- Mondi and Unilever have jointly developed a recyclable, paper-based packaging solution for Unilever's Colman's brand to reduce the amount of plastic and aluminium used
- Colman's Meal Makers will now be protected with aluminium-free paper-based packets that ensure high barrier protection
- Mondi's EcoSolutions approach supports Unilever in its sustainability goal to halve the amount of plastic used in its packaging
Unilever, together with Mondi, a global leader in packaging and paper, have developed a new high barrier paper-based packaging material for Unilever
R-Cycle - the digital product passport for sustainable plastics - receives the German Sustainability Award 2021 in the "Packaging" category. The award is conferred by the German Institute for Service Quality (DISQ), the German news channel ntv, and DUP UNTERNEHMER (German Entrepreneurship Platform for Digitalization and Sustainability). The award is patroned by Brigitte Zypries, former Federal Minister (ret.).
Through the partnership, the companies will work to engineer and test new chemical recycling methods with a focus on flexible packaging such as pouches and bag-in-box – which are suitable for a variety of food and beverage applications
Based in the Netherlands, Obbotech specialises in advanced forms of chemical recycling technologies for plastics including SPEX (Selective Plastic Extraction) and Hydrocat. SPEX can convert a mix of waste plastics into near virgin PE and PP materials, while Hydrocat helps take products which might normally end up in landfills and turn them into useable fuel products.
“With SPEX technology…we employ a dissolution process to recycle in a circular manner. We create a plastic-to-plastic system using both PE and PP materials, delivering high-quality yields while using minimal energy throughout the process,” said Wouter van Neerbos, chairman of Obbotec.
The company’s SPEX method can reportedly comply with difficult materials such as mixed plastics, multi-layer films, laminates, and foils; upgrading the resulting material into near-virgin plastic granules again.
Van Neerbos continued: “Hydrocat technology is a third-generation hydrocracking process which turns a mix of biological and plastic waste into distillates such as marine gas oil (MGO) and naphtha crude oil.”
Ross Bushnell, president and CEO of Scholle IPN, said: “The packaging industry has much work to do in order to achieve true circularity, but we believe that the technology and processes Obbotec employs will help us to significantly improve in this area and, in turn, to make positive strides with respect to our impact on Earth’s climate and resources.”
Scholle IPN and Obbotec will soon begin joint trials that push a variety of film and fitment products through these technologies.
“The resulting analysis will help both companies develop next-generation solutions that can truly move the needle toward a circular economy in flexible packaging,” said Bushnell.
Labels are not just there to make your product look the part, they are also required for communicating with your customers and informing them of vital information about your products. If you are on the lookout for new labelling machinery, or considering contract labelling for your business, you need to know the type of labels you need. There are many types of labels to choose from, and some are more suitable to certain products than others.
1. POLYESTER LABELS
Polyester labels are a common option for a range of products because they are available in various shapes and sizes. A very common option for polyester labels is to use a chrome or metalized finish, and they are well suited for luxury products which need to look the part. Polyester labels benefit from very long-lasting adhesives, and they are commonly used for labels on equipment and machinery because of this.
2. RECYCLED LABELS
If sustainability is an important part of your business, then using recycled labels in your labelling machine might be your best option. As the name suggests, recycled labels are made from 100% recycled materials. A common material for this is Kraft paper, which offers a trendy, earthy appearance. These kinds of labels are not able to be laminated, so they do not work well for products which need to be oil or water resistant.
3. WRAPROUND LABELS
For cylindrical products, such as bottles and jars, wrapround labelling is a perfect solution. These labels work with your labelling machines in order to wrap fully around your product and cover the entire cylinder. Wrapround labels are great for showcasing your products while also providing enough space on the label for necessary information. This kind of label is commonly used for food and beverages, and provides space for ingredients lists and nutritional information.
4. FOLD OUT LABELS
When your product has limited space, but you need to provide your customers with a lot of information, fold out labels might be the ideal solution. They are made from a single substrate, and then folded and stacked into an accordion effect. Fold out labels are generally used in addition to a primary label. For example, you might have a primary label on the front of your product, and then a fold out label on the back or bottom.
