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.
Aiming to pivot the packaging market away from single-use plastics, Carton Service CSi, LLC specializes in manufacturing paper-based packaging for the food, beverage and medical industries. Introducing their new “Cartons 4R Earth” line, Carton Service hopes to inspire companies across many industries to utilize paper-based packaging for non-traditional items, such as liquid soaps, soap refills, dry foods like cereal, snack, crackers and confections, or semi-solid foods like potato salad and coleslaw.
The “4R” in “Carton 4R Earth” represents four “R’s” they believe to be essential to sustainability: Reducing, recycling, renewing and refilling. Given the numerous environmental dangers associated with plastic waste, Carton Service believes strongly that their paper-based packaging offers a viable alternative to the plastic options to which many of us have become accustomed.
Their main goal in introducing the “Cartons 4R Earth” line is to target companies that wish to minimize their plastic packaging, but have not yet been able to find a worthy alternative to plastic methods. Broadening the types, sizes and designs of various gable top containers, Carton Service is confident that many of the companies they serve can transition into 100% paper-based packaging maintaining packaging performance and financial feasibility.
Since traditional gable top containers may not always be the best shape for every product, Carton Service also offers a variety of creative shapes, sizes and styles. Available with or without windows, here are some examples of the unexpected places their containers can be used:
• Direct Food Contact Cartons: Designed for dry ingredients like granola and pet food, this carton choice helps eliminate internal plastic bag-based packaging typically used for these products.
• Liquid Filled Gable Top Cartons: Designed with or without caps, these are ideal for nearly any liquid-based consumer product, such as hand soaps, detergent, milks, juices and more. This shape of carton is the most recognizable, but also versatile for a lot of liquid products not currently using a gable-top design, such as sparkling water or disinfectant wipes.
• Gallon-Sized Cartons: These cartons are designed for semi-solid foods like potato salad or coleslaw, and can help eliminate large plastic containers that are not recyclable.
Today’s consumers oftentimes find themselves at a crossroads between what works best, and what is best for the planet. Carton Service’s top priority is to make both of those benefits a reality. As the world continues to evolve and innovate new alternatives to plastics, Carton Service hopes to offer a popular and dependable solution for companies across the United States looking to deliver the same quality product, without leaving the negative impact of plastic packaging waste. As the world continues to produce sustainable innovations for the products we depend on, Carton Service CSi, LLC hopes to be in a good position to take the alternative packaging market by storm, The development of their “Cartons 4R Earth” line is a big step towards that goal.
Metsä Board, the leading European producer of premium fresh fibre paperboards and part of Metsä Group, is proud to have been awarded again the Platinum level rating by EcoVadis for the company’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility. With a top score of 83/100 Metsä Board is among the highest 1% of companies assessed in the manufacture of corrugated paper and paperboard and containers of paper and paperboard.
EcoVadis assesses companies covering four themes: Metsä Board was in the top 1% of companies for Environment, Labour & Human Rights and Sustainable Procurement and in the top 4% for Ethics.
“At Metsä Board, responsibility is an integral part of our daily operations – now and in the future. This time I was especially glad about our improved scoring in Sustainable Procurement as the whole value chain is important for leaders in sustainability. We have ambitious sustainability targets for 2030 covering both our own operations and the supply chain. For example, our goal is to achieve 100% fossil free mills with zero fossil CO2 emissions and 100% fossil free raw materials by the end of 2030,” says Mika Joukio, CEO, Metsä Board.
EcoVadis operates a platform allowing companies to assess the environmental and social performance of its suppliers on a global basis. The methodology and criteria used are in line with international Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Global Compact, and ISO 26000.
Metsä Group leads the way in the bioeconomy. We invest in growth, developing bioproducts and a fossil free future. The raw material for our products is renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. We focus on the growth sectors of the forest industry: wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards, and tissue and greaseproof papers.
Metsä Group’s annual sales is approximately EUR 5.5 billion, and we have around 9,200 employees in 30 countries. Our international Group has its roots in the Finnish forest: our parent company is Metsäliitto Cooperative owned by 100,000 forest owners.
