Palsgaard’s pellet line expansion supports growing demand for food-grade plant-based polymer additives
Palsgaard A/S is driving the trend towards more natural ingredients and additives as industries strive for enhanced sustainability by increasing the use of renewables in their materials sourcing. The Danish pioneer in food emulsifiers has opened a new 10,000 tonnes pellet line that also expands the manufacturer’s production capacity for Einar® brand plant-based polymer additives.
The majority of takeaway meals are packed, transported, and served in single-use plastic containers, most of which are then either burnt or dumped in our oceans. On top of this, take away packaging is ghastly - it's cheap, flimsy and however appealing the meal inside, the packaging completely detracts from the consumer experience.
Take Back is designed to be easy to clean for reusability and stackable for ease of storage. The double-walled construction helps ensure the temperature of the meals is maintained through delivery. The structural design of this particular example is reminiscent of a pagoda for specific use by Asian cuisine proprietors and purposely unbranded for flexibility of use by different restaurants. The design also serves as a desirable container beautiful enough to be proudly placed on the dinner table.
The concept envisages a returnable system whereby the container provider hosts a platform for use by members - namely, local restaurants and cafes. Members deliver meals in 'Take Back' containers, consumers then keep hold of them and return them during their next delivery. The infrastructure for tracking the location of the containers for retrieval is already in place via platforms such as Deliveroo and Just Eat and one can easily imagine a small deposit system paid for by consumers to help validate the investment in the reusable packaging.
A species of seagrass, named Posidonia oceanica, has the ability to catch and remove plastics from the ocean, according to researchers at the University of Barcelona.
The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, describes the role of the Posidonia as a filter and trap for plastics in coastal areas.
Because of this, it’s seen as a pioneering natural mechanism to take and remove these materials from the sea.
As part of the study, the team analysed the trapping and extraction of plastic in great seagrasses of the Posidonia on the coasts of Majorca.
Anna Sànchez-Vidal, a researcher at the Department of Ocean and Earth Dynamics at the University of Barcelona, said: “Everything suggests that plastics are trapped in the Posidonia seagrass. In the grasslands, the plastics are incorporated to agglomerates of natural fibre with a ball shape – aegagropila or Posidonia Neptune balls – which are expulsed from the marine environment during storms.
“According to the analyses, the trapped microplastics in the prairies of the Posidonia oceanica are mainly filaments, fibres and fragments of polymers which are denser than the seawater such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).”
An estimated 1,470 plastics are taken per kilogramme of Posidonia oceanica seagrass, says study
Typically Posidonia aegagropila – which is a type of algae – are expelled from the prairies – a type of grassland – during periods of strong waves and a part ends up piled in the beaches.
And, although there are no studies that quantify the amount of aegagropilae expelled from the marine environment, it’s estimated that about 1,470 plastics are taken per kilogramme of plant fibre.
These amounts are significantly higher than those captured through leaves or sand.
Sànchez-Vidal added: “we cannot completely know the magnitude of this plastic export to the land.
However, first estimations reveal that Posidonia balls could catch up to 867 million plastics per year.”
The cost of accreditation and current price of PRNs means that it is not financially viable for some of the UK’s smaller plastics recycling businesses to get accredited under the scheme. Under the terms of the agreement, Valpak will work with Aylesbury Granulation to ensure accreditation costs are covered through PRN purchases. In return, Valpak has agreed an exclusive supply deal for the PRNs produced by the company.
Commenting on the agreement, Valpak’s procurement director, Ben Richardson, said: “Businesses like Aylesbury Granulation play a vital role in the UK’s recycling infrastructure. Helping keep businesses like this within the accreditation system has many advantages, not least retaining valuable evidence that would otherwise have been lost.”
Susan Staff, commercial manager for Aylesbury Granulation, added: “The ability to continue to generate PRNs will provide an additional and secure revenue stream whilst also helping us to market our services to new and potentially larger customers, many of whom will have obligations under the new Plastic Packaging Tax.”
It’s considered a design classic in Germany and has won numerous awards since it was introduced in 1969. And it’s said that virtually every German citizen has held one in their hands at some point. We’re talking about what's commonly known as the ‘pearl bottle’ for mineral water, which is made by Genossenschaft Deutscher Brunnen. This cooperative has been one of ALPLA’s customers in Germany since June 2020. The global expert in innovative plastic packaging produces the reusable PET bottle and the preforms needed for this at its site in Vlotho-Exter.