5. DRY PEEL LABELS
Dry peel labels are designed to be peeled away from a product in order to remove it completely. For some products, you need a label fixed to it while in store, but customers need to be able to remove this post-purchase. These labels use a temporary adhesive to hold the label in place securely, but it can also be peeled off with ease.
To find out more about label types and advanced labelling systems, speak with our team of experts today.
A major industry group is urging Congress to adopt a national recycled plastic standard, facilitate “rapid scaling” of the chemical recycling sector, and more.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on July 13 published an outline of five actions the organization believes Congress should take to increase plastics recovery. It follows ACC’s move last fall to support packaging fees to improve the U.S. recycling system.
The association said its members, among which are large prime plastic producers, “believe that new federal policies are essential to develop a means for valuable and highly efficient plastic material to be reused again and again rather than treated as waste, thus enabling a more circular economy for plastics.”
At least 30% recycled content by 2030
First on the ACC list is a call for a federal policy requiring all plastic packaging to include at least 30% recycled plastic by 2030 through a “national recycled plastics standard.”
Getting to that point, however, requires additional steps, ACC noted. The organization estimated the 30% figure would require 13 billion pounds of recycled plastic to be recovered annually, and that level of supply is not currently available. (The report doesn’t specify whether the 30% mandate would cover post-consumer, post-industrial or both types of recycled content.)
The organization pointed to a recent analysis from ICIS, which concluded that chemical recycling (sometimes termed “advanced recycling”) will be “essential to meet ambitious recycling targets” such as the U.S. EPA’s national recycling goal of 50% by 2030.
“Mechanical recycling will need to continue to expand and new advanced recycling facilities will need to be built for America to improve its recycling rate and increase the amount of recycled plastic in packaging,” the organization wrote.
ACC calls on Congress to enact federal regulations similar to rules adopted in 14 states that ease the regulatory framework for chemical recycling plants. Louisiana was the latest state to adopt such a policy.
“Thirty-six U.S. states still have outdated policies that could regulate advanced recycling as ‘waste disposal’ rather than manufacturing,” the organization wrote. “Doing so sends entrepreneurs down the wrong regulatory pathway for siting a facility, making it more difficult for companies to make investments and deploy advanced recycling technologies.”
ACC previously called on Congress to reject the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, in part because the bill includes a pause on new chemical recycling facility development.
All material types treated equal?
The report also calls for national plastics recycling standards to create a more consistent recycling system across the country, and it recommends a full life cycle analysis of all materials to ensure policies are “developed based on data and science, not ideology.”
Finally, it urges Congress to enact an “American-designed producer responsibility system.” Such a program should cover all packaging materials rather than picking specific material types, the organization wrote. Collected funds would be “reinvested solely to help expand efficient collection and sorting and enable recycling systems, while capitalizing on existing infrastructure,” ACC wrote.
The recommendations drew quick condemnation from environmental groups, including Greenpeace, which described the outline as a “plan to continue endless plastic production.”
“Recycling has been the plastic industry’s best friend, despite all of its failures, for decades,” Greenpeace noted in a statement. “The ACC knows well that this is not a plan to end plastic waste, as it claims, but rather a plan for industry to continue producing plastics for as long as possible.”
In 2018, ACC announced a series of objectives around plastics sustainability, including a goal of recovering 100% of plastic packaging by 2040.
The ALPLA Group, a global packaging producer and specialist in recycling, is consolidating its developments in relation to biodegradable packaging solutions under its new Blue Circle Packaging label. Home-compostable coffee capsules are the first product available on the market.
In a bid to reduce single-use plastic, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with Acharya Nagarjuna University and Ecolastic Private Limited, launched environmentally safe packaging products made from natural and plant-based food-grade materials.
The bags which come in two forms, soluble and insoluble, can be biologically degraded in 3 months and cause no harm to the environment whatsoever. Unlike the conventional polyethylene bags made from petrochemicals, which are highly unsafe to the environment and takes years to degrade, these bags are the most sustainable, cost-effective, and ocean-safe alternative to single-use plastics,” DRDO and Ecolastic Private Limited said.
