Amcor, a global leader in packaging, in collaboration with Nestlé, today launched the world’s first recyclable flexible retort pouch. The new high barrier pouch, using Amcor’s AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable solution, will first appear in stores in the Netherlands in October 2020.
Amcor and Nestlé partnered to overcome one of the largest challenges facing the industry – the inability to recycle retort flexible packaging – and have achieved a technical breakthrough which underscores both companies’ long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The partners collaborated during the product development process, testing for heat resistance, machine performance, shelf-life and recyclability in the real world.
“Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible,” says Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA. “This high-barrier, high-heat resistant, packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.”
Flexible retort packaging is a modern alternative to metal cans, and it can improve the carbon footprint of hundreds of consumer products thanks to its light weight, resource efficiency, ease of transportation and by minimizing food waste. Adding recyclability to its list of properties will further improve the environmental profile of this packaging solution, which has a reduced carbon footprint of up to 60%.
The new pouch meets the packaging guidelines for a circular economy recently published by the CEFLEX Consortium. Project Coordinator and Workstream Consultant for CEFLEX, Graham Houlder, says, “This is a great example of how – through innovation – companies can solve even the biggest challenges to recyclability. Recyclable retort packaging is a revolutionary advance and will have a huge impact in pet food and beyond.”
The breakthrough innovation underscores Amcor’s unique capabilities and long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The company is on the path to fulfilling its pledge to develop all of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
These are all building blocks of the EU Green Deal — and they should also guide our green recovery. To ensure this, we must also secure that European regulation provides a clear and predictable framework to enable us to move in this direction together. Otherwise it may not encourage businesses to invest in the next generation of environmental innovation. And we will lack viable solutions to reach our goals. A pertinent example is the Single-Use Plastics Directive, to be implemented next year. We must ensure that it becomes a tool for the future, supporting innovation and the development of new, sustainable solutions. Currently there is a risk, that the European Commission will recommend that the Directive also encompass products made of wood fiber – paper and board. Companies that have been working to develop circular, fiber-based substitutes for single-use plastic products risk seeing their investments become redundant. The economic consequences would be significant, but we would also miss an important opportunity to promote circular solutions and reduce our dependency on fossil materials. That, for us, goes against the goals of the Green Deal – and the green recovery, that should now be our main focus. As industry representatives, we are serious about our commitment. We have set ourselves ambitious sustainability ambitions and are working hard to develop innovative solutions that can make it possible for Europe – and the world – to reach the goals of the Green Deal. We cooperate with other leading companies across the value chain and wish to partner with all those who share this vision. Together we can make a difference – and learn from each other. To decision-makers, our message is clear: Hold on to the Green Deal and make sure that we have the best possible framework in which to innovate. That will ensure that we start building a new and better future.
A smart tactic to draw attention for a product roundup of new products for packaging or other markets is to lead with the best or most photogenic development. It’s doubly advantageous when said product is a world’s first of some kind, which is why LifeFuels, “the world's first smart nutrition bottle,” headed the gallery of 8 Unexpected Ways Beverage Packaging Innovates, published June 2020.
In short, the reusable LifeFuels' 16.9oz/500mL smart nutrition bottle turns ordinary water into a beverage with flavor, essential vitamins and nutrients using small bottles of liquid ingredient concentrates called “Pods.” The Pod, which can refill the LifeFuels bottles 30 times, are equipped with a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.
The company will shortly bring an even more sustainable packaging innovation to the platform: Cylindrical-shaped Modules, or Mods, which are powdered ingredients packs made of food-grade film that fully dissolve in water.
A Quick Response (QR) code printed with edible ink on the Mod film connects with the smart nutrition tracking platform via the LifeFuels smartphone app.The innovative packaging eliminates the need for the usual plastic tubs, scoopers, or single-serving packets typical of the powdered beverage market. The company is planning to launch with at least two flavors, but more are possible. Mod pricing is also to be determined.
“Aptar is dedicated to creating solutions based directly on consumer feedback,” Augustin De Tilly, global business development director beverage, said. “ROCKET was born from consumer insights to offer visual safety that provides reassurance, in addition to an improved drinking experience that brings the comfort and convenience consumers value.” In addition to its visible safety, ROCKET provides further safety to consumers with its “no-dust”, double wall lid design that protects the spout from external contaminants, in addition to being designed to adhere to child safety standards (BSDA & EN 71*). A large finger recess and audible closing “click” sound makes opening and closing ROCKET easy and reassuring to the consumers. De Tilly said the design and functionality of ROCKET enhances what consumers and brands expect from a sport cap. For example, while most caps open at a 110 - degree angle, ROCKET’s hinge technology offers a 180-degree angle. The hinge functionality also ensures the elimination of a lid spring-back effect. Altogether, ROCKET provides a wider opening and a more comfortable drinking experience. “Our goal was to develop a cap that met consumer expectations in terms of safety and comfort of drinking, while also addressing the increasing demand for sustainable packaging” De Tilly said. “Consumer and brand product standards are always evolving, and ROCKET was created to stay at the forefront of these changes.” With ROCKET, Aptar continues to focus on meeting new sustainability standards and targets. The tamper evident band is tethered to the bottle with the Stay-With system, which keeps the closure attached to the bottle through its lifecycle, and therefore increasing the likelihood of the closure being collected and sent through the recycling stream with the container. ROCKET complies with upcoming regulations, including the Single Use Plastic (SUP) directive proposal in Europe.
