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VOLUME 15.4 – 2020

VOYAGE INTO OCEAN PLASTICS

EXXPEDITION WITH MISSION DIRECTOR EMILY PENN COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS • PHYSICAL EVENTS TO DIGITAL • SYNTEGON INTERVIEW • SIDEL’S WIDER VIEW


Editor

Operations Director

Libby Munford

Amber Dawson

Senior Writer

Brand Director

Victoria Hattersley

Tim Sykes

Journalist

Sales Director

Elisabeth Skoda

Jesse Roberts

Editorial Assistant

Senior Sales Executive

Fin Slater

Dominic Kurkowski

Head of Studio

Sales Executives

Gareth Harrey

Alain Rizk Alex Cheung

Production Manager Rob Czerwinski

Advertising Coordinator Kayleigh Harvey

VOLUME 15.4 – 2020

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Senior Audience Development Executive Andrew Wood

IT Support

Audience Development Executive

Syed Hassan

Dominy Jones

Packaging Europe Ltd Part of the Rapid News Communications Group 9 Norwich Business Park, Whiting Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 6DJ, UK Registered Office: Carlton House, Sandpiper Way, Chester Business Park, Chester, CH4 9QE. Company No: 10531302. Registered in England. VAT Registration No. GB 265 4148 96 Telephone: +44 (0)1603 885000 Editorial: editor@packagingeurope.com Studio: production@packagingeurope.com Advertising: jr@packagingeurope.com Website: packagingeurope.com Facebook: facebook.com/PackagingEurope Twitter: twitter.com/PackagingEurope LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/company/packaging-europe YouTube: youtube.com/PackagingEurope

3 Editorial Libby Munford 4 Shifting the paradigm From physical events to digital 7 COVID-19 How has it impacted the industry? 11 eXXpedition Voyage into ocean plastics 15 Henkel interview Through the lens of 2020 19 Smurfit Kappa Assessing the paper-based alternative 22 The Wider View with Sidel Is PET packaging sustainable? 27 Syntegon New CEO looks to the future 32 On second thoughts... This too shall pass?

Š Packaging Europe Ltd 2020 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review, without prior consent of the publisher. ISSN 2516-0133 (Print) ISSN 02516-0141 (Online)

Front cover image courtesy of Sperry


EDITORIAL |

I

’ve become immune to the effects of buzzwords within the packaging industry. For example I have seen ‘innovation’ and ‘sustainable’ parroted more times than I care to remember, to the point where the words lose their weight and intended meaning. Today, there’s a new buzzword in the mainstream media tied to the coronavirus pandemic that is fast becoming overused: ‘unprecedented’. Of course, we will be covering the rapid developments occurring in the packaging industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic within this edition. However, I’d like to take a step back from this ‘new normal’ (another buzzword there) and try to find some wider context to our situation. Victoria Hattersley follows on from our continuous coverage of the crisis to explore how it has impacted the packaging industry thus far, dipping into long-term implications and pondering what we have learned. Our wider focus is on the noticeable shift we have witnessed within our industry from the physical (events, conferences and face-toface meetings) to the digital (such as webinars and virtual launches). In the absence of events such as interpack and drupa, how is the industry coping and adapting to share its latest announcements? Make sure you head to our YouTube page and subscribe to keep up to date with our new medium of live broadcasts. This is in no way against the curve of other industries, but it will be interesting to see how this shift in the paradigm of sharing packaging progressions will propel our industry going forwards. Again, is this the ‘new normal’ or a flash in the pan? And while mainstream media has tentatively started to tilt its head to cover other news asides from coronavirus as front page and headline worthy,

Libby Munford Editor Working from home

we’re also keen to keep our eyes focused on the big trends and announcements continuing to impact the packaging industry. Packaging Europe’s Sustainability Awards 2020 has seen another huge increase in submissions this year, with an impressive 275 entries stepping up to the plate. We’re eager to share these solutions with our readers going forwards and open up the sustainability debate to lead discussions again this year – watch this space. Elisabeth Skoda invites Henkel to focus on this vital issue within these pages; she interviews Tilo Quink, global head of Henkel Packaging Adhesives. Meanwhile, Tim Sykes delves into Lifecycle Analysis with Smurfit Kappa and the nuanced findings emerging from their recent work on LCA. Fin Slater scooped an interview with Syntegon’s (formerly Bosch Packaging Technology) new CEO to discover the company’s strategic priorities and challenges in rebranding an iconic organization. And I pin down the accomplished global explorer Emily Penn during lockdown to learn about eXXpedition, the scientific research mission’s vital investigation into the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution, which lest we forget is another huge concern to the future of the human race, n our health, and that of the planet.

Libby Munford Libby Munford lw@packagingeurope.com @PackEuropeLibby

Packaging Europe | 3 |


SHIFTING THE PARADIGM OF PACKAGING PROGRESS Whichever way you look at it, the postponement of this year’s interpack to 2021 has been unprecedented for the packaging industry. However, in the spirit of innovation, companies from across the value chain still forged forwards to introduce new solutions around the time that the event was originally scheduled to take place.

H

ere at Packaging Europe, we aimed to support the industry by adapting from the physical to digital, a model which seems to have been tentatively adopted across the industry: innovations and announcements we would usually be discovering at events have been launched instead by way of virtual events, webinars, and digital launches. Our Live Week was designed to fill the void and severe information gap left by the postponement of interpack, which was set to be this year’s focal point for announcements, product launches and discussions around packaging innovation. If you have yet to watch our comprehensive broadcasts,

with frank discussions between expert guests on wide-ranging topics such as sustainable materials, innovation & COVID-19, all whilst brimming with innovations and announcements which were initially scheduled to be shared on the interpack floor, then head to our Youtube page via the QR code. Building on the success of our inaugural Live Week and the fantastic audience engagement in our May broadcasts, we’ll be back to share more essential discussion of key packaging challenges. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to ensure you don’t miss these and future live broadcasts. In the meantime, Fin Slater unpacks some of the key innovations that have been recently announced by companies in the machinery sector.

Domino Gx-Series

ABB IRB 390 FlexPacker

Printing, marking and coding specialist Domino is set to launch a new range of high-quality thermal inkjet (TIJ) printers optimized for fast, efficient, and accurate coding, on product labels, flexible films, and cartons. The company says that its next-generation printers are compatible with all languages, and suitable for use across industries including pharmaceuticals, electronics, and food and beverage, with customizable options available to suit individual production needs. In the words of Alexandros Mountis, TIJ product manager at Domino: “The Gx-Series has been designed with this level of agility and ease of use in mind – to help manufacturers to keep pace with the pressures of a modern marketplace.”

ABB claims that its new robotic picking and packing portfolio can support customized packaging, vertical packing and high-speed, high-variation sorting and on-demand order picking in logistics and e-commerce fulfilment centres. Designed for customers in the food and beverage, logistics, pharmaceutical, and consumer-packaged goods industries, ABB says that the IRB 390 is ideal for secondary packaging and higher payload applications, with the speed and flexibility to support shelf-ready packaging and retail-ready packaging.

X-ray options from Ishida Europe In the quality control and inspection sector, Ishida has announced a completely new range of X-ray machine options for detecting low to high-density foreign bodies in both packaged and unpackaged bulk flow formats. The company reports that its hygienically designed machines and options will display a number of new features, including easy to clean surfaces and easy to remove reject bins. Ishida was also set to display a new range of checkweighers based on a new advanced electronic architecture that reportedly offers improved speeds and accuracies and enhanced touch screen interfaces across the board. | 4 | Packaging Europe


Romaco Noack Unity 600

Bühler Franz Haas SWAKT-Eco

One of the highlights of Romaco’s virtual interpack was the unveiling of the company’s new premium blister packaging line. The machinery specialist is positioning its new system as one of its highest-performing blister packaging lines and claims that it has a maximum output of 600 blisters and 400 cartons per minute. In terms of sustainability, the company says its new product is 100% climate-neutral, due to the fact that its potential effects are offset by the sponsorship of a climate protection project. According to Romaco’s group marketing manager Jutta Hartmann, showcasing its products in a virtual setting came with some unexpected advantages: “There are no problems with space – which is a first for us and something we can normally only dream of.”

Bühler Group is looking to tackle conventional single-use packaging with the Franz Haas SWAKT-Eco, a machine that can produce edible and biodegradable packaging made from wafers. Above and beyond its potential waste-reducing credentials, the company also says that its new oven reduces emissions by 90%, while also using 30% less energy.

