SPN April 2021

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Issue 21:2 - April 2021



Taking the lead in sustainability

Paper Packaging The latest and exciting innovations in recyclable packaging


Packaging machine technology


Fighting climate change

Film recyclability Printing inks

Reinforcing sustainability SPN looks at FMCG companies, their commitment to sustainability and the environment

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Welcome to



Dear Readers,

April 2021

I trust that you are all keeping well and staying safe. Hopefully the promising signs of a return to normality will soon become a reality, and be enhanced with some halcyon summer days ahead!

Issue 21:2 - April 2021



Once again, I must say how incredibly well the industry has coped with the severe set-backs it has suffered due to the pandemic. Searching through the countless press releases that I receive every day, and the many thought-provoking insights, I feel doubly blessed to be a part of a global team that is working diligently to not only provide innovative solutions, but solutions that continue to make our world a safer and greener place to live. Contributing towards our “tour-de-force” sustainability movement this month, we bring you news from many different sources. These include some sage and timely observations from the BCMPA. In addition, there is a major review of how the FMCG market is responding to the consumer’s call for greater sustainability, as well as some amazing advances made recently in the digital world. These range from printing, to barcodes, and from transparency to quality control. Other unmissable news items come courtesy of companies involved in packaging machinery, paper packaging and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few. So thank you everyone for all the great news items that you have continued to submit to us and I hope that you find our latest issue both enjoyable and of practical use in your ongoing mission to achieve greater sustainability for us all. Sincerely

Taking the lead in sustainability

Paper Packaging The latest and exciting innovations in recyclablable packaging


Packaging machine technology


Fighting climate change

Film recyclability Printing inks

Reinforcing sustainability SPN looks at FMCG companies, their commitment to sustainability and the environment

Director Editor Writer Designer

Kevin Gambrill Philip Yorke Emma Jane Batey Dom Thorby

linkedin.com/company/ sustainable-packaging-news/


Philip Yorke ( Editor )




Contents TOPICS


PAPER PACKAGING 26 Box clever… and stay cool 27 P&G - refillable paper packaging

SUPPLY-CHAIN SLEUTHS 6 The latest developments in supply

PRINTING INKS 34 Seeing 3D printing in perspective

SPN SPIN DOCTORS 14 Consumer mind-sets 15 Brexit changes & challenges

E-COMMERCE 38 The great retail shopping shake-up PHARMACEUTICAL 44 Child resistant packaging DS SMITH 51 Driving Sustainability

chain management

20-20 VISION 16 Amazon’s amazing vision 19 Unilever - fighting climate change DIGITAL DIGEST 22 Digital packaging 24 Emerging packaging trends

FILM RECYCLABILITY 54 Plastic innovation CONTRACT MANUFACTURING 62 Challenges driving investment & growth MACHINERY 70 Non-destructive leak-testing 74 KHS SUSTAINABILITY IN FMCG 83 Reinforcing sustainability 86 Consumer trends 92 Ecolean


Issue 1 Sep 2020




19 92




Supply-chain Sleuths

Forward thinking… looking back Getting the big picture when it comes to understanding the latest developments and challenges surrounding supply chain operations can be a full time job. SPN takes a broad look at the forward thinking of industry leaders and the realities facing packaging companies as they look back at the lessons they have learned from past challenges ( Excerpts courtesy of the Finacial Times ) A most interesting overview was published in the FT recently that made some very interesting observations concerning the current “panic” and “depleted supply chains.” SPN readers may well find this article very helpful when making decisions that can often mean the difference between sink or swim. There is a mini-panic spreading about shortfalls all along the supply chain for manufactured goods, and how these somehow predict a commodities boom. At the beginning of this week, the ISM Manufacturing survey reported “depleted” supply chains, “increased lead times for deliveries” and “wide-scale shortages”. The survey’s respondents are supposed to be steady handed supply chain professionals. The investing public, with too much time, stale cash deposits and bandwidth on its hands has responded through its online trading accounts. Thanks in part to people who heard the term supply chain for the first time last year, net noncommercial long positions in Comex copper were up to 75,000 contracts in recent days, close to December’s all-time high of 80,000 contracts. Not surprisingly, the Twitterverse is agog with “commodities supercycle” talk. But we still have continued high unemployment, low wages, vaccine delays and declining bank credit. Yes, since its postCovid economic reopening China increased its imports of basic materials by 40 per cent.


But that surge is not going to be repeated given a planned growth rate of 6 per cent. So what can account for the desperation along the goods supply chain?

Whiplash effect We believe it is the whiplash effect of the depletion of retail inventories during the lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic. In the world of operations management, ie the systematic analysis of production and distribution chains, this is also called the Beer Game Effect. The Beer Distribution Game is a classroom exercise invented by Jay Forrester of MIT’s Sloan School in the late 1950s to simulate the dynamics of a production-distribution system using (conceptual) cases of beer as the product. The Covid-19 shutdowns and restarts of production changes disorientated supply chain managers, who responded to initial post-reopening shortages by double-ordering and overstocking supplies. These actions are now echoing down from retail stores to basic materials and producers of sub-assemblies such as semiconductor chips. Ominously, White House deputies and European commissioners have involved themselves in solving the bullwhip effect on critical supply chains.

“ There is a mini-panic spreading about shortfalls all along the supply chain ”


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Those interventions, called adding stage gates in operations management, make matters worse for a while. And speaking of the ISM, its subsequent report this week on non-manufacturing sentiment showed that 19 per cent of respondents reported inventories as too high, up from 10 per cent in December. David Rosenberg, financial economist and president of Toronto’s Rosenberg Research, asks: “Where is the wage boom and full employment? Once the stimulus runs out in two quarters, we are facing a fiscal cliff unless private demand is up by 10 per cent next year. This is all temporary.” If so, one should not buy “supercycle” commodities, but Treasury yield while it is still there.

New waste recycling rules The UK has an extended producer responsibility regime in force for the recycling of waste packaging. This means that all businesses which make or use packaging – excluding certain smaller companies, have a legal obligation to ensure that a proportion of that they place on the market is recovered and recycled. The regime first came into force in 1997 and was updated in 2007 with the introduction of the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. There have been a number of amendments to the regulations since 2007. Under the regulations, packaging producers can meet their recycling obligations by buying recycling evidence, known as Packaging Waste Recovery Notes (PRNs), or Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs), from accredited reprocessors or exporters. The system is therefore known to many in the industry as the PRN system.


The supermarket selling a product is one type of business which has an obligation under the Packaging Waste Regulations


The obligation applies to all those involved in the packaging supply chain – ranging from raw material manufacturers to retailers – which have an annual turnover above £2 million, and which handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year. Organisations can also be obligated if they are part of a group that collectively meets the thresholds. Those obligated companies with a turnover of below £5 million (but above £2 million) can choose to use a simpler allocation method when completing their obligation calculations. Many obligated companies sign up with a Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS), who will buy evidence on their behalf and take on their legal compliance. The number of PRNs that companies have to buy is determined by targets which are set by the UK government, known more commonly as ‘business targets’. So far, business targets have been set for all materials up until 2020 (see targets page). The targets cover paper and card, glass (of which a certain proportion must be sent to remelt), aluminium, steel, plastic and wood and there is also an overall recycling and recovery target, for which a certain percentage must be met through recycling. In March 2019 the UK Government has recently launched a consultation, which closed in May, on options to reform the UK Packaging Waste system. This document, along with other consultations held at the same time, will significantly alter the way in which the UK packaging waste system operates in the future, with significant changes and cost impacts for packaging producers. The intended start date for the new system is the beginning of 2023

Meeting new targets The PRN system is designed to enable the UK to meet the latest targets under Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (Packaging Directive). The Directive required that the UK recovered at least 60% of all packaging waste by December 31 2008 as well as meeting a number of other targets, which the UK has achieved. The Circular Economy Package included proposals to amend a number of European Waste Directives, including the Packaging Directive. These amendments were published in June 2018, and include new targets to be met in 2025 and 2030. Unlike the systems in use in many other European countries, the PRN system is a market-based supply and demand mechanism, designed to reduce costs for obligated companies while still ensuring compliance with the European Directive. The system effectively subsidises packaging recycling and means that if the price of recyclables drops, the PRN generally increases in value, thereby providing some protection for the market.

“ The system effectively subsidises packaging recycling and means that if the price of recyclables drops, the PRN generally increases in value ” Rolled-up obligation Those who handle packaging and or packaging materials can calculate their obligation based on the amount of packaging they place on the UK market in the previous calendar year. Producers’ obligations are split between different roles within the supply chain, each with a different percentage of responsibility: raw material manufacturer 6%; converter 9%; packer/filler 37%; seller 48%. Importers have a “rolled up” obligation for packaging imported into the UK. The raw material manufacturer makes raw materials for packaging manufacture (such as a steel mill). A packaging converter converts the raw material into packaging, (such as making sheets for cans). A packer filler puts products into the packaging or packaging around the product (such as a company putting baked beans in a can) and the seller supplies an end user, (such as a retailer selling the cans of baked beans to the consumer).




Calculation Companies must account for all activities which are carried out on the packaging they handle. The calculation is therefore: packaging placed on the market in the previous year multiplied by responsibility percentage multiplied by national business target. The calculation then provides each obligated business with a fixed tonnage obligation at the start of each year that they must fulfil by proving that they have funded the equivalent tonnage of packaging recycling, thus providing the demand within the market mechanism. For each tonne of packaging material recycled or recovered, the final reprocessor or exporter is entitled to produce a PRN or PERN (Packaging Export Recovery Note) certificate, provided they are audited and accredited by the enforcement agencies. Materials which are exported for recovery are treated equivalently to UK processing as long as the end destination can be shown to the enforcement authority to have broadly equivalent standards.

Reporting data The majority of producers either join a Packaging Compliance Scheme, who will take on their legal obligation and obtain the PRNs on the producer’s behalf, or alternatively the Producer can register direct and can then obtain these certificates themselves, as evidence of meeting their legal obligations.


The Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) have produced the PRN System Guide which provides a detailed explanation of the UK PRN system. In order to monitor fulfilment of national targets, producers, PCSs and accredited reprocessors and exporters have legal obligations to report certain data to the relevant enforcement agency. All information is maintained on the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) and reported to the European Commission.

Regulations concerning Essential Requirements

As well as the PRN system, there are also regulations which are intended to ensure that packaging placed on the market meets certain requirements. The requirements include ensuring that:

The volume and weight of packaging is the minimum to maintain safety, hygiene & acceptance of the packed product for the consumer

The packaging adheres to the recyclability / recoverability requirements

The packaging design minimises the levels of hazardous or noxious substances which may be emitted at the end of life

The packaging adheres to limits on heavy metal substances (calcium, lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium)


Getting to grips with pallet shipping Since many products are shipped through distribution networks, pallet shipping improves efficiency and protects individual packages from damage and loss during transportation. As you are sure to know, there are many different ways to wrap pallets. When wrapping pallets, you are most likely familiar with stretch film. However, there is a new player in the market you may not have heard of: Gripfilm. In this article, we will discuss the various benefits of the revolutionised Gripfilm, and how it’s a big improvement on standard wrappings. But first, let’s have a look at why stretchwrap is used: Stretchwrap is by definition a lightweight and extremely stretchable film, which is used to bind a load to its pallet. Stretchwrap keeps the products in place and prevents them from moving during transportation. It protects products against damage and increases the probability of products arriving at their destination in good condition. This improves customer satisfaction and reduces returns and refunds, and hence the business can flourish.




But first, let’s have a look at why stretchwrap is used: Stretchwrap is by definition a lightweight and extremely stretchable film, which is used to bind a load to its pallet. Stretchwrap keeps the products in place and prevents them from moving during transportation. It protects products against damage and increases the probability of products arriving at their destination in good condition. This improves customer satisfaction and reduces returns and refunds, and hence the business can flourish.

“ Stretchwrap clings to the pallet and keeps it secure and safe ” Diverse Applications Some of the main benefits of using stretchwrap include:

1. Easy transportation

Due to their stretchable nature, they are used to wrap and cover pallets of either uniform or dissimilar shape. It is used to bind a load to the pallet to prevent movement and collapse during transit.

2. Protects against damage

Stretch films protect against dirt, dust and moisture and are used to wrap pallets in warehouses to prevent damage, and ensure they arrive in good condition at the destination.

3. Securely wrapped items

Stretchwrap clings to the pallet and keeps it secure and safe from unwanted substances and movement. Black pallet film can also be used to hide the load from view, where greater security is required.

Cost considerations Because every operator must manually apply tension to the film to secure the load, they may over-wrap the load or wrap it loosely. Loose wrapping will almost certainly cause collapse. In the larger distribution centers, a spilled load will be rejected and sent back to the original hub, to be offloaded, restacked, and re-delivered. This is because of the health and safety issues offloading unstable and insecure pallets: people have been injured and even killed by unsafe loads that collapse during unloading. Load rejection like this takes up time, to unload and rewrap each pallet, and transport, because the lorry must return to its collection hub.



A revolutionary dispenser

Reduced Risks

Gripfilm is a revolutionary dispenser for stretch film, which is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and user-friendly. This new and advanced applicator works with a unique stretch film to reduce your packing time by 30% and your plastic usage by up to 40%. Gripfilm is the easiest applicator system in the market. Being just 800g in weight, the applicator is lightweight and has a reduced changeover time compared to the standard applicators. On top of this the applicator is magnetic so it can be stuck to any metal surfaces for quick and safe storage.

In addition to this, the Gripfilm applicator has a non-slip core, which means the operator does not have to bend low or overstretch to wrap the goods. Therefore, the operator can walk upright, and the chances of back, neck, shoulder, and wrist strain, as well as finger burns and hand abrasions, are reduced.

With Gripfilm, your pallets can be securely wrapped and ready for transport quickly. As less film is used there is less material to dispose of when unwrapping, and thus you can also save money on the cost of your packaging. In addition, Gripfilm reduces your business’s carbon footprint with more meterage per roll (and pallet) which therefore makes it environmentally friendly.

Unique process Gripfilm has self-gripping properties that are achieved through a unique manufacturing process. This allows it tension itself after it has been wrapped around the pallets. It is available in black, red, green, blue, yellow tinted and clear transparent films. With this incredibly strong, puncture-resistant stretch film, you can wrap commercial pallets quickly. Moreover, the construction gives it superior strength that is used for irregular and unbalanced pallet loads. It easily wraps around the uneven edges that stick out. In addition, thanks to the grip dispenser’s non-slip core, the application is efficient, rapid, and smooth. The Gripfilm roll can run to the core. Running to the core saves an average of 15-20% of material waste, because you are able to use all the material on the roll, which saves waste and unnecessary expense. Moreover, once the roll has finished, the roll’s core can be recycled, as it is clean cardboard. Many users have said that the Gripfilm system is excellent with its efficiency and longer length rolls. Since Gripfilm is lightweight, it can be used to wrap packages efficiently and effectively. Its one-hand operation provides free movement, and the ergonomic handle reduces injuries. Less effort required by the operator means that they will not tire quickly.

Another benefit of Gripfilm that reduces injuries is that you will always be walking forwards, and not backward. The operator can always walk forwards while using the Gripfilm applicator, instead of going slowly backwards, not being able to see where they’re going. This, in turn, increases wrapping speeds and prevents trips and injuries.

“ Gripfilm allows you to use less film and reduce plastic wastage ” Eco-Friendly Gripfilm allows you to use less film and reduce plastic wastage. Each roll contains at least 35% more film than conventional stretchwrap, which means that each Gripfilm roll will last longer than a standard roll. This means that you won’t need to purchase as many rolls in a year to wrap your pallets. This reduces your annual expenses, as well as your organization’s carbon footprint.Gripfilm has high load retention and punctures resistance property. The self-gripping film powerfully tightens around the load and keeps its shape even when stretched due to load movement during transportation. The contents of the pallet are kept secured and thus reducing spillage of items.

Reduced Plastic Waste Since the roll is protected and less material is used, plastic usage will be reduced by 40 percent. In addition, using all the material on the roll can save you an additional 15-20% of your annual. Therefore, you can take control of your plastic wastage with the Gripfilm applicator. With so many advantages, it is by far the best option for companies involved with packing pallets. It is something that every business needs to improve their packaging and achieve hassle-free storage and the transportation of pallets.




SPN Spin Doctors The latest Spin from SPN

Mind-set games

Consumer mind-sets are continuously changing. Westpak’s CEO Seth Hicks poses some interesting questions about how consumer mind-sets will alter when ‘normality returns, and offers some equally revealing answers. Much has been discussed about the inevitable changes in consumer behaviour during the Coronavirus pandemic and how this has affected the food packaging industry. But with the vaccine roll-out well underway and with dates provisionally marked in for the removal of lockdown measures, how will food packaging need to adapt to a ‘return to normality’? This could largely depend on whether consumer habits shaped by lockdown will continue after restrictions are lifted, or if consumers will be desperate to return to a more ‘open’ shopping experience.

Will consumer anxiety persist? For instance, while many are eagerly awaiting the chance to abandon their masks during their weekly food shop, others may feel quite anxious at the prospect of an unrestricted shopping environment. For those keen to return to a pre-Covid consumer mind-set, the grocery retail experience could see a number of initiatives rekindled. Unpackaged produce displays, reminiscent of open-air markets were arguably becoming increasingly mainstream in their application, as was the utilisation of less restrictive and often more environmentallyfriendly packaging. But what if the consumer mind-set has been more permanently adjusted to viewing supermarkets as potentially harmful environments. To reassure such consumers, grocery chains may need to utilise packaging that reinforces a sense of sterilisation and cleanliness above all else.

Are we dependent upon home delivery? Another key consideration will be on the ongoing role of home delivery of grocery goods and the extent to which this forms our shopping experience. Is it possible that Brits have developed a preference or dependence on home delivery services?


In this case, rigidity and ease of transport would become top priorities for packaging design. But could the design of food packaging be altered further still? If products become less relevant to the physical shopping experience and sell themselves increasingly via online channels, will their design considerations be adjusted accordingly? More interestingly still, would this enable packaging designers to place a greater emphasis on more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging credentials?

Satisfying consumer demand Adjustments may also be needed in-line with surges in demand for certain items that grew in popularity during lockdown. For example, Tesco recently reported a noticeable increase in popularity for vegetables which it largely attributed to Brits spending more time creating home-cooked meals under lockdown restrictions. These trends will, again, depend on how much of a legacy effect is created, which may of course fade over time. Will our boosted demand for greens continue to build momentum or will consumers revert to convenient alternatives such as ready meals and take-away’s? For further information visit www.westpakgroup.co.uk


Brexit - Changes and Challenges On-going Legal challenges will make a significant impact on the packaging industry alongside trade and recycling in the years to come. Brexit could have a rebounding negative impact on the UK packaging industry. Especially with regards to trading. The EU made the flow of goods simpler between our neighbours and ourselves. However, now we have left the EU, what are the latest changes and challenges ahead likely to be? There is still an awful lot of uncertainty surrounding this subject, but best predictions suggest this will be the case. With the majority of customers based abroad, PanEuropean trade is likely to be hurt. The EU has altered the UK’s perspective on recycling and environmental advances. Other EU countries recycle more than we do in the UK. However, we know that the packaging industry in the UK accounts for much of the impact on the UK environment. On the other hand, packaging industry leaders, including Neil Farmer, had their say. Neil said that the “economy would profoundly suffer if there is a no-deal scenario”. Which judging by where we are, despite the Covid pandemic, appears to be the case.

“ Nobody can tell for sure how Brexit will affect the manufacturing industry ” Nobody can tell for sure how Brexit will affect the manufacturing industry in the long term, let alone packaging in particular. We have some promising data on the results of a successful exit. Packaging industries, however, must be prepared to continue to endure significant change. Today Brexit remains a minefield, however, it will be interesting to see what the dynamics are at play, once the Covid 19 pandemic in Europe and the UK is finally put behind us.



20-20 Vision

20-20 Vision

Amazon’s amazing vision Since Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 it has been a visionary force in global online shopping. This is not only in terms of its innovative retail shopping business model, but also in its dedication to protecting the planet. As most are aware, all figures relating to Amazon’s activities are off the scale. This is particularly true of its unparalleled contribution to sustainability and the circular economy, as Philip Yorke reports. Amazon is based in Seattle, Washington State, and focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It is considered one of the big five companies in the U.S. information technology industry, along with Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. The company has been referred to as “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world”, as well as the world’s most valuable brand. In 2020 Amazon employed over 1.3 million people worldwide and in the same year, its two day delivery service ‘Prime’ exceeded 150 million customers. Currently the company’s global assets are valued at around $230 billion.

