Customers have never been more environmentally aware meaning film suppliers are under constant pressure to provide the greenest solutions.
THE demands faced by the modern packaging user are more diverse and challenging than ever before. As well as the need to cut costs and improve efficiency, clients are looking for sustainable solutions that display innovative ways of reducing environmental impact.
Mike Thackwray, commercial director at bpi.films, the manufacturer of polythene shrink and converter films, is well aware of the need to keep pace with the green agenda.
He says evidence of his firm’s commitment to producing ever more eco-friendly answers can be found in its continued investment in new technology, enhanced manufacturing facilities and extensive R&D programmes.
In particular, it has employed the latest downgauging technology to offer products that deliver both environmental and commercial advantages.
This includes Novatek, an unprinted collation shrink film that draws on state-of-the-art polymers and advanced extrusion technology to offer all the strength and performance of a conventional shrinkfilm, but from a thinner film profile.
Thackwray said: “Downgauging is a simple and effective way for users to minimise the environmental impact of their packaging operation. Essentially, it entails the creation of packaging that gives more from less, allowing users to enhance their green credentials without any compromise on product performance.”
Specifically, Novatek’s thinner nature allows users to produce packaging using less film by volume, leading to a marked reduction in packaging waste to dispose of post-use. Plus, this downgauged packaging is also 100% recyclable.
Further green benefits stem from the fact that its thinner profile allows more film to be wound onto a standard reel, reducing delivery requirements and as a result, associated vehicle emissions.
Aside from its improved environmental credentials, Novatek’s downgauged nature also has the ability to deliver genuine commercial advantages, as Thackwray explained: “Downgauged packaging’s capacity to deliver more from less is as beneficial from a commercial point of view as it is for the environment. For instance, the greater yield of film offered by reels of downgauged packaging allows users to create more packs with fewer stoppages for reel changes. Not only does this maximise machine and operator time, but the improved efficiency also tends to lower per unit packaging costs.”
Further advantages include a faster and less labour intensive process, saving on both energy and labour costs. It can also be tailored according to the actual product being wrapped. For instance, the film can be micro-perforated to allow for moisture transmission or to help reduce stress corrosion.
Another recent example of green innovation saw FFP Packaging Solutions, the manufacturer of lidding films, join forces with MacFarlane Labels to develop a recloseable, tamper-evident heat seal lidding system that simplifies and, most importantly, reduces packaging.
FFP describes Esterpeel Reseal-It as an example of “innovation with no need for capital investment”. It has been introduced to Tesco’s snack range of pasties, snack rolls, sausages and savoury eggs. It allows the packer to apply the film and seal the packs on a standard packing line, running at their normal speed; there is no need for any further packaging beyond the lidding film, so packaging is reduced in weight and simplified.
Gary Tee of FFP said the company worked closely with a number of producers to make sure that the packaging could run easily on their production lines, leading up to the launch of the new Tesco range.
He said: “Resealable lidding film has a huge potential to add value and reduce packaging. Now, with Esterpeel Reseal-it, we know that we have a fantastic new packaging option for a huge variety of products.”