Laetus Modular X series In the increasingly competitive world of track and trace, Laetus is aiming to set the bar high with what it says is the first fully modular serialization system on the market: Modular X. The Modular X 1000-MV forms the basis of the system, reportedly marking and verifying up to 400 folding boxes per minute with barcodes or plain text, depending on product size and quality. At belt speeds of up to 60 metres per minute, a mechanically forced guidance apparently ensures that the secondary packaging with a maximum size of 120 x 100 x 200 mm is precisely processed. Laetus also highlights a compact GMP design, which it says allows for easy operation, cleaning, and maintenance.

Mosca’s end-of-line technology “Although we are currently unable to share information with our customers and others face-to-face, we see the virtual platform as an opportunity to showcase machines and concepts for a digital, automated future,” explains CEO Timo Mosca. The company put these words into practice by demonstrating its new end-of-line technology for securing bundled products for transport.

What next? It’s clear that the packaging industry remains focused on innovation in the face of a global crisis. This doesn’t surprise me – our industry will always find a way to push itself to the forefront of technology and sustainability, whatever the circumstances. What was perhaps more surprising was the success of the alter-

Bagging and packing systems from Syntegon As one of the biggest players in the machinery market, it’s no surprise that Syntegon decided to push ahead with a range of product announcements. Perhaps foremost among these is a brand-new bagging and case packing system for powder applications. In demonstrating this system, Syntegon was keen to highlight its perceived sustainability benefits. The SVE 3220 Doy Zip vertical form, fill and seal machine can now use recyclable plastic and paper monomaterials. Further, Syntegon claims that its new product reduces material consumption, due to it having a bag-filling degree of up to 80%. Another part of the system, the Elematic 2001 WAH case packer, is now able to use corrugated blanks made from grass fibre.

INTUITY THiNK by Sesotec INTUITY THiNK marks a first for Sesotec – a metal detector with artificial intelligence. This intelligent metal detector apparently heightens safety and reduces waste due to its accuracy. Sesotec also reports that its new machine makes it possible for detection to be used on metalized packaging.

natives to the physical interpack show, despite the relatively short timeframe in which they were developed and delivered. While, in my view, no virtual show can compare to the excitement and potential of an event like interpack, there are certainly some positive points in terms of sustainability and logistics. In the past few weeks, might we have caught a glimpse of a possible future format? n Packaging Europe | 5 |


| 6 | Packaging Europe


The COVID-19 crisis has thrown the world into into disarray the entire packaging supply disarray and and the entire packaging supply chain chain has forced been forced to adapt to the new has been to adapt to unprecedented realities. VictoriaVictoria Hattersley looks atlooks howatthe new demands. Hattersley industry responded so far, and how the has industry has responded soconsiders far, and the possible ramifications of the considers thelong-term possible long-term ramifications situation we nowwefind in. in. of the situation nowourselves find ourselves

PACKAGING AND COVID-19: HOW HAS IT IMPACTED THE INDUSTRY?

WE

hadn’t planned to be writing this article. In different circumstances, right about now I’d be producing a post-interpack feature about the exciting new innovations we’d seen and what they mean for the industry moving forward. But no. When something like COVID-19 happens (and what do I mean ‘something like’? There hasn’t been ‘something like’ this in my living memory) such plans go out of the window and it slams shut. We’ve watched as many thousands of people have lost loved ones, many have lost their jobs and entire industries are on uncertain ground. We’ve also watched as the Leader of the Free World ruminates live on television as to whether injecting disinfectant under the skin might be a feasible solution to the problem. So it goes. If you’re a planner, such uncertainty is clearly stressful. If you work for an industry – like packaging and FMCG – where constant planning and foresight is a necessity, it becomes untenable. For those working to ensure vital food supply chains continue to run, the challenge has been extraordinary. By and large, the packaging industry has risen to this challenge.

The short-term impacts The short-term effects of this crisis made themselves apparent very early on, with the growing volatility having a major impact on supply chains. To give just two examples: printing ink manufacturers across Europe have reported reduced availability of ethanol and n-propanol – key elements in the production of printed packaging inks; meanwhile, Simon Ellin, the UK

Recycling Association’s chief executive, raised concerns over the lack of fibre to make carboard boxes as many councils suspend their recycling facilities due to COVID-19. Shifts in production patterns and increased home-working have also had a knock-on effect across many sectors. “A large proportion of our business is with Food Service and FTG (Food To Go),” says UK-based Charpak’s Justin Kempson. “The impact of Food Service shutting down and FTG sales falling due to more people working from home has hit the business with orders being deferred or cancelled.” Hand-in-hand with this move to working from home has come, perhaps unsurprisingly, an increased reliance on automation – a trend that is likely to continue once we have returned to ‘normal’. “During a time where we must practice social distancing, our focus on driving automation and doing more with less by investing and working smarter has become even more imperative to our own operations and for our customers,” says Ted Doheny, president and CEO of Sealed Air during a first quarter earnings call in May. “We are accelerating our innovations to support a more touchless, digital world. When we get through this pandemic, our core competencies in automation, food safety and protecting goods with advanced packaging solutions will be even more relevant.” Again unsurprisingly, there has also been an acceleration of the e-commerce boom as brick-and-mortar stores are closed and people become more reliant on deliveries. “In March, coinciding with the implementation of stay-at-home or lockdown orders, the food industry experienced a dramatic shift to retail and a Packaging Europe | 7 |


Marisa Suter

dramatic slowdown in food service. For Sealed Air, this shift resulted in a surge in demand for our retailed applications, including case ready, shrink bags and prepackaged meals and snacks designed for home consumption.” And lastly, what we have also certainly seen is an increased awareness of the vital role packaging plays in protecting and ensuring our food supplies. So much so that Europen has argued that the EU should recognize packaging and its raw materials as essential and to open designated priority lanes – the ‘green lanes’ – for their intra-EU transport.

The need to pivot Many companies are discovering just how agile they can – or indeed must – be to meet the unprecedented new demands COVID-19 has created. US-based dispensing systems producer Aptar is one company that has demonstrated an ability to pivot when required. In March it launched its InvisiShield technology – a ‘first of its kind’ anti-pathogenic packaging solution which can be integrated into sealed packages to protect fresh-cut produce from harmful pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

For those working to ensure vital food supply chains continue to run, the challenge has been extraordinary. However, says Angela Morgan, director of business development, “A lot of our customers in the food sector have been heavily impacted during this time and this definitely affected the product’s launch. So we decided to pivot the technology to help with the crisis. The result is ActivShield, which uses the same technology as InvisiShield to disinfect respirator masks for hospitals. The shield itself is a tiny strip that you take out, dip into tap water and put in a 1-gallon ziplock bag with the respirator mask after your shift. It can then be taken out again, disinfected and ready for the next shift, since disinfection takes only two hours.” This also suggests that the COVID-19 crisis has of necessity been an impetus for innovation to some degree, as the industry is forced to respond to a new level of concern about packaging safety. “What we’re pursuing now is the same kind of technology to disinfect e-commerce packages or other surfaces where it’s said the virus can survive for up to three days,” says Angela. “The truth is, we don’t know this for sure, but we want to offer | 8 | Packaging Europe

Justin Kempson

that security and we have had a lot of our beauty and home customers want to give their consumers peace of mind. I don’t foresee the concern going away after this; moving forward I think consumers are always going to demand a higher level of security for goods coming into their home.” There are of course other examples of the industry’s response to the crisis – so many we can’t list them all here. Among them, Walki, a producer of multilayer laminates and protective packaging materials, has developed a highperformance protective material for hospital aprons. DS Smith, meanwhile, has been working closely with food retailers across Europe to design, develop and produce new boxes to supply emergency provisions to the most vulnerable.