Prime packaging When it comes to packaging, it is Amazon that sets the standards, and the pace. Bezos said, “Our customers want right-sized, recyclable packaging that minimises waste and ensures damage-free delivery. We work to reinvent and simplify our sustainable packaging options using a science-based approach that combines lab testing, machine learning, materials science, and manufacturing partnerships to scale sustainable change across the packaging supply chain”. And it is not just in the field of packaging that Amazon excels. The company’s total renewable energy investments can be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result, the company is able to supply 7.0 gigawatts (GW) of electricity production capacity, which is enough to power almost two million households for one year.


Amazon has also recently announced plans to add 26 utility-scale wind and solar energy projects, totalling another 3.4 GW of electricity production capacity, bringing its total investment in renewable energy in 2020 to 35 projects and more than 4 GW of capacity the largest corporate investment in renewable energy in a single year. These new projects will make the company the largest-ever corporate purchaser of renewable energy.

20-20 Vision

Bezos added, “We have now invested in 7.0 GW of wind and solar projects that will enable the company to supply its operations with more than 18 million megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually. These projects will supply renewable energy for our corporate offices, fulfilment centres, and Web Services (AWS) data centres that support millions of our customers globally. They will also help advance our goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. Part of that commitment is powering Amazon’s infrastructure with 100% renewable energy, and we are now on target to achieve this milestone by 2025, five years ahead of our initial target of 2030”. The 26 new wind and solar projects announced this year are located in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and the U.S. The new projects are Amazon’s first in France, Germany, Italy, and South Africa. In the U.S., Amazon has now enabled wind and solar projects in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. The company has a total of 127 renewable energy projects globally, including 59 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects, and 68 solar rooftops on fulfilment-centres and sort-centres around the globe.

Climate pledge promise Last year, Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach the Paris Agreement 10 years early and be net-zero carbon by 2040. The pledge now has 31 signatories, including Unilever, Verizon, Siemens, Microsoft, and Best Buy. To reach its goal, Amazon will continue to reduce emissions across its operations by establishing a path to power its operations with 100% renewable energy and by purchasing 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, the world’s largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles. Bezos commented, “We are minimising waste, increasing recycling, and providing options for our customers to reuse, repair, and recycle their products, thus sending less material to the landfill and more back into the circular economy. As customers and communities are adapting and adjusting to a new way of life amid the pandemic, sanitation and recycling. At Amazon, we appreciate the role that the sanitation and recycling systems play in keeping us and the planet healthy and safe.

Despite the challenges that recycling has faced in recent years, Amazon believes in the long-term and in investing in our recycling systems. We will continue to find new ways to support the sustainable disposal of packaging and products as part of our commitment to The Climate Pledge of becoming net-zero carbon by 2030”.

Closing the loop on the circular economy Amazon’s vision of a circular economy keeps its resources in use for as long as possible. In addition all the group’s companies are members of ‘The Recycling Partnership’, which is dedicated to improving recycling in the US and has invested over $10 million in the ’Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund’ to minimise waste and make it easier for customers and communities to recycle. Most recently, Amazon donated $100,000 to its Closed Loop Partners to be used to provide supplies during the pandemic to the brave men and women who are on the front lines of the sanitation and recycling industry. These organizations work with local governments, companies, and communities to improve recycling in neighbourhoods across the U.S. and have been working hard to provide assistance to areas struggling to adapt to changes in the recycling system. “Amazon is committed to customers and communities across the country,” said Terese Kietzer, Senior Manager on Amazon’s Sustainability team. “We’re on a mission to ensure we’re using our size and scale to make a circular economy a reality across America and wherever we can have an influence. We’ve been working for years to reduce waste through better design and new services that delight our customers. By working with all these change-makers in the industry, we will be able to learn and apply new solutions to our own operations and in the communities we serve.” Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging also programs encourage manufacturers to package their products in easy-to-open packaging that is 100% recyclable and ready to ship to customers without requiring additional Amazon boxes. Since 2015, the company has reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33% and eliminated over 900,000 tons of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.6 billion shipping boxes. Bezos had the final word, “At Amazon, we are committed to protecting our planet. But most importantly, it’s critical that everyone find a way to participate, and we are making this as easy as possible. Amazon customers, or anyone interested in recycling, can find out how to recycle all types of Amazon packaging and devices and shop refurbished or reused items by visiting our website”



20-20 Vision


- the future for sustainability With today’s consumers demanding more transparency concerning the environmental footprint of the products they consume, there is now a growing global demand for more sustainable packaging. Transparency, a concept already gaining ground before the pandemic, has been galvanised by the rapid spread of the coronavirus, showing just how quickly change can be implemented if the need arises. According to Avery Denison, the global materials science company, consumers are also increasingly insisting on more transparency, with 70 per cent saying trust in a brand is more important now than in the past, according to recent research by Edelman. As consumers learn more about how packaging waste, especially plastics, ends up in landfills and oceans, they want to know and understand where products came from and what their environmental footprint is .Eco-conscious consumers are increasingly aware of a product’s journey and the need to move from a linear to a circular economy, whereby products are designed to be reused, recycled or composted. Sustainable innovation is required in the packaging industry to enable a truly circular economy, and ultimately regenerative practices, to be achieved.

A powerful tool A recent report by Avery Dennison, titled The New Transparency, underlines the importance of transparency as a powerful tool capable of giving businesses unprecedented control over their supply chains and environmental footprint, while offering consumers increased visibility, safety and education. It outlines ways businesses can offer a higher level of trust, including through digital identities, tracing and sustainable materials, within four category-specific microtrends: blockchain and analytical technologies, labelling, packaging and secondary waste.


“First and foremost, consumers are demanding this information; they want to understand the environmental footprint and be able to trace the provenance and journey, in detail, of the products they buy,” says Renae Kezar, global senior director and head of sustainability at Avery Dennison. “But embedding transparency also serves to unlock more effective decision-making for businesses, increasing their resilience. Avery Dennison is a global materials science company that specialises in the design and manufacture of labelling and functional materials. Its engineering solutions are sustainable in their own right and improve the sustainability of any value chain of which they are part.

20-20 Vision


leveraging operations to fight climate change Unilever has set out a new range of measures and commitments designed to improve the health of the planet by taking even more decisive action to fight climate change. The global group will achieve Net Zero emissions from all its products by 2039. The company will also empower, and work with, a new generation of farmers and smallholders, driving programmes to protect and restore forests, soil and biodiversity. In addition, Unilever will work with governments and other organisations to improve access to water for communities in water-stressed areas. To accelerate its climate control actions, Unilever’s brands will collectively invest €1 billion in a new dedicated Climate & Nature Fund. This will be used over the next ten years to take meaningful and decisive action, with projects likely to include landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation.

“ we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us ”

The new initiatives will build on the great work that is already underway, such as Ben & Jerry’s initiative to reduce GHG emissions from dairy farms; Seventh Generation advocating for clean energy for all; and Knorr supporting farmers to grow food more sustainably. Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, explains: “While the world is dealing with the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and grappling with serious issues of inequality, we can’t let ourselves forget that the climate crisis is still a threat to all of us. Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity, all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously. In doing so we must also recognise that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency; it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action by our brands.”



20-20 Vision

Fighting the climate crisis Unilever’s existing science-based targets to have no carbon emissions from our its operations, and to halve the GHG footprint of its products across the value chain, by 2030. In response to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, the company is also committing to net zero emissions from all its products by 2039. This is from the sourcing of the materials we use, right up to the point of sale of in-store products.To achieve this goal 11 years ahead of the 2050 Paris Agreement deadline, Unilever must work jointly with its partners across the value chain, in order to collectively drive lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The company is therefore, prioritising the building of partnerships with its suppliers who have set and committed to their own science-based sustainability targets. Jope added, “We believe that transparency about carbon footprint will be an accelerator in the global race to zero emissions, and it is our ambition to communicate the carbon footprint of every product we sell. To do this, we will set up a system for our suppliers to declare, on each invoice, the carbon footprint of the goods and services provided; and we will create partnerships with other businesses and organisations to standardise data collection, sharing and communication.

“ The race to zero must be a collective effort ” “The race to zero must be a collective effort, and business alone cannot drive the transition at the speed that is required. We call on all governments to set ambitious net-zero targets, as well as short term emissions reduction targets, supported with enabling policy frameworks such as carbon pricing”.

Regenerating nature Unilever has been leading the FMCG industry on sustainable sourcing practices for over a decade, and are justly proud that 89% of its forest-related commodities are certified as sustainably sourced to globally recognised standards. However, to end deforestation, the company must challenge itself to achieve even higher standards. This means that it needs to have visibility on exact sourcing locations, and no longer rely on the mass balance system, which does not allow for accurate verification of deforestation-free when sourcing derivatives of its commodities.


Unilever told SPN, In addition to continuing to drive sustainable sourcing and an end to deforestation, Unilever is setting out to help regenerate nature by increasing local biodiversity, restoring soil health, and preserving water conservation and access. To do this, it will empower a new generation of farmers and smallholders who are committed to protecting and regenerating their own farm environments. New initiatives will include securing legal land rights, access to finance and financial inclusion, and development of restorative practices. This integrated approach will improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and give them leverage to drive the regeneration of nature. Unilever will also join the 2030 Water Resources Group, a multi-stakeholder platform hosted by the World Bank, to contribute to transformative change and building resilience in water management in key water-stressed markets, such as India, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Surpassing sustainable packaging goals Unilever, owner of brands such as Dove, Seventh Generation and Magnum, continues to make progress towards its ambitious commitments for a waste-free world, despite the challenging environment created by Covid-19. Unilever’s commitments remain unchanged and the company has significantly stepped up its use of recycled plastic to surpass its sustainable packaging goals. Last year, Unilever became the first major consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastic reduction across its portfolio. By 2025, the company confirmed it will halve its use of virgin plastic by reducing its use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic. Unilever continues to explore new ways of delivering products through its ‘Less, is better, no plastic framework. Through ‘Less Plastic’ Unilever has explored new packaging formats, including recyclable Carte d’Or ice cream tubs made from paper, and Comfort expanded its ultra-concentrated fabric conditioner which has a 57% smaller dosage than any other product on the market. It requires less water to produce and needs less packaging, thereby saving resources and waste. In France, Signal has launched a toothbrush with a replaceable head. It uses a metal handle, PCR material in the replaceable heads and reduces virgin plastic by 95%.

20-20 Vision

“ Unilever is setting out to help regenerate nature by increasing local biodiversity, restoring soil health, and preserving water conservation and access ”

Love, Beauty and Planet has launched concentrated shampoo and conditioners which provide the same number of uses as a regular sized bottle and use 50% less plastic. ‘Better plastic’ has also led to one of the world’s biggest beauty brands, Dove, move to 100% recycled plastic bottles where technically feasible in North America and Europe. Other brands which use 100% recycled plastic include: Hellmann’s recycled plastic jars and bottles in North America, pioneer sweet soy sauce Bango in Indonesia, and Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid in South Africa, Italy, Argentina, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. In Germany, Seventh Generation has launched bottles made from locally-sourced recycled plastic from Hamburg, where they are sold. In addition, Magnum will roll out 7 million ice-cream tubs made with food grade recycled plastic. OMO (Persil) is re-launching its liquid detergent with changes to its packaging and formulation to significantly reduce the environmental impact of the product. The new bottle is 100% recyclable, made using 50% recycled plastic. This launch is part of Unilever’s new ‘Clean Future’ commitment to lower the carbon footprint of their cleaning and laundry products. Richard Slater, Unilever’s Chief R&D Officer says: “To tackle the root causes of plastic waste we need to think differently about packaging. We need bold innovations that challenge existing designs, materials and business models. Our priority is to fundamentally rethink our approach to packaging, and pave the way for new solutions such as reusable and refillable formats. By adopting a ‘test, learn and refine’ mentality, we’ve developed innovative solutions that will help people cut their use of plastic for good.

“One product doing just that is our ultra-concentrated formula for OMO which is diluted at home and uses 72% less plastic. “After a successful launch in Brazil, we’re now rolling this out in other countries across Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Similarly, our Cif Ecorefill started out as a pilot in the UK and has since been rolled out across Europe, Canada and Australia. It’s still early days. But by making refill and reuse formats more widely available, accessible, and affordable, we hope to use our scale and reach to drive lasting change.” SPN will continue to monitor and support the major contribution that Unilever is making towards global sustainability and the circular economy.


Digital Digest

Digital rivalry Digital packaging is gaining ground and is unrivalled when it comes to personalised printing and short run operations. It is ideal for those seeking a fully integrated, inline digital solution in order to make short-run packaging effective, affordable, and fast. Xerox Automated Packaging Solutions for the Xerox® iGen® family have access to vibrant digital inkjet colour (even on porous corrugated containerboard), producing rich graphics and hard-to-produce greyscales. With digital packaging, you can enhance your customer partnership and maximise the profitability of your company. This specialisation not only provides maximum flexibility when responding to your customers’ requirements but also gives you the ability to outpace the competition.

Digital packaging offers more • • • • • • •

Innovative packaging designs through digital technology Pioneering business opportunities, ahead of your competition New production possibilities with your market-leading solutions Ability to print multiple versions in a single job Variable data printing options Opportunity to print prototypes Capacity for rapid job changeover


Costs and lead times are dramatically reduced while speed to market is increased with print-on-demand workflow. Faster lead times reduce inventory costs and waste. Companies can rely upon improved workflow and the efficiency of their business with inline digital print packaging solutions. It is also possible to enhance your capacity and productivity with an automated solution designed for quick changeovers. Personalised/target marketing is a simple operation, with digital packaging solutions offering the flexibility to tailor packaging and marketing to suit a customer’s needs. Costs and lead times are dramatically reduced while speed to market is increased with print-on-demand workflow. Faster lead times reduce inventory costs and waste. Companies can rely upon improved workflow and the efficiency of their business with inline digital print packaging solutions. It is also possible to enhance your capacity and productivity with an automated solution designed for quick changeovers. Personalised/target marketing is a simple operation, with digital packaging solutions offering the flexibility to tailor packaging and marketing to suit a customer’s needs.


Top marks The Digimarc Platform delivers data redundancy that makes automatic identification of certain packaging components easier during manufacturing. This could improve accuracy rates for in-line inspection systems to read labels with alternatives such as Data Matrix codes, especially on difficult shapes such as cylinders. The solution includes Digimarc Barcode for packaging with extended data for parts numbers, and Digimarc Discover software, which enables scanning by inspection system cameras and even consumer smartphones.

More Customised Data Digimarc Barcode contains traditional UPC/EAN barcode information plus extra custom data. This capability enables manufacturers to include asset identification numbers for artwork versions and other purposes. Digimarc enables manufacturers to automatically verify these numbers are correct on front-and-back labels or cartons and lids, helping reduce mismatch errors that cause costly product recalls, lawsuits and erosion of consumer trust. Consumers today expect product transparency. In addition to its quality control benefits on the inspection line, adding Digimarc Barcode to packaging provides an opportunity for consumers to scan product packaging and labels to access more information on their phones.

The solution includes Digimarc Barcode for packaging with extended data for parts numbers, and Digimarc Discover software, which enables scanning by inspection system cameras and even consumer smartphones.

Reduced Food Recalls Food recalls cost $10 million in direct costs alone, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Digimarc Platform can help reduce manufacturing errors for consumer brands, supporting better quality control, cost containment and protecting or increasing profit margins.

Greater Reliability for Label Inspections The Digimarc Platform delivers data redundancy that makes automatic identification of certain packaging components easier during manufacturing. This could improve accuracy rates for in-line inspection systems to read labels with alternatives such as Data Matrix codes, especially on difficult shapes such as cylinders.




More Transparent Packaging Emerging packaging trends of the future By analysing emerging technology, global packaging trends, and market projections, we can get a pretty good glimpse into what the packaging industry will potentially look like by 2028 and beyond. In this article, we’ll go over everything from sustainability, design (smart packaging) to machine automation to manufacture, to operations including AI and block-chain technology and more.

Convenience driving innovation In the future consumers will be able to enjoy an all-inclusive shopping experience. Instead of, for example, a few branded hair & beauty items, it will be customary to offer full-spectrum personal care experiences that go beyond the brand and appeal to customers mentally, emotionally, and sensually. With new technological advances, there will be a shift away from mass production and more towards innovative and specialized brand packaging to serve specified products and services. While we all recognise our classic cardboard boxes, bags and bottles, the future may be reshaping these classics we’ve all grown up with. With growing consumer demands comes a growing need for convenience. Convenience calls for innovative upgrades and technological advancements that unlock new doors of opportunities for businesses. Let’s explore some changes that we may expect to see in the packaging industry.


Dissolvable Packaging Edible packaging is an interesting and innovative alternative that alleviates the reliance on fossil fuels and has the potential to significantly decrease our carbon footprint, which is exactly what consumers are already looking for. Using raw materials extracted from algae, natural sweeteners and natural dyes using the skins of fruits and vegetables shows a lot of potential for offering the food industry a variety of options with regards to colours, designs and more. Furthermore, it offers an exciting experience for customers that goes beyond the packaging, seeing as they will be consuming the packaging too!


Edible packaging has been explored and continues to establish credibility and functionality with edible water bubbles entering the market in 2013. According to Design Boom the London-based sustainable packaging start-up wants to transfer from simply selling their water bubbles from pop-ups to challenging plastic waste on a global scale, piloting their water bubbles at major sporting events in 2018. It is estimated that the edible packaging industry is growing at a CAGR of 6.81% from 2017 to 2023. This innovative way to combat plastics may be becoming a norm sooner than we think!

Reducing waste Reducing waste is not limited to the food and drink industry, but also to household items. We have seen a huge emergence of water dissolvable packaging for dishwashing and laundry detergents, and this is becoming more normalized and part of the mainstream as time goes on. Moreover, corn starch based packaging seems to be gaining more popularity in the retail industry as well as the food and beverage industry Items such as bags, take away containers and cutlery made from corn starch are gaining more attention in many industries, especially in fast food.From a customer perspective, this will seem like an attractive option due to the growth of the eco-conscious consumer.

Space Saving Packaging Storing and transporting mass amounts of packaging is also seen as less eco-friendly as planes, boats and trucks transport packages to mass warehouses to be stored and ultimately end up in a landfill if stock isn’t sold or customers get their hands on product packaging they don’t see a use for. Especially in the food and beverage packaging industry, a lot goes to waste. Seeing an increase in space-saving packaging to reduce mass transport, storage and waste. So, what does space saving packaging mean for the packaging design industry? We are looking at more square or rectangular packaging for stacking and storage purposes. This doesn’t seem like the most exciting design change considering we have had square or rectangular shaped beverage packaging for a while. However, this concept is already gaining a fair amount of attention. Boxed Water became very trendy amongst social media platforms since its release in 2009. This concept is already starting to become a norm in the drinks and beverage industries.

Boxed beverages also ties into sustainability because the use of plastic for the production of boxed drinks is significantly reduced, leaving it to paper and aluminium to do the job.

Smarter, More Intelligent Packaging Also known as intelligent and active packaging, smart packaging is seeing enormous growth in the packaging industry today. According to Grand View Research, smart packaging revenues came in at $10.8 billion in 2015 and are expected to reach $26.7 billion by 2024. From a consumer perspective, smart packaging offers many value-added benefits, including enhanced unboxing experiences, eye-catching visuals, product preservation and protection, authentication, security, and connectivity.

“ For brands and companies, a new world of communication is opening up ” For brands and companies, a new world of communication is opening up. With the opportunity to track consumer behaviours with more convenience, this type of packaging offers a more tailored experience to your target market, thus allowing companies to meet their consumer demands more effectively. Whilst smart packaging doesn’t offer new shapes to our classics, it does reshape the purpose and capabilities of packaging, allowing the packaging industry to explore the unknown. We may see the implementation of two primary technologies: printed electronics and nano-technology.