Sustainability has been part of Absolut’s mission for many years and it is striving for a more circular world in which resources are reused again and again to benefit local economies, communities and ecosystems.
Addressing the upcoming EU ban on single-use plastics, California-based EcoTensil brings its trusted sustainable paperboard solutions to Europe through its European-based sales team, and its warehouse distribution centre in Rotterdam. Founded 10 years ago, EcoTensil has provided hundreds of millions of the smooth and sturdy alternatives to plastic cutlery to companies in the forefront of sustainability both large and small through North America, UK, EU, Australia and New Zealand, including global leaders Emmi, Costco, and General Mills. The award-winning multi-functional EcoTensil utensils all have a much more pleasing “mouth-feel” than that of rough wooden spoons and forks. The sturdy EcoSpoon® is formed with one simple “bend to touch dotsTM” fold, easy enough for a young child to do. The EcoTensil team has designed its current product line specifically for single-serve packaging, foodservice and sampling applications. Drawing on its decades of packaging expertise, EcoTensil supplies its utensils formatted ready to be easily fitted into customers’ existing packaging, or customised as needed. All EcoTensil products are made from materials from well-managed FSC®-certified forests* and use 50-80% less material than plastic, bio-plastic or wood cutlery. “Using less resources is the best way to reduce waste going to landfill,” says EcoTensil Creator and CEO, Peggy Cross. The GreenDot© line is made from a similar material to a coffee cup, but fully compostable, recyclable and contains no plastic. There is no taste, after taste, dissolving of the coating in one's mouth, or falling apart after a few bites. “The work Europe is doing to reduce single-use plastic is very important," adds Cross, "EcoTensil is supporting companies in meeting their plastic reduction goals with our wonderfully simple folding paper spoons. We have spent the last decade perfecting the silky mouth feel, smooth edges, structural strength and overall pleasing nature of the utensils. Our customers and consumers love them - just look at our Facebook page!” Cross knows the importance of offering solutions to plastic that can work with existing packaging and existing equipment or that can reduce plastic in other packaging components overall. Drawing upon her extensive packaging design and marketing experience, Cross and her team can recommend "off the shelf" EcoTensil utensils or develop custom solutions to achieve the best fit possible for your processes, your packaging and your consumers. There is an EcoTensil utensil to fit just about any size pac kage and application process. The pre-folded TabLock© EcoSpoon4 (49mm folded length, 89mm unfolded) is locked shut and comes packed stacked in tidy rows for easy placement on the assembly line. This product is also currently available to order across Europe. EcoTensil offers an unfolded, 82mm utensil and a 95mm size, both of which may be ordered hygienically flow- wrapped or loose pack. The 95mm also can be ordered folded to a 48mm length and wrapped for small spaces. EcoTensil has won multiple packaging and design awards over the years, and has received consistently positively reviews from chefs, retailers and consumers alike. It functions effectively as a spoon, spork and spreader for most foods that are scoopable or easy to cut, such as cake, desserts, yoghurts, deli salads, flans and quiches, hot or cold grain and legume dishes, porridge, soups, stews, gazpacho and everything in between. For gelato and other frozen desserts, EcoTensil offers the extra sturdy iScoop®, designed specifically for ice cream type products. Pricing and information for EcoTensil standard and semi-custom utensils may be found at EcoTensil.eu. Standard EcoTensil products may also be purchased through our valued distributors such as Celebration and Plastico in the UK. Customization is available for higher volumes by contacting EcoTensil directly. EcoTensil has numerous patents both in the US and internationally, EcoTensil products will always be marked with: firstname.lastname@example.org and the trademarked "Bend to touch dots™" accompanied by the trademarked pair of dots.
Nature MultiPack instead of film: KHS and Martens realize sustainable packaging for German food store chain
As part of its sustainability strategy, one of the goals the German food store chain has set itself is to use 30% less packaging material for its own brands by 2025 by doing away with shrink film, for example. Moreover, recyclable packaging is to be introduced in this segment by 2022. The KHS Group and Martens Brewery have played a major role in the first step in the switch to a sustainable portfolio. The brewery and Dortmund engineering company have been working closely together on the development and establishment of disruptive technologies for decades. “We enjoy a long, strategic partnership based on mutual trust. Our current project is sending out an important message,” says brewery boss Jan Martens. “The development of this ecofriendly packaging shows that with the commitment of all those involved sustainable systems can be successfully established on the market,” adds Edgar-George Petsche, head of Market Zone Europe/CIS at KHS.