Long-term implications So much for the short-term changes wrought by the crisis; what kind of longterm fallout can we expect? Perhaps most tellingly for the industry, there have been suggestions that the increased recognition of the protective role packaging plays may go some way to easing off the plastics backlash – and it’s easy to understand why this may be, given the hygiene benefits of this material. But we must not forget that there are environmental implications here, too. After all, the climate crisis has not been put on hold as we turn our attention to coronavirus. “Until a few weeks ago anyone hearing the words ‘plastic packaging’ often thought of waste first,” says Mara Hancker of IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen, the German association for plastics packaging and films. “Plastic packaging had to be combatted, and anyone who used it should be ashamed of themselves. Virtually no one wanted to hear about the ecological benefits, facts were frighteningly irrelevant to many discussions and the populist ‘plastic-free’ demand drowned out many factual arguments. “Then came the coronavirus and triggered worldwide changes in almost all areas of life. In exceptional situations like the current one, perspectives, perceptions and attitudes change. And this also applies to the way we handle packaging. By way of example, multi-use is not always better than single-use and we can be glad that we have the choice. PET bottles have an excellent carbon footprint and are an important mainstay of supply, especially in the face of increased demand.” In fact, EuPc recently sent an open letter to the EU Commission advocating for the postponement of the Single-Use Plastic Directive. Does Mara think such a move would be justified in these circumstances, or is this beside the point? “Hygiene and environmental protection are two legitimate concerns that should not be played off against each other. However, Corona changes the


“I don’t foresee the concern going away after this; moving forward I think consumers are always going to demand a higher level of security for goods coming into their home.” perception of packaging. Its function is perceived and appreciated again. In the SUP Directive many things are well thought out, but many things are not well done, because speed was more important than care and now individual regulations must follow. But that has nothing to do with Corona.” It’s also possible – though regrettable – that this shift may impact reusable packaging models. “There has already been some resistance to the use of ‘bags for life’,” says Justin Kempson, “as there is opportunity for the virus to be present on these and for it to be passed on through touching these bags (as well as cash) so I believe that this may impact on ‘refill’ containers that consumers take into store.” There is also the question of the location of production itself: according to Marisa Suter of US-based design agency MS Design, there may be a growing move towards local production models rather than outsourcing further afield. “Brand owners will be driven (or forced) to produce locally and stay competitive. The whole world has relied and grown to being used to cheap labour/ printing from China to keep pricing low to maximize gains. This industry may become more regulated and be more transparent as a result of the coronavirus forcing them to do business somewhere else.”

Have we learned anything? Finally, is there anything the industry can take from this terrible situation moving forward? There are of course no real ‘positives’, but for this industry at least we have seen an increased recognition that, without the right packaging, supply chains would entirely fail. In a similar vein, many key workers – delivery drivers, retail workers – are suddenly being valued in a way they perhaps weren’t previously. If this change lasts, it would be a welcome one. Ultimately, this is such a fast-moving crisis that it would be impossible to say with any certainty what the biggest long-term impacts will be. Meanwhile the wider world is coming to terms with unimaginable loss, and it is n too soon to start counting economic costs. Packaging Europe | 9 |


VOYAGE INTO OCEAN PLASTICS

eXXpedition is an all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission investigating the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution. In a rare epoch when Emily Penn is landbound (due to lockdown), Libby Munford took the chance to interview the co-founder and mission director, to discover all about the mission, ethos of the project, and how the packaging industry can get involved and benefit from the findings. LM: Can you tell me a bit about your background and explain what eXXpedition is all about?

EP: I had a job lined up in Australia, and I wanted to get there from England without taking an aeroplane, partly to minimize my carbon footprint but also because I didn’t want to miss all of the bits in between. I ended up finding a place on a boat that was going around the world and set off on this amazing adventure across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. What I wasn’t expecting to find was plastic thousands of miles from land, and I started seeing plastic as an issue at a time when people weren’t really talking about it. From there, I was led off in a completely different career direction. First, I set up a waste management system on a small island in Tonga, then I went to investigate the accumulation zones where a lot of ocean plastic ends up, before setting up eXXpedition a few years later.

LM: Could you tell me a bit more about how the project itself works? EP: When I originally started, I realized that plastics were breaking up into microplastics, and we weren’t finding these big islands of trash that we thought we were going out there to look for. This brought up the realization that they might be getting into the food chain and made me think about how we could clean this up. For example, after a blood test, I found that chemicals used in the production of plastic were actually inside my body. Some of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors that mimic hormones and can particularly impact women when we’re pregnant, giving birth, or breastfeeding – which can affect future generations. This is what led me to the idea of trying to tackle this problem with a team of women. Our first expedition set out across the north Atlantic Ocean in 2014 to do more research into a pile of unanswered questions around health and microplastics. Our aim is to sail around the world to four of the accumulation zones and the Arctic with a multi-disciplined team of 300 women from across the world. Our first aim is to conduct scientific research to try and learn about the kinds of plastics that are out there. To do this, we collect samples and analyse them onboard, allowing us to determine the polymer type of the Packaging Europe | 11 |


plastic, the industry it might have come from, how it might be moving in ocean currents and where it originated. Our second aim is communication. This means going out to very remote parts of the planet and shedding light on what’s going on. The third aim of our project is to build a community of changemakers, because we all need to step up – it can’t just be down to politicians and companies.

LM: It seems like the key to this is collaboration, and you mentioned that eXXpedition involves women from across multiple industries. Are there any participants or sponsors from the packaging industry that you can highlight?

EP: One of our partners is TOMRA, the recycling company. Kristine Berg, who works for TOMRA, has joined a couple of our expeditions to the North and South Pacific and has become really familiar with the issues that TOMRA is trying to solve. We also had a crew member from Mondi who joined us on an expedition to the North Atlantic to see the impacts there as well. These people can carry really important messages back to their companies and wider communities.

LM: From my perspective, there is a real lack of female professionals in the packaging industry. Why was it so important to you to have all-female crews? EP: I did a test and found that, out of the 35 banned chemicals that are used in plastics, I had 29 of them in my blood – this was shocking. As I mentioned earlier, these chemicals can be really dangerous when women are breastfeeding or pregnant. This was my initial driver to identify this as a critical issue for women. The bonding that happened on our first all-female voyage was really powerful, and it was great to see how relationships were formed and have carried on for years afterwards. That’s why we’re still working in this way.

LM: I’d love to hear some anecdotes from onboard the boat – how does it work on a daily basis? EP: It’s quite similar to lockdown in a way, because there’s lots of people living in a tiny space with nowhere to go! 14 of us will set off for three weeks or a month at sea. We all sleep in bunkbeds, there’s a communal space where we eat and work, and there’s the deck where we sail the boat. | 12 | Packaging Europe

We operate a watch system with three teams, and one of those teams will always be up on deck sailing the boat, keeping watch, updating our hourly log, or taking a lead on science. There’s always something unexpected happening, you’re guaranteed to have some equipment breakages and ‘all hands on deck’ moments, which all adds to the excitement.

“I think we are going to be more resilient when we come through this pandemic, and we’re going to be more accepting of changing our behaviour for the good of the wider world.” LM: That leads us on to my next questions – how are you coping with the pandemic, and have your expeditions been affected? EP: They have, because of border closures and the confined spaces on our boat which mean that we can’t social distance. The global shutdown actually began when we were about a week into a three-week expedition in the pacific, and we couldn’t have been further from an international airport. So, we had a couple of weeks of making our way towards French Polynesia so that the crew could get the last flight home. We hope to be able to complete that mission around April next year. In the meantime, we hope to do a lot of work virtually from our homes with our amazing ambassadors across the globe.

LM: I think another issue that this pandemic has highlighted is the public’s view on sustainability. What are your thoughts on this? EP: I love the idea of nature reclaiming its place on the planet. It’s also interesting to me how this whole experience is shifting our minds. Right now, we’re hugely sacrificing our freedom, which goes against the argument that human nature can’t make sacrifices like this. This gives me hope, because if we’ve done it once then we can start to realize that there are other huge challenges out there that we need to make sacrifices for as well.


I think we are going to be more resilient when we come through this pandemic, and we’re going to be more accepting of changing our behaviour for the good of the wider world.

LM: Within the packaging industry, we see a lot of collaboration – how are you hoping to use collaboration going forwards? EP: What we’re hoping to do with eXXpedition is to collect the data that’s needed by all sorts of companies, the packaging industry in particular. We need to look at what we are really finding out there. Is it fragments of PET or HDPE? What is sinking or floating? If we can understand these points, this will help us shed some light on the biggest opportunities for change and innovation here on land. We’re really looking forward to sharing that data once we have it collected so that we can be constructive. We also work closely with the Sky Ocean Ventures group, who are focusing on supporting innovation in packaging at the moment. I’d like to highlight two companies they’ve invested in: Sulapac, which is innovating with cardboard to simulate bubble wrap, a really exciting development. And there’s also Notpla, who have developed algae-based sachets.

LM: I’d like to ask you about what your research has uncovered so far. Is there anything you can share with us?

most. We all know that plastic is in so many useful things in our households, but we generally only find food packaging in the oceans. That being said, we know that there are other causes. As soon as we look small enough, we start to realize the amount of microfibre that is actually in the ocean, which generally comes from washing machines and other abrasion. Another one of our studies at the moment is looking at air particles, because materials like polyester can shed fibres into the air that can then find their way into the oceans. In terms of solutions, this is really about trying to eliminate those uses. We do work with a SHIFT method, which consists of four different chambers from sea to source. The bottom-most chamber focuses on minimizing damage and collecting plastic. The next phase up is based on the idea of reusing a material, which could mean turning it into a new product or converting it into energy. The stage after that is the idea of a fully closed-loop system, which companies like TOMRA are aiming to achieve with plastic packaging. This could also include biodegradable packaging if there’s a system for it to enter. The very top chamber is eliminating plastic completely. This could be achieved due to behavioural change or because there are other systems in place.