Printed Electronics Printed electronics are seen in the form of near-field communication (NFC); radio-frequency identification (RFID); ambient intelligence; smart LEDs/OLEDs; and compact power sources, screens, sensors, and data storage offering consumers a level of interaction never seen before. Advanced materials and printed electronics with smart LEDs/OLEDs will bring a new level of product interaction, infotainment, digital sales aids, and online connection. In simple terms – sensor activated screens that are part of the packaging design and huge part of the customer experience. Recently, Karl Knauer and INURU GmbH partnered to create an illuminated Coca-Cola label using printed OLEDs, receiving the German Design Award for their innovative work.




Box clever… and stay cool Mondi expands its sustainable e-commerce portfolio with its new BCoolBox, designed to transport fresh food with 100% recyclable packaging that keeps food fresh all the way to the consumer. The innovative packaging maintains a consistent temperature, mitigates food waste and removes the need to use cooling trucks. This is in addition to catering for the needs of the expanding online shopping market. Mondi, a leading global packaging and paper manufacturer, introduces its latest e-commerce innovation. The BCoolBox is a 100% recyclable and offers a reliable packaging solution to keep perishable food cool whilst in transit. With this new product innovation, food stays fresh from the store to the consumer or a pick-up station and offers online retailers the opportunity to expand their geographical reach for deliveries. The benefits of Mondi’s BCoolBox include a corrugated packaging solution with thermo-insulation that keeps food chilled below 7°C for up to 24 hours. Its inner corrugated panels enclose the shipment from all sides, providing enhanced insulation. In addition it has the ability to use different cooling agents and is made entirely from recycled material and is thus 100% recyclable.


The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted the e-grocery business. During the 2020 European lockdown, 28% of people in urban areas used online shopping as their main channel for buying groceries – a 10% increase compared to before the pandemic. Furthermore, 80% of European consumers who started buying groceries online plan to continue doing so. Mondi said it is proud to introduce a reliable solution that is proven to handle all the challenges that online food retailers face. After having tested various scenarios, the company came up with a formula for the perfect packaging composition. “Our approach is to listen to our customers and evaluate their needs along the entire supply chain. Our aspiration is to create packaging for the e-commerce sector that is sustainable by design. This corrugated packaging solution expands our wide offer for the online food shopping market.” said Tarik Aniba, Sales & Marketing Director Corrugated Solutions at Mondi.


P&G Meeting its goals on sustainability

P&G unveils refillable paper packaging Kirstin Linnenkoper reported recently that in an effort to help reduce plastic waste, Procter & Gamble has created a line of refillable packaging for its deodorants Secret and Old Spice. The 100% aluminium-free, recyclable paper tube cases are available across the US as of this month. The easy-to-use, refillable packaging is made of 90% recycled paperboard, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Both types were manufactured without any single-use plastic. The refills have a retail price of EUR 6.50, ‘making this one of the most affordable refill options on the market today’, the producer said.

Once consumers have used up the deodorant, they can easily crush the empty paperboard case and drop the package right into their recycling bin. She is confident this no-hassle packaging will convince people to use the product long-term, and make it easy to recycle.

We know the most sustainable choices for consumers are not always the most affordable – and that limits the impact we can have on our environment,’ comments Freddy Bharucha, senior vice president, P&G Personal Care. ‘By providing sustainable solutions for both antiperspirants and aluminium free deodorants at some of the most affordable prices on the market, we’re able to make sustainable choices a reality for more consumers.’ Featuring a signature push-pop design, ‘much like lipstick’, the packaging releases the product ‘with a simple twist’, adds Anitra Marsh, vice president, sustainability, citizenship and communications, P&G Beauty.




To leave your product unchanged and the world unharmed We wish to play a part in the global shift towards a low carbon circular economy. Our Pure-Pak® carton solution is a premium line packaging choice. It is the environmentally friendly alternative for the widest range of liquids, making Elopak the complete industry partner for the future.



ASDA’s new paper trail In another sustainability ‘coup’, the packaging manufacturing giant, DS Smith announced in February this year that it is supporting ASDA in order to help it to replace over one million pieces of unnecessary plastic from its POS displays. The breakthrough comes after a re-evaluation of an in-store feature that many often take for granted: price ticket holders on the edge of shelves known as ‘shelfedge-labels’. or “SEL’s”. ASDA recognised that these were adopted by the temporary point-of-sale industry from permanent shop fixtures as a quick and easy solution to display price labels. The challenge with SEL holders is that these have been widely accepted as a standard and easy application for displaying price tickets on temporary cardboard displays. However, the nature of the type of plastic used in these fixtures (PVC) means that when they reach the end of their life, they cannot be disposed of in a sustainable way. By undertaking rigorous trials a solution to use a special adhesive was reached which could eliminate plastic altogether. The move has been shown to be beneficial to both ASDA and to the environment – it means that less than 5% of point-of-sale displays now contain plastic, as such recovering fibres in the recycling process is more efficient and store operation workload is reduced when separating materials at the back of stores.

As a result, ASDA is looking to adapt these point-ofsale guidelines more widely - a simple but effective reassessment that will have savings of approximately 8 tonnes of plastic waste and 21 tonnes of CO2 each year. The move is the latest in a strong partnership between ASDA and DS Smith which began over seven years ago. Concurrently, ASDA is targeting a 15% reduction on own brand plastic by the end of 2021 while DS Smith, which is known for its sustainable business model, has its own sustainability target to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic from supermarket shelves by 2025. Last year both parties began this journey with an initiative which reduced plastic on point-of-sale displays by 15%; with the latest SEL initiative rolling out it will mean displays in ASDA will get close to being entirely plastic free.




Stretching the point Innovation is alive and well at FreeForm packaging in Sweden where they are launching a one-sided stretchable laminate based on 85 percent paper called ‘Standard Paper Out’. This all-new laminate swaps the traditional polythene (PE) layer on the outside with paper with a paper based one. It provides an appealing tactile touch, whilst reducing plastic use and substantially improving recyclability. Interestingly, the task of creating a stretchable laminate with durable sealing qualities proved to be a considerable R&D headache for FreeForm. “If you blow up a balloon, you stress that balloon quite a lot. And that’s what we have to do. It has been very tricky to make a definitive packaging shape that can handle that kind of constant stress,” FreeForm CEO Danevert Åsbrink said. ‘Standard Paper Out’ is suitable for various dry food and non-food packaging, ranging from candy to soap and powders. The paper laminate, which consists of 85 percent paper, 13 percent PE and 2 percent adhesive, has been several years in development and in the making. Up until now, FreeForm had only been able to offer laminates with PE on both sides to ensure excellent sealing properties. Its stretchable quality is “not normal” to the packaging market, and thus allows for bespoke shapes and sizes, far outside of the standard can or bottle constraints. In addition to the infinitely customisable shapes, the company’s paper’s natural look and feel have also proved to be very attractive to consumers.



The new laminate creates formable paper packaging that is very pleasing to the touch. A feature that consumers have been looking for, for a very long time. It is well understood that the increased use of paper can significantly improve recyclability rates. “One-sided” paper laminates have been in constant demand by brand owners who have two-sided laminates on their “red lists”. FreeForm told SPN that paper fibres embedded into a double-sided laminate can still be recycled, but one-sided laminates enable the total amount of packaging fibres to be retrieved. Using such mono-materials can elevate brand owners to the “green list,” and there still remains a huge market for multi-materials and companies active in this field who are looking to improve their environmental packaging credentials. FreeForm’s next step will be to reduce the PE inside layer, with a view to 100% elimination of plastic in the future. FreeForm Packaging is a Swedish company owned by Italybased Curti and the Sweden-based company BillerudKorsnäs.

Increasing versatility Globally the race is on to achieve 100% recycling rates throughout the packaging industry. The movement towards greater use of paper for packaging is gaining momentum thanks to its increasing versatility. Currently in Europe, paper packaging is recycled around four times a year. However, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely as the fibres become too short and can no longer be used to create new paper products. This is where virgin wood fibres play an important role, as Philip Yorke reports. Paper packaging is fundamental to helping us achieve a truly circular economy and has the benefit of being based on wood fibres which are renewable, recyclable and sustainable. Paper is recycled on average four times a year in Europe, however, it cannot be recycled indefinitely as fibres become too short and therefore can no longer be used to manufacture new paper commercially.

Hence, virgin wood fibres from trees are needed to continue the cycle. These new fibres come from renewable, sustainably-managed forests and continue the circular loop. In order to maintain quality, it’s important that paper is collected separately from other materials. It can then be sorted and graded to determine its end uses. Then the recovered paper can be mixed with water so that the fibres can be recovered. During this process, contaminants are removed, the fibres cleaned and if necessary, ink is removed. The resulting pulp may then be used to produce 100% recycled paper. Responsibly harvested virgin fibres make a major contribution to maintaining the quality characteristics required across a broad range of innovative packaging products.





Pure Sustainability Elopak is leading the global drive for greater sustainability and one clear expression of its mission can be found in the company’s latest Pure-Pak cartons. Elopak is fully committed to moving forward as sustainably as possible, whether it is with its high-quality beverage cartons or across the entire breadth of its diverse company operations.

“ Elopak’s most environmentally friendly carton to date ”



Interestingly, Elopak was the first carbon-neutral company in the industry to offer carbon-neutral cartons and was also the first to produce 100% renewable cartons made entirely from wood. When it comes to beverages, cartons have unrivalled environmental credentials when compared with alternatives such as plastic bottles. A recent Lifecycle Assessment Study showed that in comparison to PET bottles, sustainably produced UHT milk cartons resulted in 70.7% less CO2 emissions and in the case of fresh milk it was a massive 83.6% less. In its on-going drive for sustainability Elopak has been pushing this advantage still further and recently reduced the carbon footprint of its cartons by a further 20%.

Sustainability in partnership With its focus on innovation, Elopak works in close partnership with its customers to help them achieve their sustainability goals by reducing the overall environmental footprint of their finished products. Elopak’s special cartons also help to keep the product safe and fresh, thus minimising waste whilst supporting the effective communication of the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Innovation and collaboration are central to Elopak’s innovative approach to a greener planet. Since 2017 Elopak has increased its research and development spending by more than 25%, thus allowing it to explore new ways to make the company’s iconic Pure-Pak® cartons more sustainable and recyclable than ever. Recent innovative developments include Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons, which are 100% renewable, recyclable and offer a much lower CO2 footprint than conventional cartons. This is due to their significantly reduced wood consumption and the important elimination of the bleaching process. Their rustic, natural look effectively communicates this commitment to sustainability and in turn enhances the products unique shelf appeal.

The carton is an futuristic version of the company’s original Pure-Pak® carton, containing 46% less plastic and now designed with a new easy-open feature. In addition, it has no plastic screw cap, thus making it Elopak’s most environmentally friendly carton to date. Among those to have adopted the ‘Pure-Pak® Imagine’ carton is the multinational European dairy cooperative: FrieslandCampina. Campina Organic is now available in its advanced environment-friendly packaging in line with the dairy’s ‘Nourishing a better planet’ sustainability programme. The new packaging saves 38% CO2 emissions compared to the earlier packaging, with any remaining emissions fully compensated to ensure that it remains completely ‘climate neutral’. While Elopak’s Pure-Pak® cartons are already renewable and recyclable, the company continues to push itself to become ever more sustainable. Having reduced emissions by 70% between 2008 and 2018, Elopak is now working towards a 55 per cent reduction of internal emissions by 2030, and a 16 per cent reduction across the value chain by 2030 from a 2017 baseline. This is in line with its status as one of the first companies to have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative, which is a commitment to keep the rise in global average temperature below 1.5°C. It is no surprise therefore that Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons have quickly become a firm favourite with its customers and in February 2021 the volume produced of these cartons surpassed one billion units. Their lower CO2 footprint means an estimated 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been eliminated as a result. This is equivalent to approximately 1,400 roundtrip flights for one person between London and New York. SPN congratulates Elopak on its dedicated drive for global sustainability and sees this result as an iconic achievement in itself!

Forest-based future Since its launch, Elopak’s Natural Brown Board cartons has served as a platform for further sustainabilityfocused innovations, these include the latest ‘Pure-Pak® Imagine carton’ which was launched in 2020 and is 100% forest-based.



Printing Inks

Seeing 3D printing in perspective 3D printing has been around for quite some time and it has been cited as one of the fasted growing areas in the digital printing industry. With the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic, 3D printing became an invaluable tool for the design and manufacture of PPE, as Philip Yorke reports. In September 2016, “Ghost Busters” buses carried the iconic ‘No-Ghost’ Logo using 3D print across the US. Each print measuring 4.30 meters in height. Recently FESPA researched the most popular 3D printers and technologies, excerpts of which are published here for the benefit of our SPN reader’s, courtesy of Sonja Angerer FESPA.


Printing Inks

In recent years, many digital 3D printing companies spent a great deal of time and money exploring the potential of 3D printing. FESPA is a global federation of 37 national associations for the screen printing, digital printing and textile printing community. The federation carries out regular research into market trends and opportunities, and in 2019 listed the top 20 3D prints for that year. At the beginning of 2020 when COVID-19 started to emerge globally, 3D printing technology was quickly employed to help save lives. Masks and visors were being 3D printed and it is this new technology that will most likely prove to be a life saver for printers post Covid.

“ At the beginning of 2020 when COVID-19 started to emerge globally, 3D printing technology was quickly employed to help save lives” What market related reasons caused 3D printing technology not to be successful? With shops, cinemas, theatres and trade shows closed in several countries, the main opportunities for 3D print applications have been halted until the pandemic situation improves. The technology industry is struggling to restore their supply chains, slowing down the development of new products. The latest 3D printers such as the new Mimaki 3DUJ-22, are much more affordable. Customers with a high demand for 3D prints are increasingly investing in their own printers. With the ongoing success of the construction industry, opportunities for outlets catering for the architectural design and real estate industry with 3D prints have flourished.

Looking to explore 3D printing? For printers with pre-existing customers or for those looking to explore a new market, 3D printing still offers new business opportunities. Once the economy has recovered from COVID-19 these opportunities will be even more numerous, as the number of 3D printer suppliers may be low. For other printers it may be beneficial to step back and rethink what 3D printing is and what it can provide. It is the art of creating items that previously only existed as digital data. However, this is not so different from other applications such as home décor or apparel print. While both lines of applications may require printers to change their industries, 3D printing offers end customers more unique and sustainably good products to buy. Online shopping has become the norm for customers where profound knowledge of online marketing tools still seem very much recommended. Most printers should have most of the equipment they need to re-focus on apparel and home décor already available. Venturing into those industries therefore should require much less of an investment than buying a 3D printer, but just as much dedication! In looking at the big picture, SPN is confident that the opportunities created by the latest 3D printing technology will stimulate growth and innovative solutions for the industry for years to come. In March 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, parts of masks and other medical equipment were 3D printed Photo: Isinnova

Many of these companies are not printers or repro shops but are model makers. Therefore, they have been part of the construction industry for a long time, which makes it easier to understand and to serve this market. However, this has made it harder for printers to get their foot into that particular door. Finally, there appears to be lack of attractive 3D content to print, as 3D print is not popular with everyone.




Siegwerk India

announces the launch of Mineral Oil-Free Ink Throughout the world, companies are more committed than ever to promoting sustainability and the circular economy. This latest move is in line with Siegwerk’s commitment to offer safer more sustainable and eco-friendly inks and comes after the initiative to manufacture Toluene free inks. Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH) can be considered as potential genotoxic carcinogens and can pose serious health issues including a risk of cancer for humans. Siegwerk is one of the leading global suppliers of printing inks for packaging applications and labels headquartered in Germany, has announced their decision to launch Mineral Oil free inks in India for packaging purposes. The inks supplied by Siegwerk from its plant at Bhiwadi (Rajasthan) will not contain mineral oils as an intentionally added substance, that comprises of two fractions - Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Mineral Oil Aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). Over the last 3 years, Siegwerk had taken up the pioneering initiative to remove the usage of another harmful substance, Toluene from its manufacturing process.

“ We understand the importance of safe packaging and are committed to providing safe inks” 36 SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING NEWS

While announcing the launch of the mineral oil-free ink, Mr. Ashish Pradhan, President of Siegwerk India and Greater China said, “Although the extent of impact on foodstuff is undetermined by the migration of mineral oil from the packaging, research shows that Mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) chemicals are likely to be easily absorbed by different tissues in humans. Siegwerk champions the use of Toluene free inks in India and now Siegwerk intends to offer mineral oil free inks only, thereby raising the bar on packaging safety and offering further advancements in terms of consumer safety”. Pradhan added, “We understand the importance of safe packaging and are committed to providing safe inks for all kind of applications and hence our decision on a Mineral oil -free operation in India. Our commitment will not only further improve the end-consumer’s safety, but also environmental safety, as we will not contribute anymore to the presence of mineral oils in the recycled stream”.


The true value of printing inks Take a look around your office and what do you see? A calendar on your wall. A newspaper on the table. That beautiful wallpaper you spent hours choosing. A carton of fruit juice. The latest novel you’re reading. Magazines, the holiday brochure for next year’s vacation, CDs, DVDs, a chocolate bar, your children’s school books. All the bright, colourful things in life depend on it, and we consume it without even noticing. Ink is the most important medium of communication, education and decoration in our society today. In today’s marketplace, ink, clear varnishes and coatings that are used to protect printed images, have to deal with a huge variety of conditions and requirements. We need ink to print on thousands of different substrates, and it has to withstand extremes of temperatures, humidity and weather conditions, being handled without rubbing off, or deliberately coming off when needed. In some of its more specialist applications ink conducts electricity, changes colour depending on temperature and helps protect against counterfeit and fraud. Nevertheless, the integrity of the printed image must always remain intact, as it is there to serve a purpose. On food packaging for example it displays dietary information, or storage and handling instructions to reduce the chance of wasted produce. In its most serious role, ink educates and informs, updating us on world events and warning us of danger. Ink also helps us to make life choices; which products to buy, what direction to travel in, what message to send our loved ones. In its most dramatic role it colours our lives and enhances a beautiful world for us to live in.

Tailor-made ink technology Modern inks are developed to meet specific print technology requirements and consumer preferences. In order to serve these demands, there are more than one million individual ink formulations in use today. These formulations are applied in all the different printing and/or coating processes; such as flexography, gravure, offset, screen, letterpress, non-impact printing and roller coating, and, depending on the process, they can be solvent-borne, water-borne, oleo-resinous or energy-curing (UV or electron beam) mixtures. Since one single formulation can never meet all the possible technological and end use requirements - for example an ink that perfectly meets the high demands for printing a newspaper on very high speed presses, will not be suitable for printing on plastic carrier bags - the manufacturers have formulated solutions to suit almost every known requirement of a printing ink. SPN also believes that for all these reasons, inks and coatings which protect, educate and enhance the lives of every one of us should not be taken for granted, but should be celebrated and enjoyed.




The future is bright

the future is e-commerce The great retail shopping shake-up is now in full swing and driven by the frustration caused by more than one year of Covid 19 lockdown constraints. This has left consumers with little option but to buy online. For many this was a new experience, but one that consumers of all ages have embraced with vigour. This unpredicted game-changer has affected almost every aspect of consumer spending behaviour. It is such a seismic event that at SPN we decided to publish in full the recent multifaceted report from Sam Saltis of eCommerce Marketing, which with contributions from other leading experts, clearly addresses the best way forward for those in the packaging industry, as well as for merchants.

“ it’s important to know the latest trends ”


Trending now. If you’re hoping to get more traction for your eCommerce brand, drive more traffic and convert that traffic into buying customers, then it’s important to know the latest trends shaping the industry. The year 2020 was a massive one for eCommerce given the effects of COVID. The pandemic sped up changes across several verticals, and that acceleration is expected to continue in some capacity as we move into 2021 and beyond.


Here are 10 eCommerce trends that you need to be aware of in 2021: 1. Customers will shop in marketplaces rather than eCommerce stores Businesses that didn’t even have a website before 2020 have suddenly come online. However, consumer behaviour continues to favour convenience. Many newer eCommerce businesses lack the backend infrastructure to cope with an increase in traffic and the requirements of shipping currently being placed on them. On the other hand, companies such as Amazon and Walmart have the experience and infrastructure required to satisfy today’s customers. Other niche marketplaces such as Etsy continue to grow to accommodate new digital entrepreneurs. Nick Hayes of Randy’s Worldwide explains, “As shoppers realize the ease of shopping in a marketplace is easier and more convenient than shopping on multiple eCommerce stores - with the mental satisfaction of 2-3 day shipping and free returns on most items and most marketplaces, consumers will expect the same from all other eCommerce sites. The bar has been set. Big eCommerce companies offer the best of both worlds: they provide value to consumers, low barrier to entry for brands to sell online, and user-generated content that perpetuates both product and content relevance as well as search rank.” How to take advantage: Think of it as another channel and diversify your brand by listing products on marketplaces. Whilst it’s important to grow your digital presence through a website or eCommerce store, the most critical thing is your customer’s convenience.

