• Happier Beauty is Developing a Refillable Toothpaste Dispenser

    News: 

    Happier Beauty, a British eco-friendly dental brand is developing a refillable toothpaste dispenser with biodegradable refill capsules after receiving a Smart Innovate grant of £150,000 ($202,925). 
     
    The brand is on a mission to tackle the tons of plastic waste produced by regular toothpaste pumps and tubes by developing a new toothpaste dispenser that eliminates single-use plastic tubes or pumps.

    About the Dispenser
    The innovative toothpaste dispenser will be made of aluminum and 50% recycled plastic, and has been designed to be used over and over again. The refill capsules are biodegradable meaning the new dispenser and refill capsules are completely zero-waste.
     
    Together, the offering provides an alternative to standard toothpaste tubes that are notoriously difficult to recycle and result in 1.5 billion plastic toothpaste tubes ending up in landfill every year. The brand wants to create a more circular solution to the climate crisis.

    Biodegradable Refill Capsules
    The new toothpaste dispenser will allow consumers to refill using biodegradable capsules. The refill capsules will be sent out to customers as a subscription, along with the reusable dispenser in their first subscription. Customers will be able to choose the frequency of their subscription.
     
    The design will be elegant and sleek, and the dispenser comes in four colors: mint, pink, peach and white.
     
    Founder of Happier Beauty, Faye Wilson, said, “It is becoming clear that recycling will not save us from the climate crisis, and so Happier Beauty wanted to take it one step further by creating a truly circular refillable and reusable solution.
     
    “We are so excited to be the world’s first toothpaste company to bring a refillable toothpaste dispenser to market. Refills are becoming more popular across food and beauty so why not dental care? Toothpaste is a product we all use twice a day but innovation in this market has been pretty slow up until now.”

  • Swiss researchers develop edible alternative to plastic packaging

    News: 

    Researchers at Empa, a Swiss materials research organisation, have developed a protective cellulose coating for fruit and vegetables. The coating is made from pomace, a substance that can be extracted from fruit and vegetable peels.

    Empa researchers developed the coating together with the retailer Lidl Switzerland. The coating can be applied to fruit and vegetables to extend their shelf life.

    Researchers have spent more than a year developing the coating. Tests done on bananas resulted in bananas staying yellow after ten days. Bananas without the coating went brown. The shelf life of bananas was extended by more than a week, significantly reducing food waste. “The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future,” says Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa lab.

    The coating can either be sprayed onto the fruit or applied to the produce as a dip. In addition, it is easy to wash off. It is also harmless to the consumer and can be consumed without harm.

    The time lapse video above shows how two cucumbers, one with the coating and one without it, deteriorate over time.

    The cellulose layer will be tested and further improved over the next two years together with Lidl Switzerland and a fruit and vegetable supplier. The aim is to eventually rollout the new technology across all 150 Lidl stores throughout Switzerland.

  • LactaLogics and Scholle IPN to develop aseptic baby food packaging

    News: 

    US-based baby food company LactaLogics has finalised a partnership with flexible packaging manufacturer Scholle IPN for developing aseptic packaging technology.

    The companies have partnered after carrying out a packaging research and development phase.

    The collaboration will involve integrating Scholle IPN’s solutions with LactaLogics’ Gentle-UHT processing capabilities to deliver safe human milk-based products for infants in pharmaceutical-grade packaging.

    This will provide hospital newborn intensive care units (NICUs) with access to shelf-stable, ready-to-serve human milk and human milk fortifiers packaged in aseptic pouches and cartons.

    Scholle IPN business development manager Andrew Lively said: “Our aseptic packaging, especially as it relates to pharmaceuticals, protects delicate products from contamination and outside environmental factors, which is critical when feeding premature infants.

    “The ability to combine this with shelf-stability and controlled, precise dosing delights us as we look forward to the positive impact of our packaging on the lives of premature infants.”

    The new packaging solution is designed to maintain the reliability and safety of LactaLogics’ human milk-based products.