On a mission to find a sustainable alternative and reduce the menace of plastic pollution, Kagzi Bottles, a company based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, has produced a 100 per cent compostable paper bottle, that claims to be the first-of-its-kind in India.
India generates 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste annually, as per this 2018-19 report.
The idea to find an alternative to single-use plastic first took shape when Samiksha Ganeriwal, the founder of Kagzi Bottles, was working on a college project.
“Back in my college days, I had worked on a project to replace plastic bags and at that time there were no other alternatives. It has always been at the back of my mind to find an alternative to plastic because I have wanted to make a shift in my lifestyle but could not find alternatives. That’s when I decided to start working towards this,” Samiksha shares with The Better India.
However, her dream of creating an alternative to plastic packaging materialised many years later in 2018.
After finishing her MBA from Vignana Jyothi Institute of Management in 2006, she went on to work at various multinational companies in Hyderabad and Noida. In 2016, she set up her own packaging solutions company and it was during this time that she began to explore alternatives to plastic bottles.
In 2018, while working on a project for one of her clients on eco-friendly packaging she decided it was time to set up a company solely focused on creating 100 per cent compostable paper bottles.
With a keen interest in finding an alternative but no educational training in the field, she consulted product designers and scientists to develop the product. Over the next two years, she faced a number of challenges. The first was the lack of awareness about the method of how to create such a product.
“When I started, the biggest challenge was finding the right machinery. It wasn’t possible to just go to the market and buy a machine as this is the first-of-its-kind in India. We had to build the machines from scratch. I had to find the right people to help build them, taking into account the nature of the product,” says Samiksha.
The second challenge was consumer perception of the product. When the first sample of the product was made she went around showing her friends and family.
“They were quite surprised with the shape and colour as it is completely brown and people are so used to [transparent] plastic bottles. Eventually, however, they have come around and are excited about the work we are doing,” says the 38-year-old entrepreneur.
The Government’s blanket ban on single-use plastic items like bags, spoons and cups in 2019, drove Samiksha to the realisation of the urgent need for alternatives.
In December 2020, after more than two years of setting up Kagzi Bottles, the prototype of the bottle was launched which contains no plastic and is 100 per cent compostable.
Samiksha was determined that the name of the company denote how the product was made in India. This is how the company came to be named Kagzi Bottles, ‘Kagzi’ derived from the Hindi word kaagaz meaning paper.
In recent years, large multinational companies like The Coca-Cola Company or L’Oreal have also been working to create paper bottles as sustainability and anti-plastic sentiment rises. However, these bottles have a thin inner layer of plastic to provide a moisture barrier and resistance to other environmental factors, thus making the bottles not entirely free of plastic.
This is where the Kagzi Bottles are unique. The bottles are made using paper waste, which is currently being sourced from a company in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. This waste paper is then mixed with water and chemicals to break it down and get a mixture called pulp. This is then moulded into the desired shape of two halves of a bottle.
Following this step, the halves are then spray painted with a solution that mimics the water-resistant properties of a banana leaf. Finally, these two halves are then glued together.
“This is the first time that an Indian company has been successful in making such a bottle and we were very proud of the work being done. We wanted to showcase it as an Indian product and for consumers to immediately connect it to its Indian roots,” says Samiksha.
With an initial investment of Rs 12 lakhs, Kagzi is currently producing bottles only for shampoos, conditioners and lotions. These bottles are cheaper than plastic and are priced at Rs 19 to Rs 22. While each bottle at the moment takes two days to make, with more orders they now produce 2 lakh bottles per month.
Samiksha believes that these compostable bottles have the potential to replace plastic as a packaging material in the future.
“One person uses an average of seven plastic bottles per month only for toiletries. Kagzi bottles could be an alternative for all types of packaging not just toiletries but beverages, liquids and powders too,” says Samiksha.
They are working towards creating bottles for food and beverages and plan on setting up manufacturing units in four cities across the country.