“ The solution is to drive visitors to your site by offering them limited edition products that create urgency and scarcity ” 2. Online buying will not be limited to B2C products Disruption wasn’t merely a buzzword in 2020 as businesses accelerated their digital transformation efforts amid global changes. Consumers with no other alternative turned to eCommerce to get everything necessary for their daily lives.Suddenly food, fashion and gadgets weren’t the only things people could purchase online and have delivered to their doors. Groceries, furniture and even vehicle parts have joined the list. These changes to buying habits might slow down slightly as people are able to return to their regular routines, but they certainly won’t stop. The shift of eCommerce from something people became dependent on rather than a simple convenience will mean that brands need to adapt their strategies accordingly. Whether you’re a manufacturer, B2B or something else, start selling D2C or D2B The products you’re selling can now be bought online. You simply need to make it easier for your customers to buy from you. You can start by creating an online catalogue which contains all of your products. Next, build a user-friendly buying experience by augmenting that catalogue with relevant content.

If you’re just starting out or have a brand with low exposure, become a seller on your industry’s top marketplaces. This way, you can take advantage of the high traffic reach, swift shipping and overall experience of these larger companies. However, be careful not to only rely on these marketplaces. You don’t own the customer data when you sell your products on sites like Amazon which can be a limit for your brand growth. The solution is to drive visitors to your site by offering them limited edition products that create urgency and scarcity.




3. Self-service platforms will continue to rise in popularity Getting started online was once a long and painstaking process. But, 2020 has changed the narrative and shown us how quickly small businesses and solopreneurs can digitally pivot their businesses. “The trend for 2021 will favour platforms that deploy & sell quickly online, without the need for a small army of developers & consultants,” says Chris Byrne, CEO of Sensorpro.

5. Omnichannel selling will be the norm Lauren Davis of Just After Midnight put it this way: “Omnichannel selling will become the new normal. We’re really seeing this with the public cloud platforms moving into this space with tools like Amazon Personalize and Pinpoint. This could potentially be disruptive in an interesting way, but the bottom line is omnichannel selling, and those kinds of capabilities will be cheaper and more accessible.

Rather than going the expensive route the first time around with your eCommerce store, search for platforms that can help you get up to speed quickly. If your brand is already established, consider creating templated content that can help your audience get up to speed quickly with using your products or solving a problem.

2021 will be the year this moves from something some are doing to something most are doing.”Most businesses are already aware that customers want to view content in multiple ways. Tablets, mobile phones and desktops are just the beginning. And like we’ve mentioned in other trends, brands are discovering new ways to sell their products through social media.

“ The trend for 2021 will favour platforms that deploy & sell quickly online, without the need for a small army of developers & consultants ”

Amazon Pinpoint and Amazon Personalise are two products from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enable brands to improve the customer experience and communicate with customers across multiple channels.

4. Shoppable video ads on social media Social media consumption won’t slow down in 2021, and brands will begin to advertise in different ways on channels such as TikTok and Instagram. According to Digital Growth Initiator Eduard Klein, “Zoomers spend hours scrolling TikTok and Instagram feeds. Merchants are in seventh heaven; video is the perfect channel for reaching the curious young target audience. Gen-Z can make buying decisions literally from their social media feed, and videos let them shop straight away.”Brands have already started to get a lot of value from placing ads in stories on apps like Instagram and Snapchat, so this is just the next step in the evolution of social media selling. This year we’ve seen Facebook launch Instagram Shops and Shopify partner with TikTok. In 2021, we’ll see what brands can do with these changes. Video provides another dimension when it comes to marketing your products. If you’re a D2C brand, then record videos of your top-performing products and place them on the social media platforms where your audience can be found the most. Your videos can vary from unboxing videos to tutorials or explainer videos. Product images can even be converted into a slideshow and user-generated content can be reposted to capitalize on the video frenzy.


Start by doing a deep dive into your customer and understand the things that matter the most to them and the channels they frequently visit. Today’s customers are seeking a cohesive buying experience across multiple channels. To facilitate this, brands need to use headless commerce architecture that delivers content and products to any screen or device with the help of APIs. It can be enticing to want to be everywhere, but you should start by focusing on the channels where your customers go the most and sell to them there.

6. Analytics will flourish In the world of eCommerce, customer data will continue to gain value. Many brands focus on the basic, but vital metrics provided to them, such as click-through-rate on specific campaigns and conversion metrics that indicate where the bulk of traffic and sales are coming from. However, as we roll forward in 2021, many will uncover data capabilities and get even more granular. Vanhishikha Bhargava of Contensify explains, “Segmentation is going to go beyond just one-time sales and loyal customers. It’s going to be a lot about how they interact with your eCommerce business. Knowing who your price-sensitive customers are. Knowing which one of your customers would rather buy full-price and who are more likely to abandon carts, and so on.”


In order to take advantage, see what data you currently have available about your customers and your eCommerce stores. Are you able to gather enough insights from it? If not, see if you can upgrade to another tier that enables you to really drill down into the data.

In 2021, a trend we will see is brands looking to influencers as content creators to support the content creation process in lieu of a content agency. We’ll also see brands add paid media spend to this content so that they can control the reach and audience.

If you can’t, see what other analytics platforms can help you as better data can yield better results, such as:

“It is time to reach out to influencers in your niche area and get them to help create content for your business:

• • • •

Segment your audience by geographical location, age and gender, buying habits, total spend, and more. Determine which channels led your customers to your store. Understand which content leads to the most conversions. Generate ready-made reports. Integrate with your CRM, CMS and more to gain a 360-degree view of your eCommerce business.

As Bhargava points out, “This will take the ability to personalize campaigns to a new level. You can apply the same to products. Knowing what’s trending, what’s not, what’s refunded or returned the most, is a great way to timely pick up on changes in consumer needs. Getting to save up on inventory holding costs, will give eCommerce businesses more mileage and resources for marketing and growing their business.”

• • • •

Make a list of local or micro influencers that share your brand value. Build a relationship with them by helping them to grow their audience first and/or providing free merchandise. Give them the freedom to create the way they want to create. Pro tip: Take advantage of NEW features on social media platforms since the algorithm rewards the adoption of these new features. Instagram get more organic reach than regular posts or stories. So, every time there’s a new feature, get on the bandwagon and experiment.

Influencer content doesn’t need to be limited to ads for B2C companies either as the goal should be about providing value for your customers. For example, the Dell Luminaries podcast explores IT transformation and business growth through discussions with tech experts.

7. Influencers will become brand partners Most eCommerce brands have tapped into influencers over the years to leverage their vast audiences. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry was expected to reach $9.7B in 2020. Why is influencer marketing such a major boon for eCommerce brands? Jordie Black of ZINE breaks it down for us, “Many eCommerce brands have a content problem - in that they are unable to create enough content at scale to support their marketing efforts.




8. AI will get less artificial and more beneficial In previous years many of the benefits of artificial intelligence were a bit early to be realized in eCommerce, but that will change dramatically in 2021. As concepts such as machine learning and chatbots become more mainstream, brands can leverage AI to yield real business impact. For example, AI can already be used to make recommendations for what customers should purchase next based on their history. Brands can also leverage concepts such as voice search to position their products in front of customers. AI will also be able to assist on the backend and help in making inventory predictions. Consider buying into AI and don’t see it as something for the future. Start by using AI tools that can help you streamline your marketing, improve the customer experience or perform critical tasks for your business much faster. For example, SparkToro crawls social profiles to determine which podcasts, social profiles and more are popular with your audience. The time for AI is now, and many brands are always using it to their advantage. Dylan Max of Netomi points out that: “Retailers are turning to artificial intelligence to improve everything from operations and inventory management to create good customer service and loyal customers.” There are many tasks which eCommerce brands might have hired a virtual assistant to cover that AI can help you tackle, allowing you to put your human resources in more creative roles.

9. Personalisation will go beyond making a purchase to making a bond Customers much prefer when their experience is tailored to their unique needs. Smarter HQ has learned that 72% of customers only engage with personalized messaging. While personalisation was initially limited to email marketing, customer expectations and technology capabilities have changed what is possible.


How to make the most of it: Personalisation aims to create a long-lasting customer relationship by recording information about your customer (with their consent) and using it to remember things like the last time they made a purchase, the types of items they usually buy, and then provide recommendations for next steps. For example, Enfamil requests the due date of babies from pregnant mothers when prompting them to sign up for an email list. This allows them to provide relevant information throughout the pregnancy and as the baby develops. Brands should also use information stored in a CRM database to create a personalized customer service experience, no matter where a customer chooses to interact, whether via email, phone or another channel.

10. Green consumerism will grow in popularity Sustainability is no longer reserved for a few brands. In fact, changes in the economic, cultural and social landscape in many countries worldwide have shifted the focus towards making products that protect the environment. Brands such as Amazon have taken the pledge towards sustainability, and other eCommerce brands are likely to be following suit as humans look for ways to reduce waste and preserve the earth for future generations. Green consumers are also flexing their purchasing power, with 65% of buyers wanting to make purchases from brands that aim for sustainability according to the Harvard Business Review. Now is the time to analyse your current products to determine if they are being made through sustainable processes or with sustainable materials. If they aren’t, consider making changes to adopt a more sustainable process by reducing the amount of packaging waste or outlining ways for your customers to recycle your products when they’re finished with them. SPN hopes that this recently published report will help our readers to optimise the diverse opportunities


Learn how and Learn howto toreduce reducepackaging packaging and automate your banding. ats-tanner.com automate yourprocesses processeswith with banding. ats-tanner.com

Online retail sees rapid growth Banding helps automate processes while reducing packaging material and waste.

The world’s leading e-commerce companies use banding for fully automated packaging and labeling of shipping cartons, or for forming units to optimise internal logistics. Bands combine multi-item orders into clearly defined logistical units, as a result, more and more e-commerce companies are relying on variable, just-in-time cardboard packaging. This automates the packaging process, lowers storage costs and drastically reduces material consumption for shipping cartons and filling material. Bands combine multi-item orders into logistical units for safe and fully automatic packaging in customised shipping cartons. Automatic measuring, banding and labeling are achieved in just one step. For many e-commerce retailers, banding machines also handle the fully automatic sealing of shipping cartons of different sizes. In this process, several sensors take over the measuring of the boxes. Depending on the application, the bands can also be printed. For example, large companies use it, to optimise the handling of their returns and to improve the efficiency of their warehousing operations. Other key benefits include fewer work steps, fewer machines and less energy consumption. Banding machines can weld bands using ultrasound. They are extremely reliable and durable. Energy consumption is significantly lower compared to shrink tunnels or other packaging machines. Integrated thermal transfer printers can also print variable information, such as the weight transferred from a scale via an interface, the production date, or the barcode on the bands. This makes the addition of labels completely redundant.


New ‘tamper-proof’ packaging - childs play New solid advances in child resistant packaging. For many years Sanner Atmo has been at the forefront of the development of speciality closures and child-proof pharmaceutical packaging. Philip Yorke takes a closer look at its latest unique offering. 44 SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING NEWS


The company’s TabTec® CR is a child-resistant pharmaceutical packaging product designed for solid drugs with a novel and patented child-resistant function. The Press & Flip child safety mechanism in the closure prevents accidental opening, and the certified child-resistant packaging meets all international regulatory requirements. The TabTec® CR prevents medicines from getting into children’s hands. The unique, innovative re-closure of the child-resistant function, makes the medication packaging ultra-safe. In addition, the integrated desiccant and the appropriate colour selection not only make the contents childproof, but also protects them at all times from moisture and light. The integrated pouring assistance feature also offers a particularly hygienic and easy-dosage delivery of the medicines. An additional advantage is that no extra desiccant capsules or sachets need to be added to the childresistant tablet packaging during filling. The childresistant tablet box also offers other key advantages, such as the application of a warranty function by means of a label with an integrated TE band. Further information is available in Braille, QR codes, and advertising, which can easily be integrated into the booklet label. This saves costs in secondary packaging and opens up new communication channels to end users.

More differentiation at the point of sale with the TabTec® Cr is its novel design, which also enhances the look and feel of the brand enhances the differentiation and recognition of Sanner’s child proof medical packaging. The new packaging clearly stands out from the crowd of existing child resistant pharmaceutical packaging.

Senior friendly Another key benefit of this new product is its unique opening mechanism which is not only childproof, but also senior-friendly. The TabTec® CR is unique, and unmistakable as well as being ‘senior proof’ and child proof right down to the last tablet. The new ‘Sanner Atmo Guard System®’ also combines the company’s expertise and quality in a comprehensive, safety-first product. To recommend the ideal amount and type of desiccant, Sanner takes all relevant moisture ingress factors into account and works with real product data to develop a tailor-made desiccant solution. This in turn ensures reliability, cost-effectiveness and maintains the product’s required shelf-life. With the focus today on sustainability and safety, the packaging industry has clearly stepped up to the plate in order to provide the best possible solutions. Accordingly, SPN is pleased to showcase the work of some of the most innovative pharmaceutical packaging companies.

“ Consumers between the ages of 18 and 50 in particular were convinced of the need for a child-proof tablet box for most medicines ” A perfect alternative to blister packs In an independent consumer study, Sanner’s novel child-resistant packaging for tablets was given an excellent rating. Consumers between the ages of 18 and 50 in particular were convinced of the need for a childproof tablet box for most medicines. The new packaging also scored very well in other criteria compared to child-resistant blister packs. In addition to the childresistant opening mechanism, these include hygienic removal and ease-of-use when on the go. Furthermore, the need to open the TabTec® CR packaging with both hands visually reinforces the message of child safety.




Putting waste medical packaging in its place Anyone involved with the Pharmaceutical industry will know that it has its own highly specific requirements, regulatory bodies and diverse manufacturing constraints. With the Covid 19 pandemic and sustainability foremost in our thoughts, the industry has come under greater scrutiny than ever before, as Philip Yorke reports. Although it is acknowledged that pharmaceutical packaging represents a small percentage of total packaging waste, it is still significant enough to warrant the world health organisation (WHO) to make a variety of recommendations and encourage nations to enact new laws regarding the proper disposal of medical packaging waste. Recently Michael Greenwood M.Sc. made the following observations concerning sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry. In the interest of sustainability, uncontaminated waste can be recycled depending on the availability of local facilities, with paper, plastics, glass, and metals often recycled directly. Contaminated waste, however, is usually incinerated, or otherwise taken to a landfill if incineration is not possible. Other environmental concerns associated with the manufacture of a drug include the availability of active ingredients, many of which are sourced from plants, thus encouraging deforestation, the inclusion of toxic ingredients in the drug or packaging that then escape into the environment, and the use of chemicals that aid in the application of a drug, such as chlorofluorocarbons used in propellants. Sustainability is the ability to sustain something indefinitely, and in this context refers to the number of materials consumed by a process, and the ability to regenerate the materials in an environmentally friendly way.






“ manufacturers are encouraged to consider the recyclability of their product at the end of its life, making up for where laws do not allow for best sustainability ” A toxic subject The world health organisation identified three directives to help reduce and eliminate waste: reducing packaging that is not essential to the protection of the drug, making as much of the packaging as possible recyclable, and making contaminated packaging incinerator-safe. For example, some plastics are more toxic than others when incinerated, while some plastics are significantly more toxic when undergoing incomplete combustion, highlighting the importance of disposal facility infrastructure development.


In 2005 the Sustainable Packaging Coalition defined sustainable packaging as safe for individuals throughout its life cycle, meets criteria for performance and cost, is manufactured and transported using renewable energy, uses recycled materials, uses materials that are friendly in likely end-of-life scenarios, and is physically designed to minimise materials and optimise energy use.

Pharmaceutical SPONSORED

The Marchesini Group The Marchesini Group is an Italian packaging Corporation which designs and builds stand-alone machines and customised lines for the packaging of pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. For more than ten years the company has been developing advanced paperboard tray solutions for the packaging industry. Marchesini’s paperboard trays offer all the benefits of modern, single-material packaging as each tray is made from identical material to the carton. This eliminates the need for a second material, such as plastic and this key benefit means a reduction in material ordering and storage logistics by up to 50%. However, it is also well known that protecting fragile products, such as syringes and vials, can be a very costly business. Fortunately, by using Manchesini’s paperboard trays, customers can benefit from reduced operating costs and floor space, as well as increasing their broad operational efficiency. These valuable solutions provide further added benefits by ensuring that the packaged products are well-protected and secure throughout their lifespan. This also translates into big savings for customers in reduced storage and transportation costs, as well as presenting products to the end user in a modern and most attractive way. Today Marchesini is globally recognised for its unrivalled expertise in design and production, which focuses on creating customised trays and cartons for specific product types, sizes and quantities. Using prototypes and mock-ups, the trays and cartons are fine-tuned to ensure that customers can optimise their entire packaging line, from the handling of components, to the cartoner and subsequently to the case-packer and palletiser. Finally, it is important to appreciate that paperboard tray loaders can be fitted in multiples on any Marchesini cartoner ranging from low speed to high speed machines that are capable of producing over 450 trays per minute. So when looking to the future, customers can look forward to optimised production efficiency and value, with Manchesini’s world-class engineering and packaging innovation.




“ Today the Pharmaceutical industry leads the field in many aspects of its practices developed to improve sustainability and the recycling of medical waste ”

Gauging the benefits As many restrictions limit the use of recycled materials in pharmaceutical package production, manufacturers are encouraged to consider the recyclability of their product at the end of its life, making up for where laws do not allow for best sustainability. Additionally, the ability to sustainably source any packaging materials must be considered, as if demand is high even renewably sourced materials may not be sustainable. Many pharmaceutical companies are achieving reduced packaging by lessening their weight. Modern plastics can be made thinner while maintaining strength, and advances in structural design thanks to computational engineering methods allow new designs that use far less material while maintaining the function and purpose of the packaging. Competition between overthe-counter drug companies has led to an increase in the variety, size, and visual appeal of packaging, which may encourage the use of unnecessarily-sized and coloured packaging. Regardless, packaging must maintain the information regarding contents, dosing, and safety precautions.

Reducing accelerants Another source of waste in pharmaceutical packaging is the use of accelerants and solvents that are damaging to the environment, for example, chlorofluorocarbons. Many pharmaceutical companies are researching and developing alternatives to these solvents, one example being Cyrene (di-hydro levoglucosenone), developed by Merck as an alternative to N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone or dimethylformamide. These chemicals are common intermediates in the pharmaceutical industry, used to enhance the absorption of topical drugs and as formulating agents, and can potentially pose an environmental hazard if allowed to accumulate.


The functionality of the product must always be the first priority when it comes to medicines, with some requiring high levels of moisture and light protection that necessitate sophisticated packaging. Insufficient packaging will inevitably, ultimately, generate more waste, as damaged goods must be disposed of and replaced.

Trend towards personalised medicines Sustainability may also be implemented to a greater degree during manufacture. Large manufacturing runs of drugs are becoming less commonplace for new pharmaceuticals as generic manufacturers around the world begin to take over the production of off-patent drugs. Modern personalised medicine also forces smaller manufacturing runs that are inherently more wasteful, as down-time between producing batches is wasted time and energy that is spent setting up for the next run. Companies are becoming increasingly streamlined and optimised in this regard, with, for example, the amount of heat applied to blister-packs being finely tuneddown to conserve energy, water consumption being closely monitored, and ventilation systems carefully optimized. Tracking through the supply chain can also improve sustainability by optimising the manufacturing rate and distribution of products, ensuring that it is not overproduced, minimizing energy-consuming storage time and that it is not transported more than is necessary. Today the Pharmaceutical industry leads the field in many aspects of its practices developed to improve sustainability and the recycling of medical waste. In its on-going mission to achieve 100% sustainability, SPN will continue to monitor the latest innovative solutions that have been created in partnership with the pharmaceutical companies throughout the world.