EP: Lots of our research is in our laboratory, which is unfortunately closed

LM: Is there any advice that you would like to give to packaging companies?

“What we really need from our industry partners are any unique polymer signatures that they might be using so that we can enter them into our system.”

at the moment – although we hope that it will reopen in the next few weeks. We don’t have any findings that are publishable yet, although we should do at the end of the year. Anecdotally, anyone who has been onboard will be able to tell you about the high levels of HDPE we’ve been finding. That’s what we’re seeing at the moment, but a lot more work needs to be done around understanding where it might have come from. One piece of information doesn’t tell us that much; we get a better picture when we can overlay many pieces of information. What we really need from our industry partners are any unique polymer signatures that they might be using so that we can enter them into our system. We also need more information on what kinds of polymers are being used in specific countries so that we can further connect the dots.

LM: What do you see as the main causes and solutions to plastic pollution? EP: Packaging is probably our biggest challenge and one of the biggest causes because it’s usually single-use and doesn’t have much value after it’s been used. In particular, food packaging falls into this category the

EP: Whether it’s companies or individuals, everyone has a ‘superpower’ – something that you’re brilliant at that makes you stand out. I would say: ask yourself what you can do that no one else can do. You have to find the point of intersection between what you can do differently and solving this problem.

LM: Lastly, what are the criteria for people who might want to sign up and join the crew?

EP: It’s about bringing as much diversity onboard as possible – whether that’s through nationality or skillset. So, there’s not any specific criteria – it’s more about passion and being committed to creating an impact on the return of the voyage. Our website has more information on all of this, although we have paused the application process for the moment, because of the pandemic. We’ll be n in touch with everybody when we get going again. Listen to the conversation in full on the Packaging Europe podcast. Available on our homepage, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Packaging Europe | 13 |


SUSTAINABILITY: THROUGH THE LENS OF 2020

Tilo Quink

Elisabeth Skoda caught up with Tilo Quink, global head of Henkel Packaging Adhesives to find out the latest view on sustainability, and how trends and global impacts such as COVID-19 this year have shed more light on the ongoing debate. ES: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges the packaging industry has to face in 2020? TQ: Over the last few years, we’ve seen a negative shift in the public opinion and consumer perception of plastics in packaging. This negative reputation is challenging and misleading, as packaging plays a vital role in keeping essential items like food and medicines fresh and safe. Interestingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the importance of packaging clear: consumers are more hesitant to purchase food without packaging, and the demand for packaged food has been growing. Now, more than ever, the focus must be not on banning plastic, but moving toward a circular economy. Going circular isn’t just coming from consumers, but also from governments, brand owners and retailers – and definitely from the packaging industry itself. With the perception of packaging becoming more positive in the eyes of the consumer given the current global situation, we must take this chance to meet their expectations – and our own – when it comes to sustainability. Working toward a circular economy means a fundamental change in how the entire value chain works together, and it means taking a critical look at how we’ve done everything up until now. From manufacturing methods, design processes, materials used and disposal solutions – it’s all being put to the test. The challenge is to rethink everything we know about packaging and how it’s made. In order to do this, we have to get the entire value chain involved and work together to identify solutions that make lasting contributions. ES: What trends and developments do you foresee in the coming year? TQ: It’s clear that sustainability and specifically the circular economy will be driving a transformational change in the packaging industry. But there won’t be one particular breakthrough or solution – many factors need to come together to create a circular economy with packaging that is both practical and economically viable. On the one hand, sustainability and

a circular economy mean a clear increase in the demand for recyclable packaging and new designs that enable recyclability and/or make use of recycled raw materials without compromising functionality. On the other hand, we need the proper infrastructure that enables the production of high-quality recyclate from both post-industrial and post-consumer waste. This is also leading to an increased challenging and questioning of existing packaging design choices. The main trend we see is the increased usage of mono-material designs that are designed to achieve the same or similar functionality as multi-material film structures. Additionally, we have the challenge of using recycled materials for food contact applications, as mechanically recycled plastics and paper are not yet allowed in food contact in many cases. Chemical recycling could be the answer here, but it is still in a very early stage and is still a new technology.

ES: How can packaging become even more resource efficient? What would an ideal circular economy look like?

TQ: The first step would be to avoid the use of non-recyclable materials that serve no purpose other than making the packaging visually appealing for marketing purposes. Another important aspect is the right selection of raw materials for the right applications to minimize the environmental footprint. Modern packaging designs are the result of decades of resource optimization; it’s very unlikely that even more reductions can be made by going down this same path. Instead, we must unlock the potential of recycling, as recycled materials only have a fraction of the footprint of their virgin counterparts. To create a true circular economy, it is important to balance resource efficiency with recyclability. This means always having the lowest overall footprint in mind when it comes to both recyclability as well as reusability. Plastics per se are exceptional materials for protecting food and medical products, for example, and are lightweight, making them efficient to transport. It is our responsibility to find ways to recycle it properly and get this valuable material back into the stream of raw materials. Packaging Europe | 15 |


Saperatec has developed a technology that allows the separation and recycling of flexible packaging that contains aluminum foil

Packaging is essential for ensuring the safety of medical products and pharmaceuticals

For Henkel, our approach towards circular economy is based on three pillars: compatibility, debonding and new designs that enable recycling. Compatibility means adhesives and coatings that are compatible with the recycling processes of homogeneous products. Debonding refers to adhesives that are suitable for existing and future separation processes. With new designs, we mean adhesives and coatings that enable new packaging designs such as layer reduction or enhanced functionalities. For example, our recent investment in the German start-up Saperatec – which developed an innovative, patented technology that among others allows the separation and recycling of flexible packaging that contains aluminum foil – enables us to contribute to technologies take us one step closer to a true circular economy. | 16 | Packaging Europe

ES: What role can solutions such as design for recycling, chemical recycling, reusable packaging etc. play?

TQ: Overall, according to the waste hierarchy, reuse is better than recycling and mechanical recycling is preferred over chemical recycling. Hence, one of our goals at Henkel Packaging Adhesives is to support the reuse of packaging, for example with adhesives that allow for the clean removal of labels from PET bottles. This results in a high quality of recyclate out of a mechanical recycling process that can be returned to the loop or bottles being reused in its entirety. Whatever can’t be reused should be recycled. Our approach is to develop adhesives and coatings that improve the recyclability of flexible packaging and


make it possible to use recycled content in new packaging. For example, our RE range of adhesives and coatings is designed for recycling and are suitable for both recycling and the bonding of recycled plastic films. Compared to mechanical recycling, chemical recycling is more energy intensive and is still a new technology with a small installed base. Its potential lies in the ability to create high purity raw materials, which can be used immediately in existing applications, including sensitive areas such as food contact. This makes it potentially interesting for food contact, medical, pharmaceutical and some cosmetic applications. However, regardless of whether we’re talking about chemical or mechanical recycling, the packaging design is what really matters. The adhesives used in packages typically only make up no more than 5% of the total weight – yet, their properties can actually make the difference when it comes to the overall recyclability of the material. At Henkel, we are doing our part as a manufacturer of adhesives and coatings for packaging to ensure that we have products that positively contribute to the recyclability of packaging and support the development of new holistic solutions that help push towards a circular economy. We are focusing on rethinking everything: From how packages are designed, to the materials used to make them – it is time to reexamine how we work together in the value chain.

ES: Can you tell us what would the challenges of a life without packaging be? TQ: As I mentioned before, the challenges of the pandemic make the importance of packaging very clear, not only for preserving food, but also for keeping it and the consumer safe. It is important to note that the environmental footprint of the goods contained in any type of packaging is vastly higher than the footprint of the packaging itself. Packaging strongly reduces losses

in goods and therefore strongly contributes to overall sustainability. This is particularly noteworthy in these challenging times, when consumers are purchasing goods in bulk and have the expectation that packaging enables food to stay safe and fresh.

