative media coverage. Inevitably, the general population only has the information it is presented with through the media. We only see the negative unintended consequences of plastics that are shown on our screens. The truth is that packaging, whatever its design, does not throw itself to the ground and become litter to then be washed down storm drains and into the sea, no matter what the media may say. We must therefore as an industry tell the other side of the story, to help consumers understand the true value and impact of packaging, and there are a number of channels to explore to thoroughly unpack this complicated issue. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is one such channel that is highly effective in clearly quantifying the total environmental impact of a packaging solution, although it is complex when done correctly. Involving nine overall metrics, including fossil fuel consumption and heavy metal usage, it is in some ways comparable to the safety testing performed on a car. 130 small individual tests are carried out to form the standard vehicle safety test in the UK,
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ensuring that the car is roadworthy. These range from the obvious, such as a brake light, to far less visible but no less important issues. Passing one test alone does not prove the car is roadworthy; similarly, proving a piece of packaging is efficient in just one area of an LCA does not make for an environmentally friendly product. Given the complexity of a full LCA, only one area has been largely picked up in general communication and media coverage â€“ carbon dioxide emissions. This may be because it is easily understood by the general public, yet the heavy focus on CO2 means that even wider greenhouse gas emissions are being ignored. Methane, in particular, presents a huge threat to the environment, with the negative impact on global warming a staggering fourteen times greater than that of CO2. The sudden rise in compostable packaging, as a knee-jerk reaction to the vilification of plastics, could in fact result in a huge rise in methane as it is a significant by-product of composting. Though collected methane can be used as fuel, the reality is that companies are encouraging consumers to compost these new substrates at home, where there is no way to collect the resulting methane emissions. To help put this in perspective: in the UK, if you replaced 20 per cent of the volume used in PET containers, you would also need to collect 3.5 million tonnes of organic matter to act as a catalyst in starting the breakdown of that compostable packaging. It is clear that there is no silver bullet and far more analysis needs to be carried out across packaging substrates, which each present their own environmental issues when assessed with a true LCA. We must, therefore, play our part in balancing the benefits against eco-designs and reduction of packaging where possible. And we must all be accountable and take responsibility for reducing, reusing, recovering and recycling packaging, whatever our part in the supply chain, from producer to consumer.