    It is part of the company’s commitment to giving all premature infants access to an exclusive human milk diet.

    LactaLogics co-founder and chief operating officer Chelly Snow said: “Our partnership with Scholle IPN will give hospitals access to aseptic packaging technology.

  • Hoffmann Upgrades Facility in The Netherlands with Dedicated Line for Baby Milk Powder Tins

    €4 million investment segregates baby milk powder tins production, paves way for further growth with space for additional line.

    a global provider of high-quality packaging for infant-food, nutritional and wellbeing products, has upgraded its manufacturing facility in The Netherlands to include a dedicated tins production line for baby milk powder products. Now installed and operating in a segregated room for food-grade compliance, the new line is currently servicing a major customer in the baby milk sector. 

  • Iceland freezes use of unnecessary plastic with launch of paper packaging from Mondi

    News: 

    Iceland is replacing its previous packaging with Mondi’s versatile functional barrier paper across a number of its ranges. The first newly packaged product to hit the shelves earlier this month was the retailer’s frozen chicken dippers, which reduces the amount of plastic used per year by 80%.

    The functional barrier paper is made from renewable resources with Mondi managing the paper production and coating in-house, providing a fully integrated solution. It is easy for consumers to recycle the paper in existing waste streams and as paper is the most widely recycled material in the world – 74% of paper and 83% of paper-based packaging in Europe are recycled – the solution ensures that the paper can be recycled at the end of its life, contributing to a circular economy.

    Stuart Lendrum, Head of Packaging, Quality and Food Safety at Iceland added: “We’ve been bold in our aims to remove plastic: we were the first UK retailer to publish our plastic footprint along with our pledge to ultimately become plastic free. To deliver on this “Doing it Right” promise, we knew we would need the expertise of global packaging suppliers like Mondi. Their collaborative EcoSolutions approach meant that our teams worked together to consider all elements of the product manufacturing and delivery journey. We now have a sustainable solution that is efficient to use, protects the products and meets the expectations of our customers.”

    Importantly, Mondi’s functional barrier paper offers complete product protection, ensuring the product has the same shelf life as it did with its previous packaging. Thanks to the high stiffness of the paper, the packaging is puncture resistant and ensures an efficient filling process that runs seamlessly on existing machinery.

    Falk Paulsen, Sales & Business Development Director Extrusion Solutions, Mondi says: “Iceland has set out ambitious sustainability targets and has already made great strides in reducing plastic packaging. Some products need more specialised solutions to ensure consumers get safe, high-quality food. Mondi’s functional barrier paper uses a wafer-thin coating that provides all the necessary barriers to keep food fresh and can still be recycled. It is a pleasure to be working with Iceland on their range of frozen food products.”

    Iceland aims to be the first UK supermarket to become plastic neutral, adapting to paper packaging wherever possible and offsetting its remaining plastic footprint by recovering and recycling environmental and nature-bound waste plastic. By working with Mondi, Iceland has benefitted from the packaging specialist’s EcoSolutions approach to work closely together to ask the right questions and develop the most sustainable packaging solutions.

  • Benefits of New Jar from Berry Stack Up

    A new stackable jar from Berry Global offers a valuable space saving solution on retail shelves, through e-commerce channels and in the home. At the same time, the jar provides excellent consumer convenience, and its effective product protection, reusability and recyclability enhance its environmental profile. 

  • USES FOR AI IN PACKAGING

    Artificial Intelligence is quickly taking over many advanced processes in all industries. At its current rate of advancement, AI is making a big dent in the production and distribution of packaging as well.  

    Let’s go over some of the technology that AI has backed in the packaging industry.  

  • TAMPER-PROOF, TAMPER-RESISTANT AND TAMPER-EVIDENT

    The three terms in the title are often used interchangeably, and wrongfully so. Tamper-proof, tamper-resistant and tamper-evident are indicative of three different categories of technology that allow businesses to safeguard their product before it reaches the customer.  

    Let’s go over what exactly can be defined as the above-mentioned technologies to avoid any false expectations.   