DS Driving Sustainability At DS Smith they appear to have got sustainability all wrapped up. So we asked this dynamic FTSE 100 company, where they stand with sustainability right now, and where they would like to be. Wouter van Tol, Head of Sustainability & Government Affairs at DS Smith, provided some revealing answers. How ‘sustainability-aware’ would you say your company is and what recent measures have you taken to improve your overall contribution to the circular economy? “Quite simply, sustainability sits at the heart of everything we do at DS Smith. As a leading provider of sustainable fibre-based packaging worldwide, we play a central role in delivering fully recyclable solutions through the value chain and across sectors including e-commerce, fast moving consumer goods and industrials. We have a circular business model, with our packaging business being complemented with recycling and paper making operations. Through our purpose of ‘Redefining Packaging for a Changing World’ and our Now and Next sustainability strategy, we are committed to leading the transition to the circular economy by focusing on a number of key areas including - replacing problem plastics, taking carbon out of supply chains and providing innovative recycling solutions.

In relation to sustainability, what would you say have been your most important milestones? One of our most important recent milestones is the launch of our Circular Design Principles, created to support companies to design out waste and keep materials in circulation for as long as possible. In Europe for example, we revealed that 1.5 billion tonnes of plastic per year in Europe’s supermarket aisles could be replaced with alternative renewable materials. By implementing the Circular Design Principles, materials can be recycled or reused into new products so that the total environmental impact is minimised.




Another pivotal moment for us over the past year was the launch of our “Now and Next” sustainability strategy, which maps out our ambitious environmental goals for the next decade. Part of these commitments include; manufacturing 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2023, optimising every fibre for every supply chain by 2030, taking 1 billion pieces of problem plastic off supermarket shelves by 2025, and equipping 100% of our people to the circular economy by 2025.

“ DS Smith has also hit a number of sustainability milestones ” DS Smith has also hit a number of sustainability milestones including an 11% reduction in emissions in 2019 compared to 2015 on a like-for-like basis and 100% engagement in community programmes across all its sites employing more than 50 people.

In your opinion what have been the most significant developments in terms of recycling and bio-degradable packaging? The most significant development in biodegradable packaging has been our partnership with Aquapak, an innovative developer of biodegradable polymer. The partnership will allow for traditional plastic films on a range of fibre-based packaging to be replaced with Aquapak’s HydropolTM, a biodegradable and watersoluble polymer that will allow for less contamination in the recycling and paper-making process, especially in regard to hard to recycle items. Adding to this, the issue of rogue plastic in recycling mills is rife, and to take further action to alleviate this problem, we have introduced state of the art quality measurement tools, such as Near Infrared technology to assess the quality of material arriving from household and commercial collections to improve segregation methods.

What do you consider to be the most promising market opportunities for your company at this time? E-commerce, plastic replacement, and consumer demand for sustainable packaging are three key trends that present exciting opportunities for DS Smith both now and moving forward.


The pandemic has propelled the growth of e-commerce and research shows that many of the online shopping habits European consumers have adopted are here to stay. As such, brands need to adapt to this trend now and our expertise in this space can help meet their needs for robust sustainable ecommerce packaging. But it’s not just e-commerce that is changing, as we all know the tide is turning on plastics and that’s also something we’re in a perfect place to respond to. We are offering hundreds of products that mean that brands and business can leave single-use plastic packaging firmly in the past. Related to this, consumers are also showing support for sustainable packaging. Recent figures show that almost a third of European shoppers say they have stopped buying particular brands altogether because their packaging was not sustainable. This is rightly putting more pressure on brands to ensure they are taking steps to make their packaging as eco-friendly as possible and as the experts in this field it’s something we are well placed to support them on.


What are the key drivers for change in your industry sector and how much is the on-going pressure for greater sustainability and recycling affecting your productivity?

“ DS Smith continues to set the benchmarks for the packaging industry by creating a more sustainable world ”

We welcome the pressure for brands and packaging providers to be more environmentally responsible when it comes to their products. As we have sustainability at our core, the consumer and business demand for more recyclability in packaging is something we’re thriving on. We work very hard to help brands and business across the world address this pressure by developing more sustainable packaging solutions and more efficient supply cycles. Another key driver is legislation, as the world pushes towards a green recovery changing laws, policies and rules mean that governments are clamping down on plastics and business should be getting ahead of this by embracing sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging such as the ones we offer.

Can you describe your product portfolio and its sustainability credentials?

As we are keen to understand more about the latest trends shaping the packaging industry in your sector, what do you consider to be the most significant recent developments? Covid-19 has led to an explosion in online shopping and this rise in e-commerce is predicted to remain – a DS Smith study found 66% of Europeans say they have shopped online more since the initial lockdown in March 2020. As e-commerce becomes the shopping channel of choice for many more consumers business need to adapt their supply chains. Developments mean that integrating more tracking technology into packaging, such as NFC and RFID tags, provides more data to be able to optimise their supply chains. We have also witnessed a clear shift in consumer values, and people increasingly want brands to help them live more sustainably – in fact, DS Smith recently found that 71% of respondents believed long-term climate change is as serious a crisis as Covid-19. Lastly, we’re also seeing a stellar customer experience become more important. Shopping may never quite be the same again after the pandemic and packaging provides a unique way for brands to connect and engage with customers - driving emotional responses and making it easier for them to identify with their company, products and people. As such, we’re seeing storytelling grow as a trend in the retail sector, which elevates on-package branding to the next level.

With circularity at the centre of our business model, all our products have outstanding sustainability credentials. We serve virtually every sector, from e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods to industrial. Our approach is based on collaboration as we develop customised packaging designs that address each customer’s specific needs. This enables us to minimise amount of material while optimising packaging performance.

Are you planning the launch of any new products in the foreseeable future that you can tell us about? One area where we focus on new packing solutions is e-commerce. With the e-commerce market growing incredibly fast over the last year and more businesses moving to online sales, there is also increased pressure on sustainable packaging. We are offering growing ranges of sustainable e-commerce solutions that meet new customer needs and replace single-use plastic. It includes paper-based fillers to protect products during shipment instead of EPS foam and paper-based returnable mailers to mention a few examples.

How has the Covid 19 pandemic affected your production and manufacturing capabilities? Whilst the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic has caused widespread disruption and economic uncertainty, our business has demonstrated its resilience and adaptability in order to serve our customers to the highest of standards. Not only this, but corrugated packaging has been essential during the pandemic to keep goods moving and replenishing shelves as quickly as possible, even during a testing time.” DS Smith continues to set the benchmarks for the packaging industry by creating a more sustainable world. From its latest ‘Circular Design Principles, to its ‘Now & Next Strategy and Water-Soluble Polymers, SPN believes that when it comes to sustainability, DS Smith really does have it all wrapped up.



Film recyclability

Spring forward

to 100% film recyclability The quest to achieve the 100% recyclability of packaging film took a major step forward recently when the Highland Spring Group, launched its most environmentally sustainable ‘Eco Pack’ to date using Coveris’ Duralite R film. The next generation, 100% recycled and fully recyclable Duralite R shrink-film supports the company’s journey to reach 100% recycled materials across its entire packaging portfolio. The Highland Spring 12 x 500ml multipack launched in January this year is being trialled at 270 Sainsbury’s stores across the UK. Following the introduction of its range of 100% recycled and recyclable eco bottles. The Highland Spring Group has continued its use of 100% recycled materials as part of its commitment to providing healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way. Coveris’ award-winning, fully recyclable polyethylene film for the Highland Spring multipacks, features 100% recycled content comprising 50% post-consumer recyclate (PCR) and 50% post-industrial recycled material (PIW). Supporting a circular economy for plastic packaging, the 50/50 blend of recycled content achieves a 54% carbon footprint reduction compared to the use of virgin materials. Highland Spring’s Eco Pack is the first major brand launch using a complete 100% recycled film from the Coveris Duralite R range. Simon Oldham, Chief Commercial Officer of the Highland Spring Group said: “We want consumers to understand that plastic is a valuable resource that should not be treated as waste. We are taking a holistic approach to our packaging and want to create a truly circular plastics economy in the UK to ensure these materials stay in the loop.


“ We want consumers to understand that plastic is a valuable resource that should not be treated as waste ”

Film recyclability

“That’s why we are delighted to introduce our next generation 100% recycled shrink wrap, which offers a significant step forwards in ensuring all our packaging uses recycled materials and is designed in a way that makes it easy for consumers to embrace positive plastic behaviours.”

In November 2020, Duralite R was awarded Flexible Plastic Pack of the Year in the UK Packaging Awards for achievements in carbon footprint reduction, innovation in recycled content and development of sustainable plastic packaging.

Tim Frost, Coveris Louth Sales Director, added: “Coveris has been able to support Highland Spring Group’s forward-thinking approach to packaging sustainability with the development of our innovative, next generation Duralite R shrink film. Through our ‘No Waste’ strategy, Coveris is focussed on a sustainable future for plastic packaging by the advancement of high-quality recyclable materials, innovative use of recycled content and a ‘No Waste’ operating model.”

Smart enzymes

break down plastic film barriers The Spanish company, Film Solutions has developed a technique that uses enzymes to break down plastic film, thus allowing for both the composting and recycling of its film. The REBICOM (REcyclable, BIodegradable and COMpostable film) project has been funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 programme. Innovative Film Solutions has led the project that developed a new range of plastic films that contain enzymatic technology that accelerates the breakdown of the plastic in order to enable them to be recyclable, biodegradable or compostable. The researchers encapsulated certain enzyme complexes in a polyolefin matrix to obtain a masterbatch that was incorporated into the formulation of plastic films during the production process. Following this, the technology was proven at scale, producing prototype films that met the EN 13432 standard as well as European legislation for food contact materials. Potentially, these new films can be biodegradable, compostable or recycled using current plastic recycling technologies.

“ The plastic films carry within an inactive load that is 100% recyclable ” REBICOM coordinator Joaquín Buendía said: “Plastics take hundreds if not thousands of years to degrade, breaking down into ever-smaller pieces. Adding certain compounds to plastics could act as a culture for microorganisms. The enzymes secreted by organisms initiate material depolymerisation, feed on carbon bonds, thereby speeding up biodegradation. “The plastic films carry within an inactive load that is 100% recyclable. When these plastic films end up in the environment in contact with microorganisms, their load triggers an enzymatic reaction that converts them into a biodegradable product in a relatively short period of time, given the proper temperature and humidity levels.”



Film recyclability

Boosting recycling and collection In another move to increase the levels of plastic recycling, the EU launched its latest plastics strategy, which has since become the driving force behind the steady increase in European plastic recycling. In 2018 it pledged that by 2025 PET plastics would have a minimum of 25% recyclable content. This pledge has now become law. In this issue, SPN looks at the latest recycling developments and how the strategy has dramatically improved the recyclability of soft drinks beverages and why the industry is still calling for enhanced recycling processes and improved feedstock recovery in order to meet their goals.

Harnessing rPET potential

Boosting the collection and recycling of PET bottles is a key goal for both the EU and UNESDA. In addition to reducing plastic in the waste stream, it will also create a reliable supply of food-grade quality rPET. Soft drinks companies have been instrumental in setting up and running many of the packaging collection schemes across Europe.

Mechanical recycling – the grinding, washing, separating drying, re-granulating, stripping and compounding of plastics as widely used today;

Solvent purification – dissolving plastic in a solvent with a series of purification steps to separate the additives and impurities before the plastic is reused;

Enhanced recycling – the process of depolymerisation which breaks down the molecular bonds of the plastic into its original monomers and oligomers;

Feedstock recovery – heating the plastics to convert them back into basic petrochemicals so that they can be used to produce new plastic.

The sector supports both deposit return schemes (DRS) for beverage packaging and extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes which cover various packaging types and materials.


There are a several different recycling technologies in operation today and companies must leverage each of them if they are to achieve their goals:

Sustainability in FMCG Film recyclability SPONSORED

JINDAL FILMS PROVIDES FULL RANGE OF MONO-MATERIAL OPP FILM SOLUTIONS Jindal Films, a global leader in the development and manufacture of specialty films is expanding its broad OPP films portfolio to help the industry move towards easier to recycle laminates. In-line with the CEFLEX design guidelines issued in 2020, Jindal Films has been deploying its Technology development in 3 specific areas: outer print webs, barrier webs and sealant webs.

1. Printable OPP solutions

With the increasing need to remove from flexible packaging “hardto-recycle” printable substrates such as PET and Paper, Jindal is proposing a range of non-heat sealable OPP films either in a glossy (Bicor NND/NNH) or matt (Bicor CSRM) appearance. A new OPP platform with improved heat resistance is currently under development to have low shrinkage in the heat seal areas, high Modulus for efficient rotogravure printing while maintaining high clarity. This performance improvement would allow some customers to maintain packaging and filling rates in some demanding applications where previous attempts with conventional OPP failed to replace PET or Paper.

2. Barrier OPP solutions

With the growing need to remove Aluminum foil and metallized PET films from flexible packaging laminates, Jindal Films has developed a thin version of its well know Ultra High Barrier (UHB) OPP film technology. Metallyte 16MM883 provides barrier performance at the level required for numerous market segments typically resorting to Alu foils. Current applications extend from dehydrated foods and beverages, to roast & ground coffees, sensitive nuts and dry pet care typically in 3-ply lamination for products requiring 9 to 24 months of shelf life.

Vacuum metallized OPP films in a fully printed laminate have b een shown not to interfere with NIR techniques commonly used in sorting plants.

For transparent barrier applications, Jindal Films has expanded its Aluminum Oxide vacuum coated OPP film offering. Alox-Lyte 16AO894 and 16AO893 can be used in 2-ply or 3-ply applications across a broad range of packaging formats, delivering improved recycling alternatives compared to harder to recycle thicker EVOH coextruded sealant films or to clear vacuum coated PET films.

3. Sealant OPP solutions Jindal Films recently introduced a significant upgrade to its “Enhanced Seal” technology with the introduction of a new high seal performance “Ultra Seal” OPP film technology. Bicor 30, 40 & 50MB344US provide the inherent advantages of OPP (e.g. clarity, stiffness, puncture resistance, notched-tear propagation) with a seal performance approaching that of cast or blown PP or PE films. Seal strengths upwards of 15N/15mm can be measured on Ultra Seal based laminates, which allows for significant opportunities to replace blown PE films and design PP-rich alternatives for improved recycling.


(Moisture, gas, aroma and mineral oil )







Film recyclability

By combining the use of mechanically recycled PET, enhanced recycled PET and renewable PET, it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint of packaging while delivering products in a safe and sustainable packaging manner. Through harnessing all recycling technologies it is possible to unleash the full potential for rPET and also capture other plastics such as polyolefins which currently cannot be recycled mechanically.

Ensuring quality, safety and availability Increasing the use of rPET will depend on its quality, safety, availability and affordability. The different recycling processes need to adhere to a standard set of principles that allow us to foster new technologies and infrastructures and ensure that all recyclates are safe and of a quality that is suitable for the production of food-grade quality rPET. Today the soft drinks industry is calling for: •

swift authorisation of mechanical recycling techniques

an unleashing of innovation in driving new recycling technologies

a harmonising of definitions and approaches across EU markets

a supportive legal framework for alternative plastic recovery technologies like enhanced recycling and feedstock recycling

simplification and harmonisation of those processes to unleash the full potential of the new technologies under the REACH registration

traceability – through verification and certification schemes

The European Commission’s ambition to increase the uptake of recycled plastics is an essential step towards realising a circular economy. With a harmonised, legal framework and measures to assure availability and affordability of recycled materials compared with virgin materials, Europe can realise more sustainable packaging in a circular economy. By combining each of the different recycling technologies we will be able to realise our ambition of sustainable packaging. Harnessing the very latest innovations we will build the bottle of the future – a bottle that is virtually free from virgin-plastic.


Film recyclability

Re-defining sustainability ProAmpac is a global flexible-packaging company that is re-defining sustainable packaging though a combination of collaboration and innovation. With its extensive, sustainably-driven portfolio, the company provides creative packaging solutions, unrivalled customer service and award-winning innovative packaging. ProAmpac’s global success can be defined by its four core values: Integrity, Intensity, Innovation and Involvement. Today the company is moving flexible packaging forward by redefining innovation through collaboration within its own company and in partnership with its customers and suppliers. ProAmpac brings brand owners and packaging experts together to accelerate advanced technologies and increase speed-to-market, as well as package customisation and consumer differentiation. ProAmpac shares its 5 top Guidelines for those transitioning to recyclable, sustainable packaging in Form, Fill & Seal applications.

1. Packaging Performance

When evaluating materials, product protection is first and foremost. Packaging engineers need to understand moisture and oxygen barrier properties as well as resistance to puncture and scuffing. Product weight is also critical since it will determine the required strength of the package. All of these criteria are important to understand as moving to an all-PE material set, can require tradeoffs vs. a conventional multi-material laminate.

2. Packaging Format

After isolating product protection requirements, the packaging format needs to be chosen. Critical factors include shelf presence, distribution considerations - especially for e-commerce, and graphic presentation. Different formats have a varying degree of challenges when changing to an allPE recyclable structure. Packages that run on form/fill/seal equipment can be especially challenging and may require that the film has high heat resistance, in order to obtain optimal line speeds and good-locking seals.

3. Machinability

When transitioning to recyclable film, machinability is critical. The goal is to run at the same line speed as current multimaterial laminates since a reduction causes increased costs and loss of manufacturing capacity. In many cases ProAmpac has proved that maintaining current line speeds with a recyclable product is possible, but machine setting commonly needs adjusting. It is important to control heat radiating from the seal bars during pauses in production and also to control film tension along the length of the machine. Stiffer films with higher heat resistance will typically perform best in form/fill/seal operations.

4. Reclose Features

Flexible packaging often has open and reclose capabilities like zippers, press-to-close, hook and loop, or INNO-LOK® pre-zippered rollstock. For the package to be recyclable, the zipper must also recyclable and compatible with the film. Generally, zippers with a thinner profile and lower mass per lineal foot are easier to seal because they require less heat and dwell time when attaching to film. Additionally, a dedicated zipper crush station on form/fill/seal equipment will allow heat to be targeted on a single area rather than potentially overheating the entire side seal.

5. Sustainability Claim Considerations

When considering moving to a recyclable format, companies with a variety of products often take a phased approach. They may start with a higher-value product where sustainable packaging is most valued by consumers such as in the natural and organic market space. Or theymay start with 1 SKU of a low-risk product and evaluate consumer feedback. In all cases, it is recommended that manufacturers work with packaging suppliers to determine the best recyclable structure for their speicific product and filling process. One of the most important aspects of recyclable packaging is communicating the sustainability story to the consumer. Brands should consider clearly communicating why they chose to change the packaging and the resulting environmental benefits. The package should also clearly indicate recycling methods since flexible films are not collected in all recycle streams.



film Recyclability

Films are on a roll While plastic bottles get all the media attention and infrastructure investment, plastic films are quietly sitting there, being useful and, sometimes, recycled. With only 9% of all plastic film currently being recycled, the less visible cousin of the plastic bottle has a valuable role to play in the circular economy, particularly with regards to consumer understanding of standard recycling collections.


film Recyclability

With nearly 5million tonnes of packaging films produced worldwide every year and only just over 9% being recycled, it’s no wonder that alternatives such as compostable and biodegradable films are widely touted as the best thing since the bag that previously wrapped sliced bread. But the convenient consumer disconnect of buying ‘more responsible’ packaging vs what happens to it after they put it in with the rest of their recycling means that vast problems are stored up for recycling collection schemes a little further down the chain. Compostable and biodegradable films don’t just happily wilt in normal curbside recycling bins. They contaminate the rest of the haul. So while they’re great if consumers have their own compost bin and use it properly, if they throw compostable or biodegradable films into their standard recycling bin, thinking they’re doing the right thing, they’ve actually contaminated the whole of the batch, rendering it impossible to recycle and so more ends up in landfill than before.

“ Plastic packaging film is a huge growth industry, with a predicted 8% year on year global growth taking it to around $46.2bn by 2025 ” Plastic packaging film is a huge growth industry, with a predicted 8% year on year global growth taking it to around $46.2bn by 2025. As always, with possibility comes responsibility and, just because the plastic bottles are the ones under the current spotlight, that’s not to say that films are getting away easily. Consumer understanding of standard recycling systems could certainly be improved, yet with costly advertising campaigns such as the ‘possibilities are endless’ from the Waste & Resources Action Programme over a decade ago certainly helping to get recycling into consumer consciousness, the highly specific technical details have, understandably, got some way to go.

