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The Complete Package: Sustainability and EU legislation

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New flexible packaging tech developed to prevent waste

Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe has announced a multi-million euro investment in new packaging film technology to help prevent about 1m tonnes of waste being sent to landfill each year.

Using new multilayer, blown line technology with Machine Direction Orientation, Ineos and partners will work to develop, design and produce polyethylene and polypropylene-based flexible packaging using fewer polymers.

Today’s multi-material products combine polymers from different chemical families, making them difficult to recycle. Reducing the number of polymers used to produce packaging film will make packaging that is designed to be recycled, said Ineos.

The new line will be installed in Ineos’s research and development labs in Brussels, Belgium, in 2023, where it will develop new, mono-material flexible film packaging products.

Rob Ingram, Chief Executive, Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe North, said: “This investment is further evidence of our commitment to taking action across the value chain to create a more sustainable future. Flexible packaging films keep our food fresh and safe to eat, but we recognise and share people’s concerns about plastic waste.”

“I’m excited about the prospect of working closely with our partners to use this world-leading technology to develop new capabilities and a more recyclable solution for this important product.”

Online wine sales supported by sustainable packaging solution

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Smurfit Kappa has supported The Kingscote Estate and Vineyard’s transition into online with a new paper-based packaging solution for its direct-to-consumer sales.

The packaging company worked on a range of paper-based packaging for use in transporting Kingscote’s ‘The Wine Caverns’ sub-brand.

The new packaging is customisable and adaptable to accommodate multiple and varying bottles sizes and can also be printed on the interior and exterior.

Emma Clark, marketing manager for The Wine Caverns, commented: “Our bottles are now housed safely in boxes which deliver on both the functional and experience side and we couldn’t be happier.​”

Smurfit Kappa UK & Ireland chief executive Eddie Fellows added: “Online wine sales rocketed during the pandemic and a lot of vintners have continued to maintain healthy online sales driven by the continuation of events like virtual tastings.

The recent sunny weather in the UK has increased the demand for wine, particularly lighter varieties such as rosé and sparkling and The Wine Caverns is fully equipped to capitalise on this trend with fit-for-purpose, sustainable packaging.

“Working with the Kingscote Estate to provide them with the perfect sustainable eCommerce solution was an enjoyable and rewarding experience for our talented and creative team.”

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Iced tea brand implements tethered caps ahead of EU ruling

Affaba & Ferrari has introduced tethered caps for it’s a major iced tea brand in Italy ahead of EU legislation.

From July 2024, all caps must be firmly attached to disposable beverage containers, including packaging such as beverage cartons with a volume of three litres.

The 1P23 tethered cap closure is attached to a safety ring through a tab which enables an ideal opening position, allowing the consumer to easily drink out of the bottle, while guaranteeing that it cannot separate from the container and be discarded. Additionally, lightweight cap with a horizontal hinge is suitable for aseptic filling.

Guglielmo Ferrari, plant manager at Affaba & Ferrari, said the new tethered caps would go a long way in preventing bottle caps from being lost, discarded or simply ending up as waste.

“Thanks to our innovative product, discarded caps are now becoming a thing of the past and will no longer contribute to environmental pollution,”​ he said. “We are delighted and honored that a world-renowned beverage manufacturer is impressed with our innovation.”

The tethered cap has already been launched in the Italian market. The introduction of the new caps has also reduced the amount of plastic required for each iced tea bottle cap by 14%.

Berry Superfos phases out packaging labels

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Bakery and snacks manufacturer Nordthy has phased out packaging labels in a bid to remain compliant with the need for waste separation.

Its new range of salty snacks and dried fruits are supplied in UniPak plastic pails from Berry Superfos use In-Mould-Labelling to remove the need for separate product labels. The logo and text are inserted straight onto the surface of the new pails, making labels ‘redundant’.

Head of marketing at Nordthy, Jesper Lukassen explains: “We have worked with Berry Superfos for several years, so continuing this successful collaboration was the obvious choice for us.

“We had some very specific demands for the new pails when it came to design, including  In-Mould Labelling and, most importantly, the possibility for consumers to repurpose the pails at home. All of these demands were met successfully by Berry Superfos.”

Packaging raw material costs (all data courtesy of Mintec)

steel prices
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EU steel prices have trended lower since April 2022, mainly driven by slower global demand. In June, the Northern Europe steel CRC price decreased by 18% month-on-month and 20% year-on-year, to £899/tonne, due to weaker demand, which is common during the summer months.

Nevertheless, the buying activity should resume again in September. According to market sources, high inventories, slow consumption, decreasing prices and squeezing margins have led to steel production curtailment in Europe.

test liner
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Testliner prices continued to rise over the past year, up 36% to £830/tonne in June 2022. This significant price increase was primarily driven by brisk demand from the e-commerce sector and high production costs.

No further price increases have been announced for July 2022, although developments in the gas market remain a watch-out factor. There are a few new capacities that have entered the European market, e.g., PM5 at Papresa’s Errenteria mill in Spain.

Further new capacities are expected to come online in the next few months, e.g., Norske Skog will start up Bruck, followed by VPK’s rebuilt machine in Alizay, France.

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