  • France bans plastic packaging for most fruits and vegetables

    News: 

    France has banned the use of plastics to package most fruit and vegetables.

    The ban came into effect on Saturday under new regulations that French President Emmanuel Macron’s government says are meant to phase out single-use plastics as pollution worsens globally.

    Under the new rules, leeks and carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, apples and pears and about 30 other items can no longer be sold in plastic. Instead, they should be wrapped in recyclable materials.

    Plastic will still be allowed for more fragile fruits such as berries and peaches, but is to be gradually phased out in the coming years.

    Magazines and other publications will also need to be shipped without plastic wrapping, and fast-food restaurants will no longer be allowed to offer free plastic toys to children.

    Later this year, public spaces will also be made to introduce water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles.

    The government says the new regulation is expected to eliminate about 1 billion items of plastic waste a year.

    “It’s a bit schizophrenic because on the one hand, the French are very much aware of the need to reduce plastic use. There is broad support for not using so much plastic. At the same time, once you buy vegetables yourself, you realise that nothing has been done to find new ways of wrapping that stops the produce from decomposing too fast,” she said.

    “The other thing is that this comes right in the time of COVID. And quite frankly, people were just happy not to have others pawing their vegetables, trying them and smelling them and buying or not buying them,” she said. “People do not know how exactly to take it. There’s pluses and minuses on this.”

    France’s packaging industry meanwhile said it was dismayed by the new rules, particularly a ban on the use of recycled plastics.

    “We were never consulted,” complained Laurent Grandin, head of the fruit and vegetable sector’s Interfel association.

    He told the AFP news agency that the costs were “insurmountable” for small companies who would have to keep using plastic to protect exports, notably to the United Kingdom, a major client for French apples.

    Elipso, an association that represents manufacturers, said in a statement that it has client firms “who will have to stop their fruit and vegetable packing activity, even though they have been working on alternatives using less plastic or recycled plastic for several years”.

    Elipso and Polyvia, a union of 3,500 firms making packaging, have appealed to France’s State Council, which has jurisdiction over administrative disputes, against what they say is a distortion of European markets as the ban applies solely to France.

    But Armand Chaigne, director of industrial markets at packaging firm DS Smith, sees the benefits, notably for cardboard manufacturers.

    “It is estimated that in Europe, out of the eight million tonnes of plastic produced per year for single-use packaging, 1.5 million tonnes could already be removed,” he said.

    “That represents about 70 billion units of single-use plastic packaging”, or “about seven billion euros ($7.9bn) of additional turnover potential for cardboard.”

  • Canadian company builds a better box of chocolates using braille

    News: 

    A move by a Canadian chocolate maker to produce packaging for blind and partially sighted people is one of several campaigns this year by companies trying to make their products more accessible to people with disabilities (PWD).

    Purdys Chcolatier created a holiday box of chocolates this Christmas with both a braille label and a braille legend for the chocolates inside.

    "When it first launched online and in select shops, it sold out within a matter of hours," Julia Cho, the brand's marketing manager, said from its Vancouver factory.

    "I know the box is not perfect and we have so much to learn, but to me, it encourages me that this is a step in the right direction."

    The company, which has 80 stores across Canada, rushed to produce more braille boxes, and Cho says another run will come in the new year.

    'There is a lot of work to be done'
    Some big-name companies put a spotlight on inclusive products and packages in 2021, says Christina Mallon, the head of inclusive design and accessibility at Wunderman Thompson, a creative agency in New York City.

    "There is a trend towards inclusive product design, and I see that in 2022, it's going to get even larger," said Mallon, whose clients include the fashion label Tommy Hilfiger, tech giant Microsoft and consumer goods brand Unilever.

    Still, Mallon, who is disabled, says the movement is painfully small, compared to the needs of the PWD community.

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    "There is a lot of work to be done," she said.

    According to Statistics Canada, 6.2 million people, or roughly one in five Canadians, have a disability. About 1.5 million of them identify as having sight loss.