Every stakeholder must understand and action their own sphere of influence; for us, it means developing films from recycled material, with added performance benefits, that can be recycled again in the standard collection schemes.”

Good growth RETAL Baltic Films has recently invested over €3m in a third production line that allows it to produce films with up to 100% recycled content as well as permitting a greater use of post industrial waste (PIW) from various hard-to-recycle PET films such as metalised, multilayer, laminated and dark colours. Griziene adds, “This new equipment lets us create new food-grade packaging from all these different materials, which delivers a more circular solution to our customers for their PIW than incineration.” Design for Recycling (DfR) plays an important role in the long-term viability of packaging film not relying on uncontrollable consumer behaviour by integrating greater practical solutions before the packaging has even reached the consumer. If the aim is that whatever is thrown into the recycling bin can be recycled as standard, investing in equipment that allows for greater use of recycled content and readily accepts the unpopular materials and turns them into food-grade packaging, the worry of whether an item is the ‘wrong’ material lessens considerably and ensures the maximum volume of recycled content and minimum landfill.

Viktorija Griziene, general manager at RETAL Baltic Films, the dedicated films division RETAL Industries Ltd, a global plastic packaging manufacturer, explains how integrating responsibility right from the first stage of films development is integral to the responsible and profitable future of the industry. Griziene says, “It’s not enough to rely on very particular consumer behaviour regarding plastic packaging when it comes to a viable circular economy.



Contract Manufacturing

Contract Killers

When it comes to Contract Manufacturing there are many examples of where a watertight contract, has proved to be anything but, and where promising partnerships have died overnight. On many occasions this has been due to different interpretations of the small print. Today’s prime example of a ‘real-time’ conflict is that of Astra Zeneca’s well publicised contract with the EU. Thankfully nothing quite so dramatic currently afflicts the packaging industry and companies both large and small continue to build upon the strength of their mutually beneficial partnerships. In any event, so much depends upon the reliability and commitment of the supplier, that new contracts still require the utmost diligence, for as always, the devil remains in the detail. Whilst researching the most constructive and forward-looking trends in the Contract Manufacturing Industry sector, SPN discovered a new report by ‘Grand View Research’ of the USA, which offers readers some interesting projections and trends for the period 2021 to 2028.

Healthy growth in pharma The new ‘Grand View Research Report’ has highlighted the positive outlook for the future of the Contract Manufacturing segment and in particular the pharma sector. It states that the global healthcare contract manufacturing market was valued at USD 177.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2021 to 2028. An increase in offshoring to emerging countries and the changing regulatory landscape are the prominent trends currently present in the marketplace. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are outsourcing low-end services to third parties to reduce the overall cost of production and to speed-up time to market. This trend is expected to contribute to the growth of the contract manufacturing market in the foreseeable future. The presence of end-to-end service providers that are engaged in providing value-added services for an integrated or risk-sharing business model is expected to boost the market growth.


Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are outsourcing manufacturing activities to CMOs to reduce their manufacturing footprint. This allows manufacturers to be more dynamic and cost effective in their manufacturing process. In addition, the increasing prevalence of noninvasive surgical procedures is driving demand for pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. To meet such increased demand, OEMs are outsourcing manufacturing of non-core manufacturing activities as it assists them to reduce labour costs, free up capital, increase worker productivity, and improve manufacturing lead times. For many large, medium and small pharma firms, outsourcing turns out to be an economic option as a fixed cost for manufacturing biologics products account for around 60% - 70% of the cost of goods sold (COGS) and cannot be avoided even during idle demand. Therefore, the use of multi-product facilities to produce biologics has been proven economically efficient and safe as there is negligible to no risk with respect to product carryover, thereby supporting market growth. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many pharmaceutical and medical device companies to increase the manufacturing of drugs and medical devices needed by infected patients worldwide. The U.S. FDA has observed that over 60% of FDA-regulated products imported from China are medical devices, making the U.S. medical device industry highly dependent on China’s supply chain. Medical device manufacturers are facing severe supply bottlenecks, which will ultimately reduce the company’s scope of revenue generation.

Contract Manufacturing

Since the medical device industry is highly regulated, making rapid changes in the supply chain may not be manageable. Medical device manufacturers distributing products in the U.S. are not required to report actual or potential supply chain shortages to the FDA. Despite this, the FDA is actively addressing potential shortages in the medical device supply chain. Some of the products facing shortage are aluminium products, integrated circuits, lithium-ion batteries, and special components, including pneumatic fittings, black body radiation source, and platinum.

Unprecedented demand This has created an unprecedented demand for the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), finished doses, and medical devices in order to maintain supply. According to Medical Product Outsourcing, manufacturers expect outsourcing to yield cost savings and faster time to market. According to various reputed tabloids, companies are expected to outsource more work, based on a 2020 Global Managed Services Report. This report has performed a survey with 1,250 executives across 29 countries, which stated that 45% of organisations will outsource more in the coming years. However, the limited production capacity of the CMOs may pose a major challenge by restraining the market growth.

Image courtesy of Clean-Room Technology

Segmented Insights Based on type, the industry is segmented into pharmaceutical and medical devices, where the pharmaceutical segment accounted for the largest revenue share of 75.2% in 2020. The medical device segment is further divided on the basis of service and therapeutic area. The service segment includes accessories, assembly, component, and device manufacturing. The device manufacturing segment is anticipated to dominate the contract manufacturing market over the forecast period owing to the increasing outsourcing of device manufacturing due to lack of inhouse manufacturing facilities and complexity. On the basis of therapeutic area, the medical device segment is segregated into cardiology, diagnostic imaging, orthopaedic, IVD, ophthalmic, general and plastic surgery, drug delivery, dental, endoscopy, diabetes care, and other areas. The cardiology segment held the largest share in 2020. Rising demand for cardiovascular devices as a result of increasing cases of associated conditions is contributing to the growth of outsourcing of these devices. Moreover, the high complexity of cardiovascular devices and the need for technical expertise result in higher outsourcing of these devices. The pharmaceutical segment is divided by service into Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), advanced drug delivery formulations, packaging, and finished dose formulations. Being the key component in drug development, APIs captured the largest share in 2020 and are expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period. Several companies are opting for the outsourcing of drug development due to limited capacity, insufficient resources, lack of skilled professionals, and cost saving. Various CMOs offer customized services. Services offered by CMOs range from the manufacturing of API/bulk drugs to finished dose formulations.



Contract Manufacturing

Challenges driving investment and growth The diverse beverage market is encouraging the modernisation of contract packaging with new technology thus making a big contribution to greater efficiency and sustainability.

Iberia Coconut Water, is packaged by Brooklyn Bottling in the US and uses a carton for its packaging, acknowledged by experts as being more sustainable than many other forms of packaging.


Contract Manufacturing

Monster 100% Outsourced Portfolio Today the ‘Monster Beverage Corp’ contract packs 100% of its product portfolio, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation. With manufacturing norms upended by the pandemic, manufacturers are taking a step back to assess these changes. Mordor Intelligence’s “Contract Packaging Market: Growth, Trends and Forecasts to 2025’ shows that the contract packaging market was valued at $52.28 billion in 2019. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.33 percent, the report predicts that the market will reach a value of $118.94 billion by 2024. Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for New York-based Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), states that, in the beverage industry, carbonated soft drinks, PET bottled water and RTD tea are the Top 3 categories that are contract packed. Close behind them are beer, fruit juice and sports drinks.

Influential Trends As consumers increasingly express their environmental concerns, along with the producers’ demand for economical packaging options, contract packers are adopting eco-friendly alternatives and eco-sensitive package designs. Mordor’s latest report states: “Sustainability and customisation are likely to continue to positively impact the contract packaging market, leading to growth in use in consumer packaged goods, such as personal care and food and beverages, over the forecast period, 2020-2025. John Moran, chief executive officer and founder of SourceHUB, Chicago, notes that sustainability, supply chain resiliency and automation are trends impacting contract packaging right now, plus the rate of change in SKUs. “From marketing changes to regulatory/legal requirements, SKU change velocity has increased significantly over the past few years, which in turn adds pressure on teams to do more with equal or fewer resources.” Trade restrictions as well as the fall-out from the Covid pandemic also continues to affect the supply chain. As such, utilising a single source of contracting and workflow automation will be critical to building supply chain resiliency in manufacturing. Moran added, “Packaging has a history of poor specification management. So, when there are major shocks to the system, it is nearly impossible to respond at the speed that today’s climate requires.

In addition, companies are recognising that supply chain resiliency is necessary to thrive in the current climate.” Highlighting the importance of this aspect, manufacturers quickly woke up to the reality of disruptions in packaging operations”. Moran added, “Looking back, we were spoiled in a very stable global supply chain for 20-plus years. We enjoyed a stability that, quite frankly, is shocking. Today, being reliant on single-sourcing strategies is no longer an option.”

Increasing workflow automation For example, 60 percent of flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bags come from India, Moran notes. When shut down, 60 percent of the global supply for these bags disappeared overnight, he explains. However, workflow automation and collaboration tools can provide a single source of truth throughout the entire packaging value chain and by getting everyone on the same page, companies can build a resilient supply chain and stabilise production schedules. Furthermore, by owning your specifications, you can respond instead of reacting to disruptions, whether it is geo-political, trade or something like Covid, you can respond quickly and make error-free adjustments much faster than with management by Excel, email and other informal processes.” Moran also said that managing artwork, specifications and orders the “old way” can involve scrambling to expedite freight, move production schedules, and more, whereas automating the upfront artwork and specification processes provides breathing room. While SourceHub focuses on automating at the front end to reduce the pressure on production schedules. Moran says bringing everyone onto a single platform where automation is involved has significant synergies with contract packaging.




Tooling-up for global success There is a new kid on the block when it comes to moulded fibre tooling. HP’s Advanced Moulded Fibre Tooling Technology puts all predecessors in the shade with its high-speed, high-performance products and special tooling production service. The latest moulded fibre tooling solutions from HP have opened up entirely new packaging opportunities for the industry and there are many good reasons why. Among them is the fact that the latest solution offers the fastest-ever enhanced design and fabrication of moulded fibre tooling. It takes just two weeks, which compares very favourably with the current four-to-six weeks using traditional tooling methods. This new, end-to-end solution also delivers greater production efficiencies via its increased ‘up-time’ offering, and it doesn’t end there. In addition, the new technology offers customers significantly reduced maintenance costs and unlimited customisation capabilities.

Global ‘first’ In launching its global ‘first’, HP is partnering closely with ‘Pulp Moulding Dies Inc (PMD) to deliver the next generation of durable, lighter, faster and easier-to-use tools. The company is also working in tandem with leading packaging solutions companies such as Veritiv, which works with customers to accelerate the adoption of more innovative and sustainable moulded fibre designs for clients across the entire packaging spectrum including every kind of consumer product, as well as medical and industrial markets. HP’s global head of Moulded Fibre Solutions at HP Inc. Mariona Company, told SPN in an exclusive interview just a few days ago, “Businesses around the world, including HP, are making the commitment to create new, plastic-free packaging initiatives - and the moulded fibre industry is leading the field with its production of renewable, recyclable and natural fibre, for both products and packaging”.

“ the moulded fibre industry is leading the field ” 66 SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING NEWS

When asked by SPN how HP is bringing sustainability and recyclability to the rest of the industry? Mariana Company said. “Where do we start? We are a baby in the moulded fibre packaging business. However, HP is a father of great innovation and as such is able to offer entirely new sustainability packaging possibilities to the industry. In the food and beverage sectors for instance, we can help significantly with improving efficiency and reducing timelines, as well as reducing materials and enabling the addition of textures and logo’s to packaging. This new digital trend will change the industry dramatically over the next five years or so. However, despite today’s challenging constraints, the new technology announced by HP and our latest advances in 3D printing potential has been very well received in the marketplace”.


Staying focused Mariona Company continued, “Every business has different ambitions and expectations and we like to stay focused and to keep our feet on the ground. In doing so we don’t wait for Covid to retreat, as this will not prevent us from engaging with our customers to provide them with the optimal and personalised solutions that they need”. In looking at the global rollout of this ground-breaking new product, we asked Mariona Company where HP plans to start. “Our new HP moulded fibre tooling division is based here in Barcelona and we have identified two global markets that we wish to target first, with our unique and unrivalled moulded fibre tooling technology. These are Europe, closely followed by Asia. It is really important to engage with customers in these regions and to take our world-beating innovations to these important markets where we can provide the best and most comprehensive support”.

Diverse capabilities SPN looked at the vital role that PMD has played in the development and realisation of the new tooling technology and innovative contributions made by them. Their latest advanced software package, clearly takes 3D printing to the next level. The company’s in-depth expertise in moulded fibre tooling, along with the advanced design, data, software and production of HP’s new tooling technology, has made a huge difference in achieving the ground-breaking results.

“ HP’s new tooling technology, has made a huge difference ” Mariona Company commented: “The diverse capabilities of HP’s digital manufacturing platform, has led to advances in the production of custom screens, which was previously impossible. This also applies to the complex packaging geometries needed and further improvements to the overall dewatering process. In fact, as a result of this collaboration we have been able to produce moulded fibre tools that are 10-20 times lighter than conventional tools” In a recent press release HP added that its new moulded fibre advanced tooling solutions, eliminates the timeconsuming and intensive manual fabrication involved in the traditional moulded fibre tooling manufacturing process, Leveraging proprietary HP innovations in digital manufacturing software and data intelligence, has resulted in a new digital design platform along with advanced industrial 3D printing technology. These unique solutions enable more efficient design options and replace the need for hand-crafted screens, as well as avoiding the need for CNC machining, and manually drilled form tools. Following the HP interview, SPN believes that this latest technology from will set new standards throughout the moulded fibre tooling industry and make a significant contribution to sustainability and the circular economy, an outcome for which we are all grateful.




“ Schubert is able to optimise its customers’ processes throughout their entire supply chain ”

Music to our ears Schubert’s future-proof packaging machines play a pioneering role in the global quest for sustainability The consumption of resources and the way we treat our environment affects people and companies worldwide. Consumers are now more eco-aware than ever and thereby critical when shopping, thus making environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging an important sales argument. Gerhard Schubert GmbH, with its core competence in cardboard packaging, has been dedicated to reconciling sustainability and cost-effectiveness in packaging for over 50 years. The renowned packaging machine specialist from Crailsheim, Germany, takes this claim very seriously and has committed itself to adopt six of the key proclaimed sustainability goals of UNESCO. These must be implemented by the year 2030. To achieve this, two years ago, an internal sustainability expert group was established. This dedicated focus group collates information concerning all developments and innovations from across the Schubert Group aimed at achieving these vital goals.


Michael Graf

Director Schubert-Consulting Close-up of water jet of machine cleaning

and Head of the Sustainability Expert Group at Schubert


Schubert’s 5 Rs As a committed sustainability partner, Schubert is able to optimise its customers’ processes throughout their entire supply chain, ranging from raw materials, packaging and logistics to recycling. The basis for this strategy is the company’s “Five R’s”, which represent its five principles for recycling and waste prevention. Schubert’s Five R’s are: Refuse: Eliminate unnecessary and unsustainable packaging materials. Reduce: Create innovative packaging solutions for using less materials and transportation. Reuse: Convertible, modular packaging machines Recycle: Recyclable and conventional materials in one plant, and Rethink: Resource-saving supply chain from A to Z.

Focus on Robotics, AI and Cobot Devlopment Michael Graf, Director of Schubert-Consulting and Head of the Sustainability Expert Group at Schubert, has already chalked up a number of major successes for the company: “We are already successfully implementing six of the UNESCO Sustainability goals. For example, we use geothermal energy to air-condition our offices and generate our own electricity using photovoltaics. As a well-known innovation driver for outstanding packaging and robotics technology, we are also strongly positioned in the areas of digitalization, networking and the integration of artificial intelligence.

Schubert offers further advantages with the modular machine concept itself and the extensive use of robotics. The company’s unique modular systems are so flexible that packaging machines can be tailored precisely to suit a customer’s specific requirements. In addition, new formats can also be implemented in the machines at a later date. This even applies when switching to more sustainable packaging materials: Simple substitutions such as cardboard trays instead of plastic trays can be implemented in an existing Schubert plant without any major effort.

“This is symbolised by the many pioneering projects of our subsidiaries in the field of Cobot development, Schubert Motion, Schubert Additive Solutions and Schubert Consulting. The concept of sustainability can be found in all areas of our company and is practised in equal measure at all levels, from purchasing through the entire production process and training, to cooperation with service providers and partners”.

Independent consulting services

Future-proof flexibility Anyone who walks attentively through the production facilities in Crailsheim, will immediately notice that all machining centres attach great importance to the recycling of waste material and, wherever possible saving energy. The packaging systems for the customers are developed according to the latest state of the art technology. Even at the design stage, the aim is to achieve a machine design that is as simple and excluding processes that are not essential, thus also saving resources and raw materials.

Because Schubert pursues a high standard of sustainability in its own operations management, all customers who want to manufacture packaging sustainably and economically as part of the global trend towards more ecological packaging, are now able to make packaging processes more efficient and sustainable in their entirety. The experts at Schubert-Consulting specialise in providing targeted advice at the strategic earlyplanning phase. Michael Graf explains: “Thanks to our manufacturer-independent consulting services, we are already in a position to help customers make the switch to sustainable packaging materials. Right from the outset, we pay attention to the perfect interplay of materials, technology and know-how - from cardboard trays to paper-based films. The concepts provide flexibility, quality and efficiency and thus set high standards throughout the industry.”





– unrivalled reliability The latest non-destructive leak-testing offers the best of both worlds: high performance and unrivalled reliability. When it comes to advanced packaging technology, you need to know you can rely on it to perform 100%. If it is a leak tester then you need to be able to instantly detect and identify any leaks, wherever they may be present. The latest non-destructive leak testers from Thomas Packaging add unrivalled reliability, predictability and efficiency to any production line, thus eliminating human error and expensive product waste. Should you only need leak testers for research and development packaging, you will still be running hundreds of packages through a production line. If you ramp that up into full production, then that means thousands or millions of packages may be produced. You therefore need a leak detection method that holds up, no matter what the volumes, or diverse demands placed on the production line.

“ The latest non-destructive leak testers from Thomas Packaging add unrivalled reliability ” 70 SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING NEWS

Super-intelligent vacuum integrity When a vacuum is applied to a package, the seal will begin to expand. Thomas Packaging’s hi-tech equipment measures that expansion. A good seal will stay expanded and a leak will start to collapse or not expand altogether. The latest machines quickly differentiate good from bad. You don’t have to worry whether your results are accurate or repeatable ever again with this advanced non-destructive leak testing equipment. In addition, checking for vacuum leaks is not the only advantage, for no matter what field you work in, every manufacturer has to consider the efficiency for every step of their production and packaging process. For leak detection, you need results that are identifiable and predictable, but you also need the equipment’s operation to be highly efficient. If the best results in the world take too long, then you are losing revenue in your production line. You’d either have to compensate for that loss somewhere else or risk letting quality control dip. With the leak testing equipment Thomas provides, you benefit from rapid operation and stellar quality control.


Close-up of water jet machine cleaning

Touch-screen leak detection In the event that you need to perform some testing on a line of blister packages that are still in research and development. You don’t want to dedicate productionscale equipment to it, but you still need results that are accurate. In which case, the Sepha VisionScan is one of the most desirable and viable options. It detects cavity defects, channel leaks, and weak seals down to 7 microns. For your workers, it offers intuitive, tool-less touchscreen operation. You can test multiple packs per cycle and it stores data for simple quality control across the board. The traditional blue-dye testing method is not only wasteful, but also prone to human error, and is not accurate enough for today’s modern production lines. Today you no longer have to suffer this type of product waste with non-destructive leak testing technology. This equipment performs an accurate test without damage or contamination. The dye penetration time and depth was also up to the operator. No human is perfect and no human performs a test like this in the exact same way every time. Eliminate the chance of human error in your testing methods by choosing a Thomas Packaging’s advanced, non-destructive leak testing equipment.