“If ‘food loss’ were a country, it would be the third largest originator of greenhouse gas worldwide.” Generally speaking, without packaging, we would see a dramatic rise in the loss of food, which not only presents a problem for regions where food is already a scarcity. If ‘food loss’ were a country, it would be the third largest originator of greenhouse gas worldwide. The right packaging with the lowest possible environmental impact of course is also responsible for ensuring safety of food and anti-counterfeiting for pharmaceutical and medical products. Without packaging, we would see a dramatic increase in unhygienic medical products and pharmaceuticals as well as counterfeit medicine. While these positive effects have been confirmed numerous times, there is valid concern over mismanagement of packaging waste and environmental pollution. To maintain the positive contributions that packaging provides, a better way of dealing with waste needs to be found. The circular economy is the solution, as we turn what is now considered waste into valuable raw materials. This value is what drives collection, and collection prevents pollution and increases recycling rates. We see it as our responsibility to actively facilitate a circular economy and to work together n with the entire value chain to make it a reality. Adhesives that enable the clean removal of labels from PET bottles can increase the quality of recyclate

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ASSESSING THE PAPERBASED ALTERNATIVE As fibre-based materials innovate to increasingly compete in packaging niches recently dominated by plastics, brand owners face new challenges in evaluating respective sustainability implications. Tim Sykes spoke to Smurfit Kappa’s Arco Berkenbosch (VP innovation and development) and Jurgita Girzadiene (sustainability manager) about novel corrugated applications, a new approach to lifecycle analysis, and carbon footprints.

AT

Packaging Europe we’re pushing the climate crisis to the top of the sustainability agenda – and many of the most fundamental and contentious questions the packaging world must face lie at the intersection of carbon footprint and circularity. While the plastics value chain works on design for recyclability and building a viable circular economy, the paper industry is exploring opportunities to provide already recyclable alternatives to plastic packaging applications. Indeed, recent research has estimated that in European supermarkets 1.5 million tonnes of plastic could be replaced annually. As paper and plastics come to compete across more packaging contexts, brand owners will have decisions to make. As plastics raise their recyclability and paper innovates around functionality, how do brand owners assess the relative sustainability credentials? Creating alternatives to certain plastic applications – particularly around aggregation – has been on Smurfit Kappa’s strategic agenda for some time. At one end of the scale this has involved resurrecting traditional formats (such as corrugated trays and punnets) which had over the years been displaced by flexibles. At the other there has been blue-sky thinking: the company’s inaugural Better Planet Packaging design challenge brief asked designers to create paperbased alternatives to flexible pallet wrap. In between these poles, its R&D teams have been developing innovative products such as TopClip (an alternative to shrink film for can aggregation) and GreenClip (a replacement for plastic rings). TopClip, which utilises no glue and according to Smurfit Kappa boasts higher recycled content and lower carbon footprint than competing solutions, is already

Arco Berkenbosch

being trialled on shelves. Further collaborative projects with brand owners are set to be announced over the course of 2020. But as all segments of the industry progress around offering recyclable solutions, what are the relative carbon footprints, and how do we form a holistic view of the respective impacts of plastic and paper-based solutions?

Re-evaluating Lifecycle Analysis As Arco Berkenbosch reveals, Smurfit Kappa has been exploring how LCA can illuminate these dilemmas. In our discussion he began by highlighting the limitations and challenges of benchmarking. “LCAs are only really useful in looking case by case at specific products,” he said. “With so many variables, you can’t use them to make sweeping generalizations about different materials.” In addition to the susceptibility of LCAs to be framed for commercial or political reasons by manipulating their initial assumptions and the challenges around acquiring reliable benchmarking data, there’s a basic question of how to make sense of the findings. “Today the focus is often on two key metrics – litter and carbon footprint – and you can’t simply add them together to create an overall ‘sustainability’ number,” Arco remarked. “Nor can we choose one over the other: we have to tackle both problems.” Smurfit Kappa’s innovation here has been to distil LCA data (produced by a third party) into a nuanced snapshot of carbon and end of life metrics relating to a given product from cradle to grave, through its journey from

Jurgita Girzadiene Packaging Europe | 19 |


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raw material through production and use to end of life. The overview consists of ten metrics, and perhaps the most noteworthy aspect is that the inherent characteristics of the products (such as weight, recycled content, carbon footprint) are set against the real world probability of specified end of life outcomes (recycling, entering the environment, incineration). For instance, the LCA we look at – comparing fruit punnets made from PET, recycled corrugated and mixed virgin/recycled corrugated – calculates the relative impacts of littering based on gram-years, or g.yr. As Jurgita Girzadiene explained: “This is a metric that has emerged from academia: it reflects the combined impacts of the volume of material entering the natural environment (based on product weight and probability of littering or landfilling) multiplied by the length of time it stays in the environment.” In this case, plastic fares worse, because it’s both less likely to be recycled and takes much longer to break down. But what of the carbon footprints? In the case of punnets, according to this LCA, the corrugated alternatives come out as comfortable winners. Where the PET punnet creates emissions of nearly 60 g CO2e, the mixed corrugated one is just under 14 g CO2e. Although paper making is quite energy intensive, paper mills are the biggest industrial user of carbon-neutral biomass energy (which is why the recycled corrugated punnet has a slightly higher carbon footprint, at 16.75 g CO2e, than the mixed virgin / recycled one). Meanwhile, the LCA format records possible carbon emissions through incineration as a separate metric, since energy gained could be offset against the emissions. So does this settle the plastic vs paper carbon question? As Arco Berkenbosch said at the beginning, it’s not that simple. “This carbon advantage is reduced where plastic is considerably lighter than the corrugated alternative,” he said. “With the fruit punnets the weights are quite similar. However, when you compare shrink film with corrugated replacement, the corrugated is heavier by a factor of five. We’ve just looked at an example in which a

corrugated punnet compares very favourably with a PET one, but I could also pick examples where corrugated doesn’t come out so well.” Smurfit Kappa also acknowledges certain caveats apply to these calculations. While it uses its own real life data, based on a specific mill for corrugated, the LCA relies on third party data that may be more generalized for plastic products. It does not, for instance, attempt to compare the average distances plastic and corrugated products may travel through the entirety of their supply chains. On the other hand, it also doesn’t factor in the carbon storage function of trees – otherwise the carbon footprint of corrugated would come out below zero. “We will continue to work on our data and assumptions,” Arco Berkenbosch commented. “However, we have found that this is a useful tool to steer conversations with customers facing those strategic sustainability dilemmas. The goal is to help them to make a sensible business decision n based on the entirety of the information.”

A Smurfit Kappa impact comparison of fruit punnets

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IS THERE A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR PET PACKAGING?

In our latest Wider View, Sidel’s Luc Desoutter and Vincent Le Guen give their insight into the future of PET packaging, asking: is the use of this material even sustainable in the future – and if so, how?

P

ackaging in general has come under a lot of fire in the past few years, with different types of plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) having been under intense scrutiny. Therefore, many brand owners and suppliers are taking increasing care when it comes to packaging and especially the type of packaging materials they opt for. Simultaneously, governments and regulators are attempting to decrease the overall amount of waste created on a global scale, sometimes going for quick fixes that can result in unintended consequences. The paradox about PET packaging on the one side is that PET bottles have become the symbol of marine litter and Single Use Plastics (SUP), and that on the other side, it is the most recyclable and the most recycled plastic material – a fact that is still not recognized enough. If you were to listen to its most vociferous critics, then the answer to the question, ‘Is there a sustainable future for PET packaging?’ would be a resounding ‘No’. But the reality is that PET is a packaging material that has contributed to the development of the beverage industry by giving access to safe drinking water to billions of people. It is a great resource with many advantages: safe, lightweight, transparent, re-sealable, shapeable, 100% recyclable, with outstanding mechanical as well as barrier properties at the price of a commodity. PET also

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has a very low environmental footprint compared to alternative non-plastic materials. The environmental costs of plastics in consumer goods are 3.8 times less than the alternatives. For an average European family, the impact of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) of all packaging materials used is only 1.7%, of which plastics production only represents about 4% of fossil resources with most of them being recyclable. Meanwhile, bottle grade PET consumption is equal to less than 6% of total plastics production and far less than 1% of fossil resources, so banning this specific packaging material will not solve the environmental issues. The packaging industry is looking after our planet and safeguarding our environment: there is growing momentum to reduce waste by searching for alternatives to optimize secondary and tertiary packaging, eliminating unnecessary plastics. In short, the problem that requires all our attention is the leakage of waste to the environment and especially into the sea. But this pollution is neither exclusive to PET nor to SUP. The focus should be on waste management, including the rationalization of waste streams by favouring easy to recycle and higher value materials as well as concentrating waste streams to a lower number with higher volumes.