Speaking to the media, the Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), DRDO, Ram Manohar Babu said that he feels immensely proud at launching the Ecolastic packaging product. “Government of India has decided to completely eliminate the usage of single-use plastic in the country by 2022 and these biodegradable packing bags help us make a forward step in that direction,” he said. “Eco-friendly products like these are essential for the survival of mankind and DRDO has played a vital role in bringing it out,” he added while pointing out that Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam has approved the distribution of these products.
India proposes to phase-out single-use plastic
A Draft Notification Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021, published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on March 12, 2021, announced a ban on single-use plastic that would take place in three phases. First, as of September 30, 2021, non-woven plastic carry bags (made of virgin or recycled plastic) must be at least 60 grams per square meter (GSM) or 240 microns thick. Compostable plastic carry bags would be exempted. Second, starting on January 1, 2022, India is proposing to ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of certain single-use plastic commodities, including candy sticks and ice-cream sticks. Other single-use plastic commodities to be banned after this date include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, and polystyrene decorations.
Third, as of July 1, 2022, India would ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of additional single-use plastic items (including items made with polystyrene and expanded polystyrene). The single-use plastic commodities that would be prohibited after this date include the following food-contact articles: plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, straws, trays, stirrers, and wrapping films around sweet boxes. Non-food contact items include wrapping/packing films around invitation cards and cigarette packets, and plastic/PVC banners less than 100 microns thick.
LyondellBasell and our mechanical recycling joint venture Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) are working with Unilever, a leading global consumer goods company, to develop packaging materials made from recycled plastic waste for Unilever’s newly introduced Dove roll on and Rexona deodorant product lines. For these two applications alone, it is estimated that 940 metric tons of post-consumer resins will replace previously used fossil-based resins in 2021. The packaging for both deodorants can be recycled after use.
LyondellBasell, QCP and Unilever have collaborated for several years to develop sustainable solutions that do not compromise quality and meet Unilever’s ambitious target to reduce use of virgin plastic in packaging by half; ensure 100% of plastic packaging is designed to be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025; and help collect and process more plastic packaging than the company sells by 2025.
Going green seems to be the mantra by several brands, which are opting for sustainable packaging of their products. Consider the following: Dabur is removing outer paper cartons from its toothpaste brand Dabur Red Paste; Flipkart is working towards reducing the need for an outer layer of packaging and has eliminated all single-use plastic packaging. Further, Mondelez India has announced a grant to Hasiru Dala, an NGO that will recycle multi layered plastic (MLP) which is a prominent packaging material used by the company.
Several FMCG companies have taken sustainability pledges at a global level and shifted to sustainable packaging materials. For instance, Unilever is introducing a paper-based laundry detergent bottle in Brazil in 2022 followed by Europe and some other markets. Coca-Cola will introduce 100% recycled bottles in the US this year.
Shahrukh Khan, executive director, operations, Dabur India, says dropping the outer paper packaging for toothpaste could save 150 tonne of paper annually. Mondelez India claims that over 97% of its packaging is currently designed to be recyclable. Ophira Bhatia, director, corporate and government affairs, India and CGA Lead, AMEA, Mondelez, says the company’s recycling initiative will turn about 600 tonne of MLP waste into boards that can be used to make furniture and construction material.
One of the reasons for the initiative is consumer preference. As per a 2021 Deloitte study, the environment is a top priority for millennials and GenZ consumers.
“Sustainability has become a business necessity because studies show that the brands that don’t adopt environment-friendly practices stand to lose consumers,” says Sanjesh Thakur, partner, Deloitte India.
As per a Central Pollution Control Board report (2018-19), 3.3 million metric tonne of plastic waste is generated in India every year. There are several ways to reduce the quantity of waste generated. A company could reduce the amount of packaging material used, substitute the material with alternatives, replace inks, decentralise transportation to reduce fuel consumption or use only recyclable materials.
Reducing the amount of packaging material used is a common starting point for many. But there are challenges. Like, plastic is a versatile material with useful properties. “The issue with substitution is that all plastic cannot be replaced by paper in all situations. Another concern is cost. For instance, bio plastics cost three to seven times more than regular plastics and have functional limitations,” says Sudeep Maheshwari, principal, Kearney. He adds that the volume of such material produced in India is only 1% of all plastics produced in India. Packaging accounts for around 25% of any product cost across the entire Dabur range.