“ the Sepha VisionScan is one of the most desirable and viable options. It detects cavity defects, channel leaks and weak seals down to 7 microns ”



One package. For all your packaging needs. Ecological and economical ? No contradiction. Our systems avoid and reduce waste and energy in each step of your production. heidelberg.com/packaging


Savings to save the environment What applies to other industries is also true for the printing industry and its packaging companies. To remain a preferred business partner, it has become more important to make all processes sustainable, an area that Heidelberg has also been investing in for many years. Today, all Heidelberg machines for prepress, printing, and postpress are designed to be highly energy-efficient, giving Heidelberg a unique position in the market. Working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology, Heidelberg has developed a process that certifies the CO2 neutrality of its machines. Part of this process is offsetting the machines’ carbon footprint by supporting reforestation projects such as the Sodo project in Ethiopia. By purchasing the certificate for a Heidelberg CO2neutral machine, customers help communities in this region of Africa. As of today, there are 645 CO2-neutral Heidelberg machines in use in 48 countries. The scope of Heidelberg’s achievement can also be illustrated by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, in which industrialized countries committed themselves to limiting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to this milestone in sustainability, industrial processes should be at least 20 percent more efficient in 2020 than they were in 1990. When comparing the flagship Heidelberg presses of 1990 and today, the Speedmaster CD 102-6+L and the Speedmaster XL 106-6+L, Heidelberg has already achieved twice that figure – 41.7 percent, to be exact. Today, 8 kWh of energy is consumed to produce 1,000 sheets, compared to 13.8 kWh in 1990. Features of the 2020 generation of Heidelberg Speedmaster models, such as Intellistart 3 and Intellirun help reduce the carbon footprint by improving machine efficiency. The machine software uses order data to calculate a costeffective sequence for print jobs. At the same time, intelligent machine assistants, such as Wash or Powder Assist, know what is necessary to prepare the next job and independently adapt their settings accordingly. If the press is not in production mode for any reason, it switches to standby, which is a unique feature of Heidelberg machines. Print shops can save 3,600 kWh per year if the standby function is used for only one hour a day. This equates to a reduction of 2,160 kg of CO2 per year.

For each new job, ink presettings are always adopted from prepress automatically and checked by Prinect Inpress Control during make-ready and production. This results in faster job setup, maximum productivity, and less waste. All press peripherals are water-cooled, which is much more efficient than air cooling and keeps the pressroom cool and the production conditions stable. Due to the patented round nozzles, the DryStar Combination dryer saves 27,000 kWh annually (based on 36 million sheets printed), equating to 6,345 kg of CO2. The round nozzles dry the ink by generating warm air directly above the sheets. The shorter the distance, the more efficient the nozzles are. Although Heidelberg has been investing in sustainable production for many years, this will remain an ongoing effort. Wherever possible, the energy efficiency of Heidelberg products will be improved, and new ways to reduce process emissions and waste will be defined. The goal has always been and continues to be to optimize the overall efficiency of complete systems by including all production steps, from prepress through the printing process to postpress.


A new first in secondary packaging The latest technology developed by systems supplier KHS, means that cans of food as well as beverages can both be successfully wrapped in paper. This offers a perfect alternative to film or wrap-around cardboard and offers many other advantages. Benefiting from this new, eco-friendly technology is KHS’s well-known Innopack Kisters tray system. Other key benefits apart from being eco-friendly and energy saving, include lower raw material costs, with only minor adjustments required for conversion to the new set-up. Regarding its stability, the results are the same if not better than those compared to cardboard or film-based wrappers. However, at KHS the idea of using paper as a secondary packaging material is not a new one. The company first experimented with this concept around 20 years ago. Karl Heinz Klumpe, packaging product manager at KHS told SPN, “Back then, this technology didn’t catch on, as paper was a cost-intensive raw material and wrapping containers in film yielded better results regarding stability. The beverage industry thus opted for different systems and solutions to those available today. Currently our customers want green alternatives to the usual packaging systems such as film and these should be as eco-friendly as possible.” In order to achieve this, new paper wrapping material has now been developed together with an international beverage producer. This type of pack can replace shrink film or wrap-around carton packaging for transportation or sale, on packs of 12 or 24 cans in the high-capacity range of up to 90,000 cans per hour.

Modular machines require minimal adjustments In order to wrap cans in paper instead of film just a few adjustments are needed to the Innopack Kisters tray packer. “KHS is increasingly supplying modular systems and solutions that enable and ease the appropriate conversions to our machines. In this case, we’ve simply reengineered the process module for folding and wrapping,” Klumpe explains.


Karl-Heinz Klumpe

packaging product manager at KHS


“ KHS is increasingly supplying modular systems and solutions that enable and ease the appropriate conversions to our machines ” “The standard components such as tray separation from the magazine, gluing or can-feed are identical to those on the hundreds of proven KHS machines already on the market.” This allows beverage producers to have the tray packers already in operation at their plants converted simply by adapting certain modules, making a full new investment unnecessary. Wrapping cans in paper has many advantages over other materials, believes Klumpe: “On the one hand, paper is kinder to the environment than film with respect to ocean pollution, for instance.” On the other hand, fewer packaging materials are used. Instead of a sturdy wraparound carton or film packs on trays, packaging cans in thinner paper only needs a flat, stable corrugated card pad as a base – with identical results regarding stability. Costs are also cut by the new paper pack: compared to a wrap-around carton by up to 15%, with outgoings about the same as for film. Overheads are also considerably reduced by the low energy consumption of about 14 kWh an hour at 80 cycles a minute. The folding process is such that the pack is also fully enclosed.

Savings and efficiency all wrapped up Klumpe sees huge potential for the new KHS technology. “When I think how much food is canned all over the world, with our paper pack we offer a useful alternative to conventional secondary packaging. With our system we can significantly help to cut down on the amount of plastic waste being generated.” According to Klumpe, this will support the efforts being made throughout the entire sector to protect the environment. “Sustainability is also always a cost factor, however. With our new approach we’re catering for both aspects here.”

Combined expertise leading the field The KHS Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems for the beverage and liquid food industries. The KHS Group includes the parent company KHS GmbH, KHS, Corpoplast GmbH and numerous subsidiaries outside Germany, which are located in India, the USA, Mexico, Brazil and China. KHS manufactures modern filling and packaging systems for the high-capacity range of products at its five stateof-the-art production facilities in Germany. Today the KHS Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the SDAXlisted Salzgitter AG Corporation. In 2019 the KHS Group and its 5,149 employees achieved a turnover of almost €1.3 billion.




UR10 Cobot From Raruk Automation

Where flexibility meets compatibility

Raruk Automation has supplied Plymouth-based industrial control systems manufacturer Oakmount Control Systems with an automated pick and place solution to eliminate a host of labour-intensive processes. A FlexiBowl parts feeder and Shibaura Machine THP700 SCARA robot are now working in unison at a customer of Oakmount, where they are feeding, picking and placing a medical product into individual plastic packaging trays.

Using this information, Oakmount worked with technical partner RARUK Automation to discuss the optimum way of reducing the cycle time and improving process repeatability.

This task was previously performed by a human operative and the new solution has enabled the end user to redeploy its labour resource to a more valueadded task.Initially, cycle time studies of the existing operation set a goal for a proposed automated solution.

“RARUK Automation used Shibaura Machine’s simulation software to evaluate the optimum cycle time that could be achieved,” said John Dawe, business development manager, factory automation at Oakmount Control Systems.



Shibaura Machine

“The software allows CAD drawings to be integrated and therefore get real-time simulations, which in this case turned out to be faster than the manual operation. “We’d used FlexiBowl before, but this was our first project with a SCARA robot. “Once the simulation phase was complete we returned to our customer with the proposal, the estimated cycle time and the cost. “They were pleased with our recommendation and placed the order.” FlexiBowl has been designed to be compatible with any robot and vision system. A single unit can handle entire families of parts within a 1-250mm and 1-250g range. Furthermore, the system’s lack of dedicated tooling and intuitive programming allow product changeovers in seconds. The THP700 SCARA robot offers a 700mm reach and a maximum payload of 10kg. It is capable of up to 120 cycles per minute in 24-hour continuous operation. Working in a cleanroom environment at Oakmount’s customer, the hopper-fed FlexiBowl feeds awkwardly shaped medical products on to the rotating flat surface of the FlexiBowl. Oakmount positioned a camera-based vision system above the FlexiBowl’s picking area, which then instructs the robot which parts are available to pick. The SCARA robot then picks up the medical products individually using a vacuum pad and places each one into the required plastic packaging pocket as they emerge from a thermoforming machine.

As the trays fill (five trays per row) they move along the production line to a vacuum bagging operation, after which further Oakmount-supplied vision systems confirm that the parts and labels are in place. A single control panel – also designed and manufactured by Oakmount – oversees the entire operation. There are two variants of the medical product that require packaging. However, the system devised by Oakmount has been purpose-designed to accommodate both with an extremely short changeover time. According to Oakmount, the only aspects that need to change when switching products are the robot programme and the image of the part to pick. Installed and commissioned in June 2020, the system has been running continuously since. “Our customer has taken a big step forward with this project,” said Dawe. “Aside from the inherent accuracy and continuous placement of parts that the system provides, our customer has been able to release their operator to undertake more technical tasks and reduce any risk of RSI due to repetitive action”.

“ our customer has been able to release their operator to undertake more technical tasks and reduce any risk of RSI due to repetitive action ” SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING NEWS



New ‘sweeteners’ for chocolate German-based equipment specialist Theegarten-Pactec has unveiled a new suction support sealing system offering greater precision for the packaging of chocolate, as well as significant savings on materials. The company said that its latest process has been designed with environmental benefits that have been designed to make manufacturing processes more stable. Development of its new system follows a recent European study on consumer preferences for packaging carried out in March 2020 revealed that almost 70 percent of respondents were actively trying to reduce their use of plastic packaging (Two Sides: “The Packaging Report 2020”). Particularly in the market for flexible packaging, sustainable and recyclable packaging is becoming increasingly important. This has led to interest among brand owners, and thus among players in the packaging industry, to switch to sustainable materials such as recyclable mono-materials and to packaging processes that have been designed precisely for these materials. This is a switch that is challenging to implement, especially in the packaging of chocolate products.


A variety of bars are packaged using composite materials, such as a base of plastic or paper in combination with an aluminium layer. The products can therefore be easily packaged by fold wrapping and do not require any additional securing of the packaging by sealing or glue. However, packaging materials made of composite materials are not recyclable and are therefore not sustainable in view of market developments. It therefore makes sense to switch to the use of recyclable mono-materials for packaging processes. However, these materials have poor dead-fold properties, i.e. the packaging must be closed and fixed after folding by sealing or with the aid of glue so that it cannot open again.


For well-known brand products, a second packaging variant is traditionally used: a combination of two packaging materials – aluminium paper laminate and plastic packaging. This first “packaging layer”, the inner wrap of aluminium paper laminate, is required as a barrier to protect the sensitive chocolate products during the actual packaging process.

In order to effectively dissipate the heat generated, the inner wrap of aluminium paper laminate is used. However, the use of two packaging materials – aluminium paper laminate plus plastic packaging is neither environmentally friendly nor particularly costsaving or recyclable. Therefore, the use of a sealable, and ideally even recyclable, mono-film is recommended.

“ Theegarten-Pactec have now developed a technology called suction supported sealing which offers numerous advantages ”

The alternative, which involves the application of glue dots, ensures a permanent closure of the plastic packaging, but also has disadvantages. Clogged glue nozzles or contamination can lead to an increased susceptibility to malfunction and to the need for additional work with respect to cleaning and maintenance of the packaging machine. This reduces the efficiency of the packaging process and generates additional costs.

When closing the outer wrap using contact sealing technology, the chocolate could otherwise be damaged by the heat that is generated or by the sealing tools used. As an alternative to this process, packaging has been glued with hot melt. The packaging specialists at Theegarten-Pactec have now developed a technology called “suction supported sealing”, which offers numerous advantages over these conventional processes.

Furthermore, the application of glue not only involves risks for the machines and aggregates, but also for the product itself. Incorrectly adjusted glue nozzles and the resulting distortion of the packaging material due to excessive glue application can result in the glue being transferred to the chocolate product causing contamination.

Risks of sealing or gluing with hot melt As the Dresden-based business explained, the chocolate is packaged in a material such as plastic, by means of fold wrapping. However, since plastics have poor deadfold properties, i.e. the packaging opens again after folding, it must be actively closed and fixed by sealing or with the use of glue. For this purpose, during the sealing process, the sealing tool is pressed against the packaging material from the outside to connect the outer and inner flap of the plastic packaging with each other. This ensures that the packaging is fixed after folding but is still easy for the consumer to open. The problem with this procedure is that when the sealing tool is applied, the packaging material lies close to the product.




“ Material costs can be reduced by eliminating the need for aluminium laminate to dissipate heat and protect the chocolate ”

New suction-supported sealing technology The sealing station developed by Theegarten-Pactec is located directly after the actual wrapping or packaging station. As soon as a product has reached the sealing station, the sealing tool moves to the product to be sealed at a distance of 0.5 mm to 1 mm. Negative pressure then causes the package to be sucked onto the sealing stamp. In this way, there is no direct contact between the packaging and the product during the sealing process. The heat required for the sealing process is thus distributed selectively and evenly over the entire sealing surface, thereby ensuring that there are no pressure marks or other damage to the chocolate product. Active cooling of the environment ensures additional product safety. After sealing for approx. 50 – 60 milliseconds, the contact between the packaging material and the sealing jaw is terminated when the sealing stamp moves away – which may be assisted if required by switching off the vacuum. The packaging material detaches from the sealing station and once again rests directly on the chocolate product which has now been completely packed. The sealing seam only comes into contact with the product again after it has sufficiently cooled.

The innovative technology can be easily integrated into the standard packaging machines of the Dresdenbased company, with implementation being possible for various service areas and products such as chocolate bars and pralines. In addition to the compact and flexible CWM2 wrapping machine for chocolate products with a capacity of up to 600 products/min, the sealing station can also be integrated into the CFW-S for chocolate bars in letter fold with or without packaging band with up to 850 products/min. Implementation in the CFW-D double-lane high-performance packaging machine for chocolate products in letter fold with packaging band and up to 1,400 products/min is also possible without great effort. Moreover, even existing machines such as the U1-C high-performance packaging machine can be retrofitted with this new technology.

The sustainable alternative Theegarten-Pactec’s innovative technology offers numerous advantages: Material costs can be reduced by eliminating the need for aluminium laminate to dissipate heat and protect the chocolate. At the same time, negative environmental influences caused by the production of the material are reduced. In addition, there is no need for an unwinding unit for aluminium paper or aluminium-PP composites in the packaging machine. This saves set-up and adjustment times and makes the packaging process more stable and therefore less susceptible to faults.

each detail matters for unrivalled performance Only a company who has a constant focus on the productivity of its customers thinks ahead and creates extrusion solutions that leave the rest standing. SML specialises in the development of extrusion lines for film, sheet, coating and lamination as well as multifilament spinning lines.

Extrusion lines. Engineered to perform.




SML’s SmartCast Infinity: Unchallenged recycling capacities in stretch film production SML improved the usage of post-industrial recyclate to an optimum at its SmartCast Infinity stretch film line. “We have succeeded in producing film with an ultimate elongation value of 400% by using up to 80% post-industrial recycled materials. The film’s quality is totally in line with market requirements, the optical properties are excellent,” says Thomas Rauscher, Product Managerfor stretch film.

Stretch film, which was already used and collected after usage for re-pelletizing, has also been successfully processed in high quantities on SML’s SmartCast Infinity line. With high-quality recycled material of postconsumer stretch film, SML reaches re-feeding rates of up to 60%. However, in a sustainable circular economy, wherecast stretch films are frequently recycled, a general recommendation is a ratio of 30% post-consumer recycled material in combination with 70% virgin material.

New Sensory Perceptions Sensors and corresponding connector components go hand-in-hand in factory automation applications. M12 connectors are therefore a flexible option. Combining the physical world with IIoT requires proper interfacing between the hardware (connectors, cordsets, sensors, etc.) and the software. Sensors play an integral part in this exploding market as well as the components around them which are now at every level of the automation pyramid. Yet, in order to leverage a sensor’s full potential, you must take connectors and cord-sets into consideration together. It’s important to use cord-sets and cable assemblies that enable proper use of automation sensors and doing so will help provide the network architecture required to fully enable Industry 4.0.In addition, systems continue to get smaller as miniaturisation grows in popularity. For space-saving reasons, there’s an increased need for components that are both small and help increase sensor accuracy and response time. That’s what makes M12 connectors a primary driver of IIoT and new machine design. There are multiple styles of M12 connectors available on the market today, and they’re all suited for different purpose.

A-code through D-code connectors have been around the longest in the industry, and can be found in a variety of applications.




The M12 X-code 8-pin cable assembly meets multiple requirements in order to allow smooth, clean data transfers through the cable. With the 10 GB/second transmission rate, it stops functioning only as a cable and connector. It is truly an essential part of the industrial automation industry to capture and transmit data in a quick and precise manner.

Push-pull connectivity

In addition, TE Connectivity now manufactures a rightangle X-code cordset that maintains the 10 GB/second transmission rate—a feat in overcoming molding and shielding challenges. They’re quite compact at only 36 mm high, so they can fit into confined areas.

Now, M12 push-pull configurations have been standardized with IEC 61076-2-012. By establishing a worldwide industrial industry standard for circular connectors, we can add a faster, easier and more reliable installation and connection method to the M12 market.

New line-up for Power Applications A recent extension to the M12 connector line-up is the M12 L-code power connectors. L-code connectors offer a compact high-power solution for automation devices. They can handle up to 16A per pin (these come either in 4-pin or 5-pin (4+FE) delivering four times the power of standard M12 connectors while providing reliable and efficient power supply. The L-code is ideal for factory automation and use in harsh and wet industrial environments. They also take up to 40% less space than traditional 7/8-in. connectors typically used for high-power connections, allowing for a more compact build. Its small footprint helps customers embrace the miniaturization trend without sacrificing quality.


Push-pull connectivity is a trend across the industry in different styles, configurations and materials. However, earlier versions used secondary components and adapters to make it a true push-pull configuration. This was time-consuming and complex.

In addition, the new standard is fully backwardscompatible with pre-installed M12s.International standardisation benefits all applications in which M12 push-pull would be used, as it enables the lower levels of automation sensors and actuators on the production floor to be connected to higher levels where data is transmitted and communication network protocols are occurring. M12 push-pull connectivity also allows for significant space savings with the plug-and-play style connection, which is critical as components get smaller to meet miniaturization demands. It is spaced well for applications where there are significant space restrictions—either in the machine itself or the operating area in which the machine will be used.

Sustainability in FMCG

Beauty and the best Reinforcing sustainability

Surrounded by the beautiful Porovesi lakes and woodland in Iisalmi Finland, Olvi is one of only 3 major beverage manufacturers to have remained Finnish-owned. Founded in 1878, the company is focused on creating a high-quality consumer experience whilst respecting the environment. Which is why Olvi has chosen corrugated cardboard as the material for their Latest beverage multipacks. Product packaging always forms an essential part of the consumer experience. A distinctive presentation awakens interest, and durable packaging ensures that the products can be transported comfortably and above all, remain undamaged. The user experience of the packaging affects what the consumer thinks about the entire brand. For example, if the handle on the packaging breaks, you can rest assured that it will be remembered during the next shopping trip.

Multipacks´ integrated handle is reinforced with Lemtapes® reinforcement tape, thereby giving the package invisible strength

Reliable ergonomics “For our consumers, Olvi’s packaging is naturally going to be important when considering our products, so the packaging has to be strong and durable,” says Olvi’s Marketing Director Olli Heikkilä. “Lemtapes’ reinforcement tapes strengthen the beverage multipacks and especially the carrying handles of Olvi’s drink branded packs, which are naturally heavy items. This applies to our top branded beverages that include Sandels, A. Le Coq, Olvi and Sherwood. Thanks to Lemtapes tapes’ unrivalled strength and durability these packages can be relied upon to withstand any kind of transportation from the factory to the store, as well of course, from the checkout to a consumer’s home.”