Vincent Le Guen

Luc Desoutter

PET: Unique 100% closed loop recyclable food-grade plastic It is a fact that PET is the only plastic suitable for direct food contact and for closed loop bottle-to-bottle recycling. A PET bottle’s journey doesn’t end after single-use by consumers: used plastic bottles made of PET are recycled in such a way that the recyclate can be used for new PET bottles, thereby requiring fewer raw materials and reducing waste. Thus, it is the only plastic packaging material that is 100% recyclable, while meeting the toughest standards in food contact regulations. The closed loop bottle-to-bottle approach leads to the actual task of recycling PET, where two main coexisting processes are theoretically possible under strict regulations and approval processes: mechanical or chemical. Mechanical recycling is currently the overwhelming reality in the industry. It is fairly simple since it is about shredding, washing and upgrading the original material. Chemical recycling, on the other hand, requires a longer cycle time. The molecules need to be broken up and the process of manufacturing the plastic from the very beginning needs to be restarted, creating additional costs. Nevertheless, at least three benefits are expected from chemical recycling technologies: the consistency of the quality of the recycled PET compared to virgin PET, absolute food safety and the possibility to mix the material with

coloured and/or opaque PET. The willpower to push the packaging business towards a circular economy has revived chemical recycling. We are expecting to see it happen on an industrial scale in the next three to five years as a reasonable complement to mechanical recycling. For both mechanical and chemical recycling, collection and sorting are key regarding not only the quantity, but also the quality of the washed flakes, requiring adequate consumer behaviour, necessary infrastructure and supporting regulation. However, if, as we assume, PET continues to be increasingly used in the future, the source of this PET remains an open question.

Fossil-based versus bio-based or bio-degradable plastics Currently, the market is built on pure fossil-based PET with more than half of the world’s current synthetic fibre and bottle demand being met by PET. But when studying bio-based sources, we see that basically any kind of plastic can be made from them, raising the question as to whether we need to increase bio-based PET, which currently accounts for only 1% of the total PET production for packaging. In fact, this appears to be one of the most promising endeavours on the industry’s horizon as the big advantage of making bio-based PET is that we already have a whole industrial

“The big advantage of making bio-based PET is that we already have a whole industrial system set up today.”

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system set up today. The process and installation remain the same, and the PET material produced is strictly identical, still being 100% recyclable and compatible with existing and future recycling streams. We have to acknowledge that there is also a discussion about biodegradable plastics as an alternative to PET in the industry. As there is a lot of confusion existing between bio-based and bio-degradable materials, we want to clarify that there are fossil-based materials that are biodegradable as well as bio-sourced materials that are not bio-degradable and vice versa. The ratio of bio-degradable materials within the bio-based category is about 55%. However, we do not expect this development to catch on for two reasons: firstly, if degradation begins during the shelf life of the container, recycling would become extremely complex, because you might collect and enter a container that is already degrading into the recycling stream. Secondly, we and our customers see bio-degradable claims as an incentive for consumers to throw away packaging, counting on the fact that it will simply disappear. In most cases the material will not degrade in an unsupervised, natural environment, for example a marine environment, but only under very specific conditions, such as industrial composting. In addition, biological degradation generates CO2 or even methane, contributing to GHG.

Recycled PET and tethered caps: The basis for a successful circular economy For Sidel, there are other, more promising options out there to tackle the future challenges of packaging. The most significant one is recycled PET (rPET), as its carbon footprint is nearly five times lower than virgin PET. Its first intrinsic growth factor is consumer acceptance – people are ready to consume their beverages in 100% rPET bottles, something they may have been opposed to in the past. The second factor is the external regulation changes within the EU. The directive on SUP that was passed in early 2019 will have a massive impact on the packaging value stream of the future: by 2025, for example, the EU

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demands 25% of mandatory rPET content in bottles. This figure is intended to reach 30% in all plastic bottles by 2030 with key players in the industry opting for even more ambitious targets. Moreover, rPET content is not the only variable the EU intends to regulate. The European Commission is also speeding things up in terms of collection targets: for instance, a 90% collection target has been set for all member states by 2029. Some member states have already made the decision to switch to bottle deposit schemes, one of the most efficient PET bottle collection solutions. Converting to rPET is a significant change for the entire industry. Depending on collection methods and bottle origin, its quality varies. Therefore, as a 40-year blowing pioneer and expert, it is our overall goal to develop technologies that are not affected by this inconsistency, but are ensured by designing different blower generations with re-heating and blowing wider processing windows, allowing for bottle quality consistency. It goes even further with the innovative laser oven technology under development as an alternative to the currently used infrared solution: a vertical-cavity surface-emitting-laser (VCSEL) diode extends the process capability and versatility of existing blowers. The heating process is incredibly accurate and stable, allowing consistent material distribution for greater efficiency and a premium material for very complex bottle design from the very outset of the production. Therefore, this solution has high potential for the future, where Sidel might be able to deliver a blower that can handle up to 100% of rPET. Furthermore, Sidel’s rPET testing platform is contributing to this purpose, boosting the development and qualification of bottles with increasing rPET content. Moreover, a close collaboration with rPET value chain stakeholders is fundamental. In a similar attempt to tackle plastic waste, the EU has also agreed to implement a mandatory tethered cap for all beverage containers up to 3 L by 2024 to keep the bottle and the cap attached to each other until both hit the recycling facilities, thus keeping bottle caps from freely floating in our oceans. If closures are to remain on plastic bottles when recycled, they are much more likely to be properly collected. While the law technically only impacts Europe,


“In the next decade, it is probable that anywhere in the world, PET bottles will have a tethered cap.”

of the bottle is divided by the number of uses. Moreover, it depends on the return rate and life span: with a 95% return rate, a seven-year life span and three cycles per year, the average refilling number per bottle will be 11. Additionally, even after these various filling cycles, the bottles can be recycled, creating a very captive, high-quality stream with identical bottle quality. This makes it a unique system in terms of ease of recycling and reintroduction with ref-PET revealing itself to be a huge opportunity, especially for short distance distribution in metropolises with satellite filling sites.

Supporting the sustainable transformation we will see a global change in the coming years due to European companies exporting their goods abroad, and Europe in turn importing goods from other countries, which will have to be compliant with this directive. It is unlikely that any key industry player will manage two different supply chains in parallel, i.e. one with and one without tethered caps. Additionally, we are seeing a similar push for tethered caps in some parts of the United States, with, for example, California striving for a similar law. Therefore, in the next decade, it is probable that anywhere in the world, PET bottles will have a tethered cap. This will certainly bring some design challenges along with it, especially when thinking about sports caps and similar solutions. Sidel is already uniquely positioned to answer these challenges as Novembal – an independently managed business unit of our group – was actually the first developer of the tethered cap (snap design) solution more than a decade ago.

Refillable PET bottles: A sustainable alternative? Besides rPET, there is another very promising development on the beverage market: refillable bottles (ref-PET). In fact, relaunching ref-PET bottles is one of the top priorities for big players within the beverage market, using the bottles in the same way refillable glass bottles are used – minus the heavy transportation costs and fragility. Compared to one-way PET, it will depend on its effective number of uses and on logistics. The environmental impact

We look at packaging and equipment from a 360-degree perspective. Not only do we take into account primary, secondary and tertiary packaging, but also their interaction with the equipment in the factory. Then we consider the impacts they have upstream and downstream in the value chain. This is what we call our ‘End to End’ approach. In 2019 Sidel signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Together with our customers and business partners we intend to work on playing a key role when it comes to addressing the increasing challenges in packaging, food safety and environmental footprints. Although our industry is undoubtedly facing manifold challenges, we at Sidel see ourselves as absolutely ready to address these world-changing questions. However, collaboration is key here, across and beyond the plastic industry. The circular economy is definitely the new paradigm, aiming at closing the loop to avoid leakage to the environment by favouring recycling as well as reduction and reuse with PET having a unique position. Leading brand owners are convinced that the answer to reduce their packaging GHG impact is recycled PET and refillable PET. To support the transformation towards sustainability, besides the industry stakeholders’ commitments, four ingredients are required to support it: correct consumer behaviour, extended collection infrastructure, innovative technologies across the value chain and intensified regulation with mandatory n collection targets and recycled content.

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A BOSTIK

ON DEMAND

AUTOMATED PACKAGING FOR E-COMMERCE, A SOLID PILLAR FOR GROWTH Consumer demand for e-commerce is rocketing to a new level in 2020. Brand owners, retailers and third-party logistics (3PL) are looking for solutions to keep on improving order fulfilment automation. As specialists and key contributors to the packaging industry, B+Equipment & Bostik will share their respective expertise in corrugated e-commerce packages.