This cost and volume barrier may make sustainable substitutes unviable for mass use. “In India, sustainable materials are mostly used by brands that can charge a premium or boutique brands with a niche clientele that appreciates environment-friendly initiatives,” says Arnab Ray, creative director, Landor & Fitch.
Recycling is another area that is promising but needs community action to be successful. “Post-consumer recycling is a challenge in India because we do not segregate waste and our supply chains are not set up at scale to facilitate efficient collection of recyclable waste,” says Maheshwari.
Making bottles refillable is another way for brands to reduce their environmental footprint. This too hinges on consumers playing their part. Brands in India are working on finding ways to overcome the hurdles India’s complex market poses. “About 10% of brands that work with us are actively working on sustainable packaging, while 30% are seeking solutions and experimenting,” says Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder and director, Elephant Design.
The Association of Plastic Recyclers has recognized three shrink label innovations for their compatibility with PET recycling processes.
In recent months, APR awarded critical guidance letters acknowledging that Siegwerk’s washable inks, CCL Label’s floating polyolefin label, and Garware Polyester’s crystallizable co-polyester film with washable inks meet the APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability.
All three technologies are designed for shrink sleeve labels applied to PET bottles.
The following are more details on the innovations, as provided in APR webinars. (APR owns Resource Recycling, Inc., publisher of Plastics Recycling Update.)
Solvent-based washable inks
APR on June 23 awarded a letter to Siegwerk for the company’s solvent-based washable inks for shrink labels for PET bottles. During the recycling process, the inks wash off the crystallizable co-polyester shrink film so that the clean label film can be recycled alongside the PET bottle flake.
During a June 11 webinar, Miguel Gama of Siegwerk explained the company worked to develop a series of inks that meet customer requirements for high printability speeds and other properties but don’t compromise the PET bottle recycling process.
The company’s inks wash off in an alkaline solution at 55 degrees Celsius, which is actually about 30 degrees cooler than APR testing requirements. The inks do not re-deposit on the flakes, Gama said, and they can be removed through wash water filtration.
Independent R&D and testing facility Plastics Forming Enterprises (PFE) performed the label testing to ensure the inks meet APR standards.
The inks are suitable for printing via flexo and rotogravure systems.
Floating polyolefin sleeve label
APR on April 26 issued a critical guidance letter to CCL Label for the company’s floating polyolefin shrink label for PET bottles.
Called “Ecofloat,” the film floats away from PET in float-sink tanks. Inks remain on the label to avoid significant staining to the clear PET flakes. The label was tested by PFE.
During an April 23 APR webinar, Dan Webb, vice president of sales for Toronto-headquartered CCL, said the company received its first APR approval for a label in 2015, but the latest version incorporates advancements, including to the film’s haze values.
The label, which has a PE/PP substrate, has over 60% shrink capabilities in the transverse direction, Webb said.
Webb said the label already has approval from the European PET Bottle Platform. When asked about bottle sorting, Marika Knoff, head of sustainability and communications at CCL, said testing in Europe showed that sorters can identify 100% of the PET bottle even when it’s covered by a full-body sleeve.
Webb said CCL sees the material as an ideal solution for not only PET bottles but also for HDPE bottles and PP cups.
“We think it’s a good material that’s providing another good solution to the market,” he said.
Recycling-friendly PETG shrink label
APR on April 12 awarded a critical guidance letter to Garware Polyester for the India-headquartered company’s ECO-REP PETG shrink sleeve label for PET bottles.
The heat shrinkable film uses a washable HP Indigo ElectroInk printed using an HP Indigo Press. After the ink is washed off, the crystallizable co-polyester film is designed to be recycled alongside the PET.
K.T. Kulkarni, general manager of R&D at Garware Polyester, presented during an April 6 APR webinar. Kulkarni’s presentation noted that his company developed a level of crystallinity in the film that allows ink to be removed and prevents film clumping in PET flakes but still enables a sufficient level of shrinkage on bottles. The PETG’s melting point is 216 degrees Celsius.
PFE performed the label testing, which showed it meets APR’s guidelines.