Sustainability in FMCG



LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG Schwabacher Str. 482 90763 Fuerth/Germany Phone +49 911 71 41-0 Web: www.kurz-world.com E-Mail: sales@kurz.de


With KURZ RECOSYS we bridge the gap to the closed-loop economy: From the leftover carrier material at the finishing plant, our take-back system enables us to produce PET recyclate for the plastics industry. This makes us the only manufacturer worldwide to do so. Learn more: www.kurz-graphics.com/nofoil

making every product unique

Sustainability in FMCG

Extending print options For Olvi, packaging isn’t just packaging, it’s also a way to send a clear message to its customers. Multipacks have large printing areas, a useful canvas for brand visibility and consumer communication. In the brewing industry, the print quality for products is always evolving. In the future, these images could be almost photorealistic thanks to the latest digital printing technology. “In terms of advertising, external appearance is also extremely important, because people buy with their eyes. Particularly when thinking in terms of volume, the communication value in the packaging is high,” added Heikkilä. Lemtapes reinforcement tapes are applied to the inside of the corrugated board during the manufacturing stage so that they don’t reduce the printing area on the surface of the package. This offers more choice to brand owners in terms of design whilst enabling the highest possible print quality. Visual appeal and logistics considerations are also important from a market perspective. Packaging must appeal to consumers without taking up unnecessary space and must also be able to maintain their integrity throughout each logistics journey.

A greener, oil-free future In the beverage industry, product packaging is the single most significant factor when it comes to burdening the environment. From the outset, environmental considerations such as sustainability and recyclability play a key role from beginning to end in Lemtapes’ manufacturing processes.

Reducing the weight of packaging is another way to lessen the environmental load, as this also reduces the amount of material required for production. Lemtapes reinforcement tapes significantly strengthen the packaging, and therefore reduce the amount of material needed. These tapes are also available in even more ecological formats, such as cellulose-based ‘Pure Tape’, also developed by Lemtapes and Eco Tape, which is made entirely from recycled material. As a result of these innovative developments, Lemtapes won the FEFCO Sustainability Award in 2019 for their replacement of plastic tapes with cellulose tapes. When comparing corrugated versus plastic packaging, sustainability and recyclability of corrugated board easily outperforms that of plastic. At Olvi, sustainability is integrated into the company’s entire production chain, beginning with their EKOenergy, certified power sources. “We’re striving for an oil-free future, which is why being plastic-free is so important to us. Whether our beverage packaging is made of plastic or corrugated board it has a big effect on the environment, because product volumes are so large,” commented Heikkila. With such a commitment, SPN always finds it reassuring to know that packaging companies like Lemtapes and beverage produces such as Olvi, are dedicated to achieving their ambitious sustainability targets despite any additional costs the companies may have to bear. For more information about Lemtapes® and Invisible strength visit: www.lemtapes.fi/packaging



Sustainability in FMCG

Balancing act

Consumer trends and advancing technology are continuously shaping packaging sustainability. In order to achieve this whilst outsourcing can prove a delicate balancing act. The BCMPA explains why and makes some very interesting observations. Rodney Steel, CEO, told SPN that pressures throughout the supply chain, in addition to growing consumer demand, means that sustainability has become a hot topic within the packaging industry. Whereas a few years ago sustainability might have been ‘nice to have’, there is now an expectation for products and their packaging to minimise their impact on the environment as an integral part of their offering. Today, whether it is food and drink, personal care, household or medical and pharmaceutical goods, sustainability is no longer just an option. The current anti-plastic backlash that is still being felt following the broadcast of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, has undoubtedly brought the sustainability debate centre stage, particularly for the packaging sector, but in reality, it is a topic that companies were addressing long before this. Certainly, this is the case for many BCMPA members. Portion Solutions, a provider of effective portion solutions across the foodservice, wholesale and custom pack market, has been working constantly towards offering its customers more sustainable options for the last five years. “Our business has been on a successful journey looking to reduce plastic and paper across our product range,” explains Simon Nicholson, Portion Solutions’ commercial director. “For example, reducing the size of sachets not only ensures effective use of materials it also delivers additional benefits such as allowing more items per box, which in turn maximises efficiencies in the supply chain by reducing packaging and transportation costs.”


“ the broadcast of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, has undoubtedly brought the sustainability debate centre stage ” Rodney Steel - CEO

Sustainability in FMCG

“ The increased interest from consumers in home cooking during the pandemic has also created significant demand for packaged ingredients and meal kits ”

One of the key challenges in developing any sustainable pack solution is that it has to complement the many other benefits that packaging needs to deliver. This can be something of a balancing act, matching sustainability with the required levels of product protection and preservation, while also delivering functionality and convenience for the end-user. In addition, external factors can also have an influence, as demonstrated by how the Covid pandemic has impacted on the pack styles for some products.

Such instances demonstrate how creating a ‘sustainable’ pack solution is not always clear cut. On the one hand, it could be argued that smaller pack sizes go against the trend for less packaging; however, their portion control abilities have a significant role to play in reducing food waste, which has become an ever - growing environmental problem. In 2018, over 70% of food waste in the UK – some 7.7 million tonnes - came from households; smaller sizes and single-serve packs have been an important way to combat this.

One example is the closure of food outlets during lockdown, which has had a marked effect on businesses supplying the foodservice industry, as Angus Campbell, co-packing business development manager at contract food manufacturer and packer Alexir, explains: “The huge shift away from foodservice resulted in massive growth in retail and e-commerce, and the sector is now looking at retail pack formats and supplying direct to the public. Manufacturers with a high level of foodservice business have come to us to explore smaller packs formats and new markets into retail and Business to Consumer (B2C).”

For this reason, building in sustainability to the operational mix, is vital to the success of the packaging industry and is best made at the very start of the development process. For the full report please visit: www.bcmpa.com

The increased interest from consumers in home cooking during the pandemic has also created significant demand for packaged ingredients and meal kits. “Our business with the ready meal and soup manufacturers has gone down, with consumers more likely to make these at home now, but our sales of sachets and pots into the meal kit companies have grown exponentially,” says Phil Moran, sales & marketing director at savoury ingredient manufacturer Jardox.



Sustainability in FMCG

Top of the Pops Nestlé and Unilever are top of the biggest and most popular FMCG giants when it comes to their commitment to sustainability, this is according to an Ethical Corporation analysis. However, even the slow-coaches are upping their game. Sustainability at big consumer goods companies once meant little more than coming up with some form of recyclable packaging and putting money into meaningful philanthropy. No longer. As Will Hailer, head of consumer goods at OC&C Strategy Consultants points out, the goal posts have moved and these days such efforts don’t make the grade. At a time of growing realisation of the toll our voracious consumption patterns are taking on our resource-constrained planet – coffee, for example, is now the most valuable commodity after oil - consumers want to know that the companies that produce their favourite brands are making serious efforts to address their impacts in their manufacturing practices and supply chains. And companies have every reason to listen. A 2015 Global Sustainability Report from the US consumer research agency Nielson found that 66% of consumers were willing to pay more for a sustainable brand, up from 55% in 2014. Among millennials, 73% were willing to pay a sustainability premium. But failure to step up to its social and environmental responsibilities has far more serious implications than losing market share to a greener competitor. Former BP CEO John Browne argued in his book Connect: How Companies Succeed by Engaging Radically with Society that a company could lose up to 30% of its value if it doesn’t get its relationship with society right – translating into around £5.6bn for a typical FTSE100 company. So how are the biggest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, the ones that have the greatest potential to wreck environmental and social damage through sheer size, doing on this increasingly important metric?


We decided to assess the progress of the world’s top 10 FMCG companies by turnover. In declining order of size they are: Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever, JBS, AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Tyson Foods, Mondeléz, and Archer Daniels Midland. While it is relatively easy to assess consumer companies on their financial sustainability, it is much trickier to do so on their social, environmental, and good governance goals and actions. Though most companies start by internally setting goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and waste, there is no universally accepted set of sustainability metrics and how to report them in order to make easy comparisons. To get an idea of the leading sustainability performers in our top 10, Ethical Corporation looked at their sustainability reports and the companies’ inclusion in leading sustainability indexes; we also viewed sustainability news items emanating from our 10. Interesting patterns and indicators emerge, and while this assessment is subjective, it helps to show best practice among the biggest FMCG players. What we found is that the leaders are the leaders because they started early and have stayed a course – and the laggards are following their examples as they pursue the sustainability journey.

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Sustainability in FMCG

Leading the field

Paul Polman - CEO at Unilever

Clearly, Nestlé and Unilever are the sustainability leaders. For one thing, they’ve been around longer than those that that are the result of many mergers and acquisitions, such as Mondeléz, and have been more consistent than the likes of Brazil’s JBS, the global beef conglomerate, which have produced sustainability goals, reports, and efforts less consistently and for fewer years. When it comes to collaboration and partnerships with other companies and non-profits, supply chain issues, and action around climate change, Nestlé and Unilever predominate. Unilever, and to a certain degree Nestlé, also seem to have embraced a holistic sustainability definition and have begun embedding it into their business models. This means they are beginning to take “breakthrough” goals, which are highly aspirational and beyond stretch goals. Unilever global vice-president for sustainable business Karen Hamilton, distils her company’s sustainability work into three big goals. “By 2020 we will improve the health and well-being of more than a billion people, halve the environmental impact of our products, and enhance the livelihood of millions working across our value chain,” Hamilton says.

“ zero-waste value chain ” Waste, water and climate How have the big boys performed. Let’s look at three different metrics – Zero waste sites, Water use, and Climate change action, in order to see. Unilever in February announced that it had reached an “industryleading” achievement of eliminating non-hazardous waste to landfill at more than 600 of its manufacturing, office and warehouse sites in 70 countries (though it did not say what percentage of sites this represented) while Nestlé, which had a 2015 goal of zero waste at 10% of factories, achieved this at 22% of sites. At Unilever sites in Egypt, trash is sent to local entrepreneurs, who sort for recycling and use plastics in upcycled fishermen’s bags; in Africa some waste is turned into low-cost building materials; in Ivory Coast waste fires cement kilns. Unilever’s ultimate goal is a “zero-waste value chain” and it is collaborating with the Closed Loop initiative to build better recycling facilities as well as with non-profit 2degrees to share its best practice with other companies.


Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle is made from 30% plant-based plastic

Sustainability in FMCG

“ Unilever is the only company to get a score of 9 out of 10 from Oxfam. Oxfam says Unilever has strong policies on deforestation ”

On water, Unilever is lauded by Oxfam’s Behind the Brands report for getting suppliers to report water management practices, though Oxfam says Nestlé has the most specific guidelines for suppliers on water management. Oxfam praises both Unilever and Coca-Cola for adopting the idea of water neutrality for internal operations, a great case of best practice. However, none of these brands has yet set value-chain water-use reduction goals, which Oxfam sees as a necessary next step. On climate, Unilever is the only company to get a score of nine out of 10 from Oxfam. Oxfam says Unilever has strong policies on deforestation and palm oil and strong guidelines for suppliers, and is involved in many partnerships to push the Paris agreements beyond promise to actions. Other companies, Oxfam says, haven’t stretched themselves enough in their emissions-reductions ambitions.

The middle ground Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mondeléz and P&G form the middle tranche in terms of sustainability leadership among our 10 FMCG firms. Oxfam in particular gives Coca-Cola kudos for its land rights policy, and Coca-Cola also gets top marks from Canada’s Corporate Knights and from Germany’s Oekom Research. Coca-Cola views three of its recent actions as breakthrough in terms of sustainability leadership, says communications director Serena Levy.

“Three actions we view as having great potential well into the future are our water replenish work, 5by20 programme, and our PlantBottle innovation.” The 5by20 initiative, which has a goal of empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs across the value chain by 2020, has already reached 1.2 million women. Andy Krumholz of Escama Studio, a social enterprise that employs women to make fashionable purses and handbags out of recycled pull tabs from drinks tins, says Coca-Cola’s long-term support has been key. “Coca-Cola has helped source the raw materials to create our products and purchased our finished products for sale in their branded shops,” Krumholz says. “Without their consistent support over the years our venture would not have been able to sustain the livelihood of 65 artisans at a fair living wage. ”PlantBottle (made from 30% plant-based plastic) attracted some negative attention for claiming too much green goodness, but has helped Coke reduce CO2 emissions by 315,000 tonnes. Last July the company debuted a PET recyclable bottle made entirely from plant plastic. With the giants of the FMCG industry continuing to support smaller companies with the sourcing of their raw materials and sustainable technology, SPN believes that today the outlook for the planet is looking much brighter.





Liquid assets

The global liquid food industry’s main asset can be found today in the form of Ecolean’s advanced and, lightweight packaging solutions holding clear sustainability credentials. Their unique, and smart products satisfy the demands of today’s modern consumers and help dairy, beverage and liquid food producers increase their consumer appeal and visibility worldwide.

Global lightweight packaging producer Ecolean, realise that they have an important role to play in driving the development of sustainability in the packaging industry, forward. Lightweight packages allow the brand owners it works with to reduce both costs and environmental impact whilst maintaining the structural integrity and safety of their products.

“ Ecolean is a fast-growing and globally expanding business ” A lighter approach Ecolean’s approach to packaging is ‘lightweight’, which is to the benefit of both consumers and the environment. Producing lightweight packages using the smallest amount of raw materials as possible, has been in the company’s DNA since it was founded in 1996 in Helsingborg, Sweden. Today Ecolean is a fast-growing and globally expanding business that offers its unique lightweight liquid food packages to some of the world’s best-known brands across more than 30 markets worldwide. In an exclusive interview with SPN the company explained why it is the supplier of choice for so many and how its strategy for optimising the sustainability and recyclability of its lightweight packaging works. We spoke to Hanna Jeppsson, the Director of Communications of the, Ecolean Group, and asked her a range of topical questions about the company and its sustainability culture, the results of which are published here.



How ‘sustainability-aware’ would you say your company is and what recent measures have you taken to improve your overall contribution to the circular economy? / Are you planning the launch of any new products in the foreseeable future that you can tell us about? ”Sustainability is deeply embedded in Ecolean’s core and business proposition. It is actually the reason why the company was founded in the first place - to produce unique, lightweight packaging solutions and resource-efficient filling lines, all designed to save as much as possible of nature’s limited resources. ”We produce flexible packages for both ambient and chilled distribution with easy-to-use convenience features integrated in the format, for the liquid food, dairy and beverage industry. Since the packages are 50-60% lighter than other types of packages for liquid food, beneficial reductions throughout the packages’ lifecycle are created. ”But this is only one way Ecolean makes a difference every day. We also work very hard to keep our production’s impact to a minimum as well. Just this year we have announced that Ecolean joins the Science Based Targets initiative aligning our climate targets to the Paris agreement. The targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from Ecolean’s operations are consistent with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. We also keep reducing our waste in the production phase, sending zero waste to landfill, and as much as 97% of the production waste is sent to recycling.

”Each year, Ecolean is assessed by trusted sustainability ratings provider EcoVadis and for 2020 we were placed in the top 1% of all 75,000 companies assessed on a global level. We know that our ambitions are high and that our sustainability work is solid and create the change that is needed. But we are equally aware that this is not just one challenge to overcome but continuous, hard and dedicated work to maintain our high levels and constantly improve our efforts. ”Enabling recyclability of our packages on the markets where we are active is one area where we work hard to find solutions. The recycling infrastructure in local recycling systems varies endlessly and by a multilevel approach we try to inspire, educate and facilitate opportunities for recycling of the Ecolean packages. We have also committed to presenting a new packaging range designed for even easier recycling in existing recycling streams, by 2025. This project is under development and focus on adapting the material properties for easier configuration by existing recycling technology”.

In your opinion what have been the most significant developments in terms of recycling of packaging and what is Ecolean doing in this regard? ”We hope to see many new and innovative ways of making packaging’s impact on the environment lighter, in the best ways possible. It is, however, extremely important to take a holistic view on the entire lifecycle of products, for packaging in particular to make sure that the environmental impact actually decreases rather than increases. Working together with the entire value chain will be key to solve many of the challenges in recycling. Not only do we need collecting, sorting and recycling infrastructures available, we also need to create an aftermarket for the recycled materials. Ecolean addresses all of these areas in different collaborative initiatives and is pleased to see that more and more companies from different parts of the value chain start to join in to find solutions. A key Ecolean partner is CEFLEX, which is a European consortium of over 140 companies and associations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging, where Ecolean has been an active member since 2017. CEFLEX recently published design guidelines for flexible packaging by collecting input from the entire value chain.




“ Today Ecolean is part of local recycling initiatives ” Today, Ecolean is also part of local recycling initiatives to make recycling possible in more markets, such as Soft Plastic Recycling (New Zealand) and REDcycle (Australia). These are two progressive projects where companies from different segments of the value chain joined forces to create recycling systems for flexible packaging something that local kerbside collecting systems did not offer. The flexible packages through these initiatives are collected in most leading supermarkets and then sent to local recycling sites. There is no need for shipping the waste to other continents as many other recycling projects entail, with heavy environmental impact as a result. Local recycling initiatives can be argued to be an interim solution with, in comparison, quite low volumes, but they are at least taking action today – recycling tonnes and tonnes of packages – lowering the overall environmental impact and carbon footprint, package by package. By engaging and sharing knowledge with the recycling industry and working with dedicated recycling projects, Ecolean enhances recycling opportunities for its packaging solutions. Recycling is a priority at Ecolean as it is essential for the sustainable use of packaging and contributes towards a global circular economy. ”One significant development in the industry, which we monitor closely and hope will become commercially viable in the next few years is chemical recycling. Chemical recycling would make it possible for food packages to actually use recycled materials. Today, food safety legislation hinders the use of recycled materials in our packages, actually in most food packaging apart from very precise streams such as PET/rPET. It seems that chemical recycling might be the answer to make the same possible for PP and PE as well”.

What are the key drivers for change in your industry sector and how much is the on-going pressure for greater sustainability and recycling affecting your productivity? The key driver for change for the liquid food packaging industry, is the consumers. But with that comes a responsibility in realising that these issues are extremely complicated and consumers are forced to take a lot of information into account.


We can see many examples where consumers demand another type of packaging to decrease impact in one end of the packages lifecycle, for example sourcing of raw materials, but not having the holistic view of realising that the material have greater impact in the production, transportation and end-of-life phases. This is why we stress taking a life-cycle perspective and a holistic view. ”We believe that it is no longer about if you can or should contribute, but how you can contribute and also in the best possible way from a holistic viewpoint, which would ultimately benefit all of us more in the long run”.

Can you describe your product portfolio and its sustainability credentials? ”Ecolean’s innovative and lightweight packaging solutions are the answer to the demands from the global liquid food industry and modern consumers wanting smart and safe packages. Our unique and distinctive standup pouches make it easier for our customers to be innovative in differentiating their brands, helping dairy, beverage and liquid food producers in markets all over the world to increase customer visibility on the store shelves. ”By using a minimal amount of raw material, Ecolean produces a truly lightweight package to reduce environmental impact. Lightweight packages alone save resources, allowing us all to tread a little bit more lightly and conserve the planet’s limited resources. At the same time, Ecolean’s packaging solutions are easy-to-use and hold unique convenience features – making a big difference in the everyday lives of both producers and consumers”.


The importance of a life-cycle approach As flexible packaging gains market share, a focus on recyclability is needed both from a supplier perspective as well as from the recycling industry. Flexible packages are lightweight and offer a beneficial reduction of environmental impact, which can be seen throughout the packages’ entire life-cycle. Recently Ecolean was awarded ‘Platinum Medal Recognition’ by EcoVadis, an independent provider of business sustainability ratings. The company was placed in the top 1% globally of 75,000 assessed companies from over 200 industries. “We are very pleased that our sustainability work is confirmed to be at the top in a global context,” said Ecolean CEO, Peter L Nilsson. “The demand for lightweight packages with minimal environmental impact for liquid food is increasing, and an independent assessment such as that of EcoVadis helps us to show the world our unrivalled commitment and successful work on developing packaging solutions with sustainability at the core of our business.” Nilson added, “Furthermore, to help food producers understand the life-cycle impact of our products, Ecolean is the first packaging supplier in the world to review the whole system with detailed analysis and description in Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) – encompassing the lightweight packages as well as filling machines. Being completely transparent with the environmental impact of your product, and presenting the data in a comparable way will increase the possibilities for customers and consumers to grasp the whole picture and make choices based on facts, with less impact on resource use”.



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