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Is sustainable packaging on the right track?

The packaging debate has been at the forefront of manufacturers’ and consumers’ minds for the last couple of years and is a topic that looks set to stay.

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BOBST is working with partners to find a plastic solution

Packaging firm, BOBST has raised the question of whether the industry is on the right path to “truly sustainable” packaging and says 20 years of engineering needs to be recovered.

The company has been working with several partners to develop new high barrier mono material flexible packaging solutions, designed to address the issue of recyclability.

In what was a true team effort, resin supplier, Dow, was responsible for the first step in the production chain and Brückner Maschinenbau took care of the production of the biaxial stretched polypropylene and polyolefin-based films.

Hosokawa Alpine oversaw the production of MDO LDPE films, Elba converted the finished reels into pouches, and Constantia Flexibles produced metalised high barrier LDPE stand-up pouches.

We need to recover 20 years of engineering as soon as possible to find mono polymer materials that perform as well as today’s packaging

Eric Pavone, business development director of BU Web Fed at BOBST says: “Previously, sustainability was being utilised almost like a marketing approach, but in reality, not much progress was being made. In the last 18 months or so, the pressure has grown to the extent that the industry has really shifted gears.

“Now companies have dedicated huge research and development budgets to the sustainability, biodegradability and recyclability of their packaging. Many of the self-imposed deadlines are challenging, but there is a real focus on this area now that makes them more achievable.”

Describing why there is a need for a solution of this sort, Pavone elaborates: “The big challenge we face is that today’s flexible packaging is a highly sophisticated engineered product, which is the result of two decades of innovation and development.

“We need to recover 20 years of engineering as soon as possible to find mono polymer materials that perform as well as today’s packaging, while also ensuring the same machine efficiency in the whole value chain of packaging. It’s a challenge, but one we are making good progress with.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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