WEBINAR HOSTED BY PACKAGING EUROPE

Learning Objectives: • See how e-commerce demands bespoke & tailor-made packages • Learn how to protect the goods and consumer in e-commerce with secure & tamper-evident packages • Identify solutions to reach best-inclass packaging process automation in e-commerce with no compromise on consumer experience • Keep your shipments to the right size with cube optimized packages • Discover how the hot melt glue is the invisible cornerstone of efficient and sustainable fulfilment operations

LISTEN NOW

ON DEMAND

ON DEMAND

packagingeurope.com/automated-packaging-for-e-commerce-a-solid-pillar-for-growth_1/

SPEAKERS

PASCAL PERONI Global Market Director – Consumer Goods & Paper Bostik

HOST

BERNARD DOMINICI Sales Director – B+ Equipment Sealed Air / B+ Equipment

Bostik, as part of the Arkema group, is a leading global adhesive specialist in packaging, construction, transportation and consumer markets. We are committed to providing safe, efficient, versatile and responsive adhesives and products. Bostik’s offering in flexible and rigid packaging includes innovative peel/reseal lidding solutions as well as a wide range of adhesives for plastic film lamination and adhesives for tapes & labels.

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VICTORIA HATTERSLEY Senior Writer Packaging Europe

Sealed Air / B+ Equipment has been designing and manufacturing automated packaging solutions since 2000 specifically for distribution, either e-commerce and retail. The machines are either sold to end-users or to integrators that implement them in a turnkey pick & pack system.


SYNTEGON LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

In an exclusive interview with Fin Slater, Dr Michael Grosse, Syntegon’s newly minted CEO, talks strategic priorities, sustainability perspectives, and the challenges of rebranding an iconic and established organization. FS: Until early January, Syntegon had been trading as Bosch Packaging Technology for 50 years. What was the reasoning behind a complete rebrand and what challenges does this pose to an established brand like Bosch? MG: At the beginning of this year, Syntegon presented itself as an independent company under a new brand. Processing and packaging for a better life – that is our mission. We remain a global partner for the pharmaceutical and food industries and provide our customers with even more intelligent and sustainable solutions. The main reason for the brand change is that our company is no longer part of the Bosch Group. Our new owner is the private equity and investment advisory firm CVC Capital Partners. With Bosch, of course, we are losing a famous brand with high appeal. However, as Syntegon we will sharpen our profile as a leading processing and packaging company and use the opportunity to optimize our products and services as well as our structures and processes to make them an even better fit for our customers.

FS: Can we expect any significant changes in direction following the rebrand and change of ownership?

MG: With up to 150 years of experience in individual machines, systems and services, Syntegon sets standards when it comes to developing innovative packaging and processing solutions and delivering tailored manufacturing processes designed to make high-quality products with utmost reliability. Our customers appreciate us for our reliable machines that enable smooth, efficient and safe production. In the future we want to further extend these close partnerships with our customers. We will inspire the food and pharma industry with future-oriented solutions and contribute to the overall economic success of our customers. The newly gained independence enables us to be faster and even more flexible. While we used to be part of a large corporation with different divisions and a fixed organizational structure, Syntegon can now create a business framework that is leaner and an even better fit for the industry with a stronger focus on the key challenges and demands of our customers.

FS: What do you identify as your strategic priorities as a business over the coming year? MG: ‘Customers first’ is our motto. Driven by the spirit of partnership with our customers, we are striving to improve the value of our solutions as well as our processes. We want to become faster and easier to do business with. This ambition includes, for example, reducing response times to customer enquiries or improving our service delivery. We will build on our deep technical expertise and application knowledge, paired with a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, driven by our relentless aim to become better, faster and more efficient in everything we do. Of course, the coronavirus is on everyone’s mind and unites us in acting safely and responsibly. We have to lead our company, partners and families safely through this unprecedented crisis. Since the beginning, Syntegon has been continuously and closely monitoring the developments related to the spread of the virus. We regularly evaluate and adapt our actions in line with our values to never compromise the health and safety of our people.

FS: Sustainability is a topic that is currently dominating packaging-related Dr Michael Grosse has been CEO of Syntegon since March 2020 (formerly Bosch Packaging Technology).

discussions. What can machinery manufacturers like Syntegon do to help produce eco-friendly packaging solutions? How is Syntegon contributing to the needs of sustainability in terms of its packaging machinery portfolio and R&D? Packaging Europe | 27 |


ON DEMAND

WEBINAR

HOW DO WE MAKE FLEXIBLE PLASTIC PACKAGING PART OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY? All plastics packaging on the EU market must be economically recyclable by 2030, and major brands and retailers are targeting packaging to be 100% recyclable by 2025. Complex, multi-material flexible packaging is recognized as being challenging to recycle and will have to be re-designed in order to be recyclable. In this webinar you will learn about how Dow is working together with industry partners to accelerate design for recyclability in food and consumer packaging applications using common processing technologies (e.g. extrusion, orientation and thermoforming) whilst maintaining production efficiency at packaging lines and using less material. Recyclable packaging will continue to support lower EPR fees and is in line with CEFLEX activities. Get inspired through real-life examples, enabled by Dow’s Pack Studios.

HOSTED BY PACKAGING EUROPE

Learn more about AGILITY™ CE our high performance mechanically recycled plastic waste resin for industrial packaging that can be incorporated up to 50% to help meet your public commitments to using recycled plastic in packaging. Gain insights into how we are advancing in our feedstock (chemical) recycling plans to make circular polymers from plastic waste that are equivalent to virgin polymers and which will fulfil stringent food contact regulations. Finally, you’ll hear from our experts on the benefits of our sustainably sourced, bio-based plastics which offer close to 60% reduction in CO2 footprint versus conventional fossil fuel plastics, require no extra land resources and are not in competition with food. You’ll also gain an understanding of the role of mass balance accounting.

Key learning objectives: • Design for recyclability – how we can maintain high packaging efficiency and consumer convenience of flexible packaging while designing it for recyclability • Recycling – state-of-the-art mechanical and feedstock (chemical) recycling efforts of Dow with industry partners • Recycled contents – viable routes to incorporate recycled plastic into non-food and industrial packaging applications • Bio-based Plastics – learn about the benefits of our bio-based plastics offering and understand mass balance accounting

LISTEN NOW

ON DEMAND

ON DEMAND

packagingeurope.com/integrate-flexible-plastic-packaging-into-circular-economy-dow-webinar/

SPEAKERS

HOST

MARCO TEN BRUGGENCATE Commercial Vice President EMEA

CAROLINA GREGORIO Lead Marketing Manager, Food & Specialty Packaging EMEA

ROMAIN CAZENAVE Group Marketing Director Packaging EMEA

KATE GERAGHTY Director of Advocacy EMEA

KARIN KATZER Marketing Director Global Pack Studios

JUDITH HICKS Senior Business Communications Manager EMEA

Packaging and Specialty Plastics (P&SP), a business unit of Dow (NYSE: DOW), combines R&D, worldwide reach, broad product lines and industry expertise to deliver high performing technologies for food packaging, hygiene, infrastructure, consumer goods and transportation. As one of the world’s largest producers of polyethylene resins, functional polymers, and adhesives, and enabled by Pack Studios, we are a leading collaborator and innovator in sustainable application development for a circular economy of plastics.

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TIM SYKES Brand Director Packaging Europe

Working across print, digital and live media, Packaging Europe is the leading intelligence resource for European packaging professionals. Our mission is to connect forward thinkers across the value chain with the latest developments in packaging technology and materials, making sense of innovation in the context of the core business challenges packaging is required to meet.


The Shaped Paper Pod prototype ‘Pearl’ is based on the formability of the FibreForm® material from BillerudKorsnäs and is processed on machinery from Syntegon.

“With Bosch, of course, we are losing a famous brand with high appeal. However, as Syntegon we will sharpen our profile as a leading processing and packaging company.” MG: Syntegon’s vision is to develop intelligent and sustainable solutions

MG: Our mission ‘processing and packaging for a better life’ also includes

for everyone. We see it as our responsibility to deliver technology that can process the most environmentally friendly materials as efficiently as possible while using as few resources as possible. We support our customers on the path to a sustainable future with material testing, machine applications, innovative packaging designed to meet the requirements of products, transport modes, and regional circumstances. In primary packaging, we are pursuing two approaches to produce sustainable packaging: one is to use mono materials rather than conventional multilayer films, and the other is to use paper packaging as an alternative to plastic. By producing narrower sealing seams, we can realize considerable additional material savings. Technologies like amplified heat sealing or ultrasonic sealing support these approaches. Secondary packaging, which is usually made of cardboard anyway, is primarily about making it even more suitable, robust and variable for e-commerce applications. Moreover, we relieve recycling flows by not using glue.

keeping our ecological footprint as small as possible. Syntegon has more than halved its energy consumption relative to the value added in the past ten years, and we will continue our efforts to save energy and emissions. Our focus is on further improving energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energies. Since this year, for example, all of our European production sites have been sourcing ‘gold standard green electricity’ from renewable energies. In addition, we are continuously working on improving the energy efficiency of our machines. In this way, we also contribute to a better environmental balance for our customers.