Even when it comes to her everyday life, she tries her best to make sustainable product choices like opting for bamboo instead of plastic. As a mother of two young children, she ensures that they know the importance of using sustainable products.
Samiksha signs off with a message for everyone, “We need to get conscious about what we are doing to the environment. I think it is the need of the hour to shift towards more sustainable alternatives even if this means a compromise in style.”
In response to consumer trends around convenient, homecooked-style foods, customers of the fiber-based packaging leader can now benefit from award-winning PaperSeal tray technology for oven- and microwave-ready chilled and frozen food applications.
The news immediately follows Graphic Packaging’s launch of PaperSeal Slice® and PaperSeal Wedge, designed for sliced meat and cheese applications. As with all solutions in the existing portfolio, sustainability is top of mind for GPI. As such, PaperSeal Cook reduces the amount of plastic when compared to traditional trays – in this instance by up to 80 percent.
Ricardo De Genova, Graphic Packaging’s SVP, global innovation and new business development, commented: “Many of our customers are seeking to minimize the amount of plastic packaging they use in a category that has traditionally been dominated by CPET trays. We’ve transferred our PaperSeal technology to a convenient fiber-based ovenable and microwaveable solution that has all the benefits of the PaperSeal tray along with a liner that can withstand the high temperatures required in cooking.”
The PaperSeal Cook tray features a one-piece continuous sealing flange to prevent leaks and ensure robustness through the supply chain. After use, the consumer can easily separate the liner film from the paperboard, making the paperboard portion of the tray 100 percent recyclable through normal collection channels.
Graphic Packaging is committed to supporting its customers in their transition to fiber-based alternatives to plastic packaging. In line with its Vision 2025 goals, the Company aims to make 100 percent of its products fully recyclable by 2025.
De Genova added: “As a business we are inspired by consumer and market trends and aim to make ‘a world of difference’ through our packaging, breaking ground with innovative fiber-based solutions in areas where they traditionally may not have had a place. Through collaboration with likeminded partners, we create viable and scalable fiber-based solutions for brands and retailers who have sustainability goals on their agenda.”
HexcelPack Develops Protective Paper-Based Wrapping System for Cost-Effective & Sustainable Product Shipping
Used by the USA’s three leading retailers, HexcelWrap™ cushioning paper ensures product protection and packing simplicity, replacing environmentally-harmful alternatives.
Sedona, Arizona – HexcelPack, a developer of eco-friendly, paper-based protective cushioning solutions to replace bubble wrap and other plastic or foam-based materials, has developed a cost-effective and sustainable wrapping system for a wide array of product shipping needs.
The company says that its new solution is based on primary fibres from well-managed forests, with high barrier performance, that can be recycled as paper.
The product aims to enable the shift from conventional plastic to paper and is suitable for medium to high barrier requirements, such as those posed by chocolate bars and other confectionery, as well as bakery products. A patent application for the solution is pending.
Recyclable flow wrap has been verified by Syntegon Technology and tested with their retrofit upgrade kit “paper-ON-form”.
“We are happy to launch a paper-based flow wrap solution. The product is recyclable as paper and brand owners don’t have to compromise on product shelf-life or on converting productivity, in comparison to plastic packaging options,” says Peter Åström, project manager of Recyclable Flow Wrap at BillerudKorsnäs.
With the Syntegon upgrade kit, paper-ON-form can be installed on existing horizontal flow wrapping machines and new flow wrappers from Syntegon Packaging Systems AG. The solution was engineered in Syntegon´s own development center in Beringen, Switzerland, and consists of a flow-wrap forming unit and sealing tools or paper cold-sealing applications.
The kit is already being used on existing lines from international manufacturers for packaging chocolate bars in paper.
“To make flow wraps future-proof we have to take a holistic approach. In our test lab, we are concentrating on three elements. Avoidance. Recycling. Recovery. Our retrofit kit allows customers the transition to paper packaging on their existing Syntegon Packaging Systems horizontal flow wrapping machine – without any restrictions regarding speed compared to the existing for cold-sealable paper,” says Christoph Langohr, project manager of sustainability horizontal packaging at Syntegon.