    Purdys designed its braille box and legend in consultation with members of the blind and partially sighted community. The National Federation of the Blind in the United States estimates that only one in 10 blind people can read braille.

    "This is rare to find braille on a product," said John Rae, a retired Toronto man who has been blind for most of his adult life. He says he was happy to be able to buy a braille box.

    "Many products or services are not constructed or built with blind people in mind."

    An online video from the company features emotional reactions from members of the community to the box.

    Companies adopting inclusive design
    When it comes to packaging, creating more inclusive or accessible designs has several elements.

    "It's ensuring that you can easily open the packaging. And then it's ensuring that you can easily manipulate the product to make it work," Mallon explained. "And that's ensuring that easy grip, easy tear, open, perforated edges; ensuring that someone with a visual impairment can actually identify the product."

    Mallon, who has paralysis in both arms, has struggled as a consumer with packaging and difficult-to-handle products, as well as with clothing.

    Her personal experiences helped her guide Unilever through creating a more accessible design for its deodorant brand Degree.

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    Earlier this year, a new container for Degree was tested with 200 Americans who have disabilities.

    Online videos from the company show athletic people with disabilities using the product. A more informational video shows the container's hook-shaped cap, ergonomic bottom grip, braille labelling and large applicator.

    A team of experts, including Mallon, and others with disabilities were part of the design process.

    Unilever has not announced when the product will be launched, but Procter & Gamble is selling Oil of Olay face creams with an "easy open lid" online.

    The company also did not patent the design and published it on the internet so other manufacturers could use it.

    Some beauty brands have been providing forms of accessible packaging for years.

    L'Occitane started putting braille on its packages in 1997.

    Canadian social media influencer Molly Burke, who is blind, has critiqued the packaging of a number of beauty products in online videos.

    Much more work needed to create change
    There are signs of progress in packaging design in other industries, too.

    Kellogg's tested a more accessible QR code design this year to help partially sighted customers identify products and get information about them.

    Microsoft created easy-to-open packaging for its Xbox Adaptive Controller.

    Mallon celebrates these high-profile efforts but says people with disabilities are still all too often low-priority customers.

    "I've been doing this for about seven years," she said. "And I can name all the accessible products and the mainstream brands on both of my hands."

    People with disabilities are a huge market
    Mallon points out that people with disabilities are a huge market.

    According to the World Health Organization, roughly 15 per cent of the world's population, or about 1.1 billion people, identify as having some form of disability. WHO says this makes people with disabilities the world's largest minority group.

    Return on Disability, a Canadian research and advocacy firm, found that the number of people with disabilities around the world represents an emerging market the size of China plus the European Union, with $1.9 trillion in disposable income every year.

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    Add to that estimate an aging population in many counties, which will mean more consumers with disabilities in the future.

    Yet Mallon says she still encounters company executives with doubts about the value of this market.

    "I think some brands are still hesitant because they believe that it's still a niche market that doesn't have the money," she said.

    Peter Athanasopoulos​ agrees that doubting the disabled shopper is a mistake.

    He suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident as a teenager and has limited use of his fingers.

    Today he's the director of public policy for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and lives independently in Bluewater, Ont.

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    He says people with disabilities are excellent customers for companies that make their products and packages easier for them to use.

    "I become super loyal when I see a company doing that. When I find something that works, I stick to it," Athanasopoulos said. "So there's a value for that company."

    He also thinks that it's time for companies to pick up the pace of change. "Are they getting better fast enough? I would say not."  

    Young designers being taught inclusivity   
    At design schools across the country, the product and packaging designers of the future are being taught to bring the values of inclusivity and accessibility into their work, says Donna Saccutelli.

    Saccutelli, a graphic design professor at Seneca College in Toronto, helped the school launch a targeted Inclusive Design for Business program just six months ago.

    The 120 spots in it filled up quickly.

    Saccutelli said that "there's been a lack of awareness in companies with decision-makers" about accessible design.

    Now, she's training designers to think about inclusivity as being just as important as environmental sustainability.

    "Where the world is today, we need to be doing that."

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