Packaging module added to existing PET line
Martens fills its beverages on a number of KHS machines – into cans, glass bottles and – as in this case – PET. The two companies’ many years of partnership has facilitated the quick market launch of the new style of packaging. The brewery invested, among other things, in an InnoPET Blomax stretch blow molder and an InnoPET Plasmax that coats the insides of the bottles with a wafer-thin film of chemically pure glass. The existing line has now been extended by an Innopack Nature MultiPack Machine.
The new system joins beverage bottles together not with shrink film but with dots of adhesive to form a stable yet easy-to-separate pack. This enables up to 90% in packaging to be saved. Compared to the pack variant currently on the market comprised of film and weighing in at 7.5 grams, the novel setup uses just 1.5 grams of adhesive. A convenient carrying handle, which helps to keep the pack stable, and individual alignment of the respective containers also communicate effective marketing messages. The beverage producer saves up to 67% in energy during production compared to shrink wrapping the containers in film as the material does not have to be heated.
Furthermore, according to Petsche CO2 emissions are slashed by up to 70% with regard to the overall ecobalance. “The entire production process is significant here – from the manufacture of the film through sales to disposal.” With the new pack Martens also does without trays. This saves raw materials such as paper and cardboard without impacting the pack’s stability. Should bottlers and retailers require, however, trays can be easily incorporated into the process.
Moderate minus of roughly two percent worldwide in the first half of 2020
AEROBAL, the International Organization of Aluminum Aerosol Container Manufacturers, recorded a relatively moderate decline in the global production of aluminum cans of almost two percent for the first half of 2020 despite the corona pandemic. Compared to most other industrial sectors, the industry is still doing relatively well in a global comparison.
Amcor, a global leader in packaging, today announced the world's first recyclable flexible retort pouch. The technical breakthrough, which many considered impossible, follows years of dedicated research and investment.
The product, which uses Amcor's AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable solution, has the potential to be used in a variety of retort applications where products with a long shelf life require high-barrier, high-heat resistant packaging.
"The technology to solve the problem of retort recyclability simply did not exist," says Amcor's Chief Commercial Officer Peter Konieczny. "Amcor's innovation represents a breakthrough for brand owners looking to reach their sustainability ambitions. Brands will be able to stand out and meet consumers' growing demand for more sustainable products by replacing older formats with the latest in cutting-edge packaging technology."
Creating a recyclable version was considered such a difficult challenge because it added another requirement to packaging already satisfying very high functional needs: withstanding heat-sterilization, blocking oxygen and bacteria, keeping food safe without refrigeration and ensuring a long shelf life. Flexible retort packaging, a modern alternative to metal cans, can improve the carbon footprint of hundreds of consumer products thanks to its light weight, resource efficiency, ease of transportation and minimization of food waste.
The new pouch has been independently tested by cyclos-HTP and confirmed to be recyclable. Today, it fits collection systems in Germany, Austria, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands, and the list of countries is expected to grow, with projects underway in more nations to expand their plastics recycling streams.
The breakthrough innovation underscores the company's unique capabilities and long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The company is on the path to fulfilling its pledge to develop all of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
“This is exciting for Amcor and our customers. It’s an outstanding step forward as we work toward our commitment to make all of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025,” said Amcor Flexibles North America Sales and Marketing Vice President Laurel Spencer.
“Prequalification saves time, cost, and reduces risk for brand-owners and retailers by eliminating the need to engage external labs for recycle-ready testing in the development phase. In short, it allows our customers to take their packaging straight from package development to How2Recycle to request usage of the How2Recycle store drop-off label,” said Spencer.
Recently launched by How2Recycle, prequalification letters simplify How2Recycle’s label request process by confirming brands or retailers have opted for a film structure that already has been assigned a particular How2Recycle label and recyclability designation.
Currently available in a broad range of formats, Amcor’s AmPrima recycle ready solutions offer customers a more sustainable choice for their flexible packaging needs with no compromise on performance. Additionally, AmPrima PE Plus heat resistant options deliver high levels of clarity, stiffness, and heat and abuse resistance; qualities that are unavailable in any other recycle-ready films on the market today.
Amcor Research and Development Senior Fellow Otacilio Berbert notes that mixed-material films perform very well as packaging and on production lines; but, are unable to be recycled. “It’s why the innovation behind AmPrima PE Plus is so exciting; it’s the solution to a problem that has challenged the industry. At Amcor, we’ve invested years researching how to replace layers that aren’t compatible with the PE film recycling stream and still are able to deliver speed and performance previously reserved for mixed-materials packaging. AmPrima PE Plus really does deliver a more sustainable option without compromise.”
How2Recycle’s prequalification is an exciting addition to the Association of Plastic Recyclers recent acknowledgement that AmPrima PE Plus heat resistant film meets the requirements for responsible innovation for moulded parts and films over three mils in thickness.
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