Sustainability is one of the most important factors when it comes to packaging of goods across the board. The first step when designing packaging in a recycling-friendly way that is also compatible with a circular economy starts by ensuring adhesives and coatings can accommodate alternative materials like paper for various food and nonfood applications. “The main purpose of packaging is protection – and this is still what underpins our strategy. The scope also includes developing adhesives and coatings that help improve recyclability and allow new packaging designs,” explains Alexander Bockisch, Head of Global Market Strategy for Flexible Packaging at Henkel. “Our two latest developments are certified recyclable and can replace plastic packaging. Both sealable coatings enable full recyclability of paper packaging in food and nonfood applications.” According to Euromonitor, the use of flexible paper in snack bars is expected to grow by 20% in Western Europe between 2019 and 2024, to reach 41 million units. In chocolate confectionery, meanwhile, flexible paper remains a niche market, comprising less than 2% of secondary packaging globally. “We see this area as having significant potential for growth if we collaborate closely with our partners along the value chain to design the right packaging solutions, i.e. by providing full recyclability with our latest sealable paper coatings.” One range of paper coatings, many applications The coatings seal to both paper and themselves and break new ground in terms of repulpability, food safety and paper flexibility. Their production performance, meanwhile, raises the bar even higher, given the ability to maintain consistent sealing properties, even at high machine speeds. “We worked closely with our partners to design solutions that would be both recyclable and meet industry performance requirements” explains Davide Coppola, European Business Development Manager Coatings. “Loctite Liofol HS 2809-22 RE and CS 22-422 RE have been extensively tested and certified in terms of recyclability and food safety characteristics. We can offer coatings and adhesives for use on paper packaging in wide-ranging applications without cutting corners on performance or safety.” Loctite Liofol HS 2809-22 RE is a versatile coating covering a large variety of applications – from hygiene products and tea bags to industrial hardware pouches and chocolate overwraps. Loctite Liofol CS 22-422 RE also covers applications such as collection cards, cereal bars, biscuit packaging, frozen foods and ice-cream. Both innovations provide excellent block resistance for better release in the reel, while eliminating the need for release lacquer and are compatible with all types of ink. Repulpability verified by independent institutes reaffirms how ideal this product is for paper recycling. When recyclability alongside high-level performance is considered, both products are a natural fit for Henkel’s RE range and support the entire value chain when making the transition from plastic packages to paper-based alternatives.
By launching the new sustainable ink and coating range UniNATURE, Siegwerk builds on its proven track record of innovative inks containing biorenewable carbon, introducing a new generation of inks with renewable content as part of its strategy to develop circular packaging solutions.
“It is yet to be improved since we need to continue working on replacing the use of plastic throughout our logistics supply chain,” said Hanna Lumikero, who is responsible for the new packaging system at the Swedish fast-fashion retailer.
Fashion labels across the spectrum are under increasing pressure from both consumers and investors to offer evidence that they are working to lower the environmental impact of their activities, and reducing dependency on plastic has become a priority for many brands.
The new system replaces the outer layer of plastic on delivery packages with paper, she explained.
“This is a small step on a long journey,” added Lumikero.
H&M has said it seeks to reduce packaging by a quarter while designing reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.
The retailer signed on to commitments laid out by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, called a New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, as well as the Fashion Pact, which regroups actors in the industry, and the Pack4Good initiative set up by the nonprofit organization Canopy.
The retailer started testing the packaging in distribution centers in the Netherlands, the U.K., Sweden, China, Russia and Australia, for its labels Cos, Arket, Monki and Weekday. It is being rolled out with the H&M brand in select markets, and beginning in 2021, will be also be used at & Other Stories.
H&M has framed many of its environmental efforts around the goal of building a circular business, using more recycled materials, for example. By 2030, it said it will only source recycled or other sustainably sourced raw materials.