Pool system for water bottles
Genossenschaft Deutscher Brunnen e.G. (GDB) is a purchasing cooperative with approximately 180 members. It accounts for a good third of total sales in the market of German mineral water producers. GDB provides mineral water producers with everything they need for their operations and organises reusables pools that currently comprise more than a billion bottles and 100 million crates. Within these, there are approximately equal quantities of reusable PET and reusable glass bottles.
This pool management is not only a central service of GDB for its members – it also engenders significant benefits for the consumers and for the environment. Within the pool system, various bottling companies all over Germany use the same bottles and crates. This means the consumers can take empty bottles back to virtually any supermarket. It also reduces the amount of bottle sorting that the retail partners have to do. The supermarkets then return the empties to the nearest bottling company, where they are washed and refilled. Compared with stand-alone reusables systems, the pool system cuts transport distances, reduces the number of lorries on the roads and lowers carbon emissions.
Life cycle assessments of reusable packaging units
Anyone who has been following the latest discussions surrounding the topic of climate change will know that transport and mobility in general are important levers for achieving climate targets. The pool systems mentioned above are the reason why these bottles are considered more environmentally friendly than the individual reusable bottles of different bottling companies. But what environmental impact do PET bottles have exactly?
To find out, ALPLA commissioned the independent consultancy company c7-consult with producing a life cycle assessment of mineral water bottles made of PET and glass in Germany in November 2019 in line with ISO 14044. This analysis considers the environmental impacts of 13 different packaging units for mineral water in two sales models, namely local and nationwide distribution. The life cycle assessment delivered the following results:
• The higher the proportion of recyclates in PET bottles, the lower the environmental impacts of the packaging. This is obviously the case both for single-use and reusable solutions.
• GDB’s reusable PET bottles perform the best across all the different environmental impacts. Being pool bottles, they benefit from covering the shortest return distances as they can be returned to and refilled by any of the cooperative’s members.
• Reusable PET bottles always perform better than reusable glass bottles.
• The lower the weight of the packaging in relation to its filling volume, the lower the environmental impacts.
• A life cycle assessment for packaging in Austria which c7-consult and ALPLA presented in Vienna back in April 2019 delivered very similar results. Here, too, the reusable PET bottle made entirely of recycled materials came out on top by having the lowest environmental impacts. In comparison, single-use glass bottles were ranked bottom in the study, as they have the greatest environmental impacts.
• In view of this, ALPLA is especially delighted to have secured GDB as a customer and therefore to have been awarded the first significant reusables contract in Germany.
• Increasing the proportion of recyclates in reusable packaging too
• Our aim is to offer the best and most sustainable packaging solution for each product and market, and to then continue to improve them. For example, we have increased the proportion of recyclates in reusable PET bottles from 10 per cent to as much as 30 per cent. We can envisage a self-contained recycling cycle for reusable PET bottles or for these bottles’ caps in the future. In this area, ALPLA boasts expertise not only as a producer of bottles and caps, but also as a recycler.
• We will conclude with some clarification regarding the frequently discussed topic of the ‘refill rates’ of reusable packaging units. The bottles manufactured in Vlotho-Exter are required to last for at least 15 trips, with a figure of 25 being a realistic assumption to make. And even when a bottle is withdrawn at the end of its life cycle, it can be recycled and the material can be turned into new packaging units, including reusable PET bottles.
Drink Technology India is the international trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry. It covers the full spectrum of the liquid food and beverage sector in India. The show is divided into different exhibition sectors like soft drinks, beer and brewery equipment up to liquid food and for the first-time oils and fats.
The packaging consists of a flavourless biofilm, which is made from only a handful of readily-available ingredients including potato starch, glycerin and water. "I was able to do all the testing and manufacture in my kitchen as the process is very simple," explained Grounds. She was motivated by the many long days and nights she spent studying, which were fuelled by packets of instant ramen often containing "more plastic than noodle". Once it has been heat sealed, the film keeps the dry noodles from going stale. But as soon as it comes into contact with boiling water it dissolves in less than a minute. With herbs and flavourings embedded into the packaging the resulting liquid effectively acts as the sauce, while ingredients such as dried shrimp are stored loosely in the packs before being released into the broth. "The film ingredients are blended and heated until the mixture is at the right thickness. At this point, I add the spices and flavourings before pouring it into a mould to set for 24 hours." The resulting film is then wrapped around the dried noodle blocks, which are made into doughnut shapes to allow them to cook more evenly and fit more easily into a bowl. For hygiene purposes, the filled wrappers are stored in a wax-coated paper sleeve. (This may detract a bit from the greener credentials of the dissolvable plastic we think: AIPIA). Her dissolvable wrapper was conceived as an alternative to the mountain of single-use plastic, as well as its bioplastic substitutes, which she says often fall short of their promises. "While other bio-based alternatives to plastic claim to be compostable or biodegradable, from a consumer perspective, it's not always that simple," Grounds told Dezeen, a leading design magazine. "Many of the emerging bio-based films only break down in an industrial composter at 50?C, so they often end up in the wrong place without the consumer really knowing that they caused damage to the planet,” she said. "The issue is that the world is not only confronting a rapidly growing mountain of plastic but also an even greater mountain of apathy. That's why it was important to me to make the convenient choice the sustainable one. If the quick option for meals or snacks is eco-friendly, consumers can help the planet perhaps without even knowing." AIPIA says: Well it may not be anywhere near commercial level yet. But it is most certainly a Smart piece of packaging and we’d love to try it!
Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging Europe is strongly committed to meeting this challenge for flexiblepackaging and, specifically, for laminated tube applications. ‘We recently succeeded in integrating the first quantities of recycled plastics into one of our standard plastic barrier laminate for tubes’, says Thomas Stroh, R&D Manager at Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging Europe. ‘This development brings us a major step closer to contributing to the EU’s packaging recycling targets for flexible packaging formats.’
The tube produced with Huhtamaki’s laminate contains 19% Mersalen® recyclates, produced by APK AG, and its performance is nearly identical with the standard referenced PBL structure produced with virgin LDPE. The ambitious R&D unit at Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging Europe plans to further increase the percentage of recycled content in their products and will test recyclates based on different feedstock streams. Currently, LDPE-recyclates based purely on post-consumer waste and suitable for food and cosmetic packaging, which requires food contact compliance, are not yet available on the European market. Huhtamaki and APK are cooperating closely to solve this challenge.
As part of the process to reduce its environmental impact, Bel Group was looking for a solution to remove the plastic coating on the cartonboard packaging used for its entire Boursin range of flavoured cream cheeses. After two years of research and testing in close collaboration with the customer, AR Packaging in Cholet, France, has developed the solution. The Safeboard® packaging has made it possible for Bel to move away from the use of PE-coated cartonboard for its entire Boursin range (80g, 155g and 250g). The elimination of plastics in the new packaging is equivalent to a reduction of 35 tons plastics per year. “Bel Group has set a clear agenda for how to minimise our environmental impact. The reduction of plastics in the cartonboard packaging for Boursin is one important step towards achieving our target to have 100% recycle-ready packaging by 2025”, said the Boursin packaging development team and corporate purchasing team lead by Mr Romain Dufrêne. “We are very pleased to have accomplished this together with our AR Packaging team.” The AR Packaging Safeboard® solution offers possibilities for tailored barriers to moisture, grease and aroma. It can replace plastic coated cartonboard and thereby enable repulpable and compostable packaging. The cartonboard is based on fibres from sustainably managed forests. "I am proud to see this innovation in full commercial use on the market now. We have developed a unique process for applying the barrier in a cost efficient way. Safeboard® allows our customers to have a cartonboard packaging without a gram of PE, giving an optimised sustainable packaging with minimised additional costs" explains Olivier Moysan, General Manager of AR Packaging France.
Unlike aluminium or tin cans, this plastic bottle from ALPLA is extremely light and shock-resistant. The warm surface and transparent appearance along with the wide range of designs make this packaging solution particularly appealing for cosmetic products. The light weight results in less material being used and lower freight expenses, impacting positively on the carbon footprint. The bottle consists completely of PET and is therefore optimal for recycling. In addition, the internal coating that is quite typical for aluminium or tin cans is not needed for the PET bottle. • Technology: ISBM • Bottle material: PET • Volume: from 10 to 220 millilitres (based on current EU legislation) • Propellant: nitrogen or LPG (organic solutions also possible) • High heat and pressure resistance (65°C/9.5 bar) • No interior coating necessary, ultra-fine atomisation of the contents • Lightweight: low CO2 emissions during production and transport • Ideal recyclability through existing recycling flows; container can be disposed of in the recycling sack/bin. • High design freedom: various shapes, sizes and surfaces can be realised • The transparent finish makes the product stand out on the retail shelf, giving it authenticity. • Decoration: sticker, sleeve • Market-ready packaging solution • Your contact at ALPLA: Daniel Lehner, Sales Director Western Europe ‘This packaging solution stands out from other products at first glance, particularly visually. Its transparency and elegant appearance are prominent features at the point of sale. A second glance, however, reveals the sustainability of this innovative product. Aerosol PET can be recycled well, is ultra-lightweight and reduces CO2 emissions.’ Daniel Lehner, Sales Director Western Europe