FS: Bosch, Syntegon’s former parent company, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2020. Does Syntegon have any similar aspirations towards carbon neutrality?

FS: Other than sustainability, what are the key market drivers in the packaging / CPG industry to which Syntegon will respond? MG: Consumer markets are becoming more and more volatile. The number of products that dominate markets for extended periods will continue to dwindle as product life cycles shrink. Competition will intensify as new manufacturers penetrate the food market with innovative products and services. For the pharmaceutical industry, we see two major developments: on the one hand, specialized drugs will be produced in lower quantities for small patient Packaging Europe | 29 |


A BOSTIK

ON DEMAND

WEBINAR SUSTAINABLE & RESEALABLE FLEXIBLE LIDDING SOLUTIONS FOR FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES (PRODUCE) A collaborative approach to improving consumer safety, convenience, and reducing both food & plastic waste Flexible, resealable lidding offers many advantages for consumers including food safety, convenience, and reduced food and packaging waste. While there are resealable lidding options available on the market today, few have been successful in offering an economical and effective reseal lid for the produce market, where high moisture resistance and tamper evidence is important.

A collaboration between Bostik and Terphane aimed to address these challenges for the produce market and offer a resealable lidding solution with lower costs to manufacture, shorter lead times, fewer manufacturing steps, and a lower environmental impact.

LISTEN NOW

ON DEMAND

HOSTED BY PACKAGING EUROPE

Learning Objectives: • Learn about the sustainable and convenient benefits of resealable, flexible packaging • Listen to an overview and comparison of today’s resealable lidding options for produce • Hear how collaboration between Bostik and Terphane addressed gaps in current resealable lidding solutions, such as limited tamper evidence, complexity to manufacture, and poor moisture resistance • Discover a novel resealable lidding film design that meets consumer preferences and is producible without laser scoring equipment

ON DEMAND

https://packagingeurope.com/sustainable-resealable-flexible-lidding-solutions-for-fresh-fruits-vegetables/

SPEAKERS

KASRA MIRMESDAGH Technical Service Engineer Bostik

HOST

ELLEN SMITH Senior R&D Engineer Terphane

Bostik, an Arkema Company, is a global leader in bonding solutions. Bostik’s Advanced Packaging Global Business Unit offers a comprehensive portfolio of bonding solutions to the packaging industry including lamination adhesives, heat and cold sealing, reclosing solutions for lidding films, adhesives for tapes & labels, hot melt adhesives for case and carton sealing.

VICTORIA HATTERSLEY Senior Writer Packaging Europe

Terphane, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corporation (NYSE:TG), is a vertically integrated specialty PET film manufacturer with over 40 years of film production expertise. With a core technical competency in resin technology and co-extruded films, Terphane is addressing the changing demands of the flexible packaging and industrial markets with an expanding range of valueadded films and metalizing proficiencies.


populations. On the other hand, the price pressure on generics will continue to rise, as will regulatory quality and data standards. The challenge for our customers is to respond quickly to changing requirements, bringing products to market much faster without jeopardizing quality and their long-term planning. Syntegon provides the right answer to these challenges with highly flexible equipment. Designed to start manufacturing immediately without long lead and delivery times, they are ready to accommodate additional options and retrofits. We offer flexible machines that process a wide range of packaging materials. Whenever the need arises, we can respond to changing customer requirements for materials, product formats, volumes and speed. We have modular systems at our disposal that facilitate fast delivery and immediate commissioning. Our teams of experts advise and assist customers in the design of production lines, materials, and product flow.

FS: We’ve previously reported on Syntegon’s collaboration with BillerudKorsnäs. What is the importance of partnerships like this to accelerating innovation for the packaging industry, and can we expect more of the same from Syntegon in the coming months?

MG: Of course, we are working closely with leading packaging material suppliers – in both paper and plastic. We believe that solutions can only be developed in close cooperation with material experts as well as users and brand suppliers. Together with our Swedish cooperation partner BillerudKorsnäs, we have developed a new packaging concept called Shaped Paper Pod, which enables creative and sustainable packaging solutions made of paper. The Shaped Paper Pods are produced with BillerudKorsnäs’ FibreForm paper on a newly developed Syntegon paper form machine. Based on organic materials, the FibreForm paper enables up to ten times deeper embossing than conventional paper. This creates eye-catching 3D effects. Sandwich spreads, confectionery, cookies, facial cream – the possibilities are many and diverse. Manufacturers are moving towards plastic-free solutions with predominantly fibre-based packaging materials that are tailored to their given product.

“Consumer markets are becoming more and more volatile. The number of products that dominate markets for extended periods will continue to dwindle as product life cycles shrink.” FS: You were previously on the board at Tetra Pak – what learnings from that role will you be bringing to your new role as CEO of Syntegon? MG: During my almost 17 years at Tetra Pak, I had the privilege to deepen my understanding of the key challenges of the food production industry and how to leverage technology, innovation and services to address them. Knowhow is the entry ticket, but the passion, the focus and mindset of the people really make the difference.

FS: You’ve talked about your desire to focus on improving customer satisfaction and profitability – do you have any particular initiatives/strategies in mind to help you do this? MG: Everything we do according to our mission ‘processing and packaging for a better life’ is about creating value for our customers and will determine their satisfaction with our products and services. That is why we are focusing even more on the value and reliability of our services and want to deepen the spirit of trustworthy and caring partnerships with our customers. Profitability is a key aspect of a company’s future viability. Our financial strength through sustainable profitable growth determines our ability to attract the best talents and to invest in our own and our customers’ future. We therefore have to sharpen our focus on what really matters and simplify n our operating model.

Packaging Europe | 31 |


ON SECOND THOUGHTS... THIS TOO SHALL PASS? Casper Thykier, co-founder and CEO at Zappar, creative studio and AR platform, explores how technology can be used to adapt to societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I

t’s safe to say that COVID-19 has changed our lives. Like many other companies, the Zappar team is now working remotely and coordinating activities from our home’s four walls. Talking to teams over Slack, managing plans disrupted by the coronavirus, and adapting to a new climate have all been new challenges for us and the team. Our home lives have blended with our work so closely and intimately that families are careful about making sure the lines do not cross. In these new times, we are all adapting. But this too shall pass, and we will do everything we can to support our key workers out there doing all they can to contain the spread of the virus. As society shifts, technology can help. If the situation highlights anything, it’s the fact that technology underpins everything we do. Technology helps to connect all homes across the world and ensures we stick to one another. Whether it’s calls with colleagues or catch-ups with friends, we are reliant on the technological framework of our society. We can shape the technology to our needs. The outcome of these benefits can last for many years afterward. One undeniable truth about COVID-19 is that is has likely changed our consumer buying habits forever. We were already seeing a long and gradual move towards m-commerce in general and the current pandemic has accelerated that trend. That’s not to say that retail is dead but when it comes to more functional requirements for groceries, electronics and white goods for instance it’s hard to see that the shift to online will recede once lockdown has eased and we are in the new normal. That opens up new opportunities for brands in thinking about how they approach this new at-home occasion. We’re already seeing AR applications for product visualizations and virtual try-ons. The other new media channel available to brands of course is product packaging itself. In fact, it’s a huge untapped opportunity. Billions of dollars are spent perfecting the passive print that adorns our cupboard shelves and for the most part they remain silent or fit to burst with information squeezed into their limited format size whilst accommodating all the legal and language requirements and other messaging. With AR, product packaging is transformed into an always-on digital discovery channel with new ways to delve into the product story, it’s provenance, ingredients, sustainability credentials and recyclability, whilst also offering news ways to cross-sell, upsell and offer repurchase incentives D2C. This information can be personalized, made contextually relevant and updated throughout the product’s life-cycle offering ‘how to’ tips and guides

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for use and trouble-shooting at the exact moment of assistance. Whilst all the while producing near real-time data on how your product is being used, when and by whom to inform your overall product, marketing and media strategy. In an instant your pack becomes your store front, promotional canvas and product showcase through AR, delivering a direct conversation with your consumers through the device that matters most to them in their lives. Check out the example of our work with Nestlé; you may scan the code by downloading the free Zappar app. The consequences of COVID-19 will end, as temporary barriers erected during the new normality. But the ramifications of these restrictions will echo for years afterward. Sometimes it isn’t about the technology that’s already out there; it’s using what you have to try something new. As people are stuck at home, companies are getting creative about how best to approach consumers who can’t walk down to their local high street. All these new developments may shrink in n size, but they will never disappear.


Profile for packagingeurope

Packaging Europe Issue 15.4  

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