Flexible Plastics

Packaging Innovations 2019: “Big Plastics Debate will progress from ‘what we can do’ to ‘what we have done’ at this year’s show,” says Event Director

22 Feb 2019 --- The UK’s biggest annual packaging show – Packaging Innovations – will take place in Birmingham next week. James Drake-Brockman, Divisional Director of Easyfairs’ Packaging Portfolio, expects the plastics debate to dominate the agenda once again, but this time with a more advanced focus on “what the industry has actually done” rather than “what it can do” to find sustainable solutions to a global waste problem. Here, Drake-Brockman speaks to PackagingInsights about improving consumer recycling behavior, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) tax on plastics containing less than 30 percent recyclate and the challenges of finding nationwide consistency in UK recycling.

Weekly Roundup: Sealed Air acquires flexible packaging presence in Asia, RKW launches “super sustainable” shrink film

22 Feb 2019 --- In packaging news this week, Sealed Air has expanded its Asia Pacific presence with the acquisition of MGM, a printing and laminating flexible packaging specialist headquartered in the Philippines. In another big business move, pharmaceutical packaging supplier ACG Group has opened a US$93 million capsules manufacturing plant in Brazil. Innovative new launches this week included RKW’s “super sustainable” stretchable shrink film, which is unique in that it can be cut smaller than the pallet size and pulled over the palletized goods.

Food waste problem makes plastic pouches sustainability frontrunners, says UK food innovator

21 Feb 2019 --- Plastic laminate pouches remain the most sustainable packaging option in the UK, despite the lack of facilities capable of recycling them. That is the opinion of Luke Heeney, Technical and Innovations Director at family-run food innovators, Leathems. Heeney, who will be chairing the Food Forum Seminar at Packaging Innovations 2019 in Birmingham next week, tells PackagingInsights that alternatives to plastic pouches are typically heavier and provide poorer shelf-life protection, increasing the net environmental impact of packaged foods.

“Plastic has massive eco-benefits and can drive sustainable change,” says Co-op packaging technologist

20 Feb 2019 --- With Packaging Innovations 2019 in Birmingham only a week away, PackagingInsights speaks to Rob Thompson, Packaging Technologist at Co-op, about the UK supermarket’s endeavors to drive sustainable change within the plastic supply chain. Thompson discusses a number of recent Co-op innovations, including the UK’s first compostable carrier bag, compostable paper teabags and plans to make all its packaging recyclable by 2023.

Scrapping plastic: HEMA steps up sustainability by replacing single-use plastic products

20 Feb 2019 --- Dutch-based retail store HEMA is to replace single-use, disposable plastic products in all cases where a more sustainable alternative is available, ahead of the 2021 deadline set by the EU as part of the Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD). The process has already begun, but HEMA will further roll out the sale of more sustainable versions of plastic stirrers, drinking straws, cotton ear buds and plastic confetti in the fall.

Self-preservation or valid warning? Plastic bans will result in greater environmental damage, BP stresses

18 Feb 2019 --- Oil and gas “supermajor” BP has released a report suggesting that the global trend of banning single-use plastics and replacing them with alternative materials, such as glass and paper, will lead to drastically increased energy consumption and carbon emissions. Although BP anticipates that overall demand for oil will remain strong, the report speculates that by 2040 there could be a worldwide ban on single-use plastics, which accounted for over a third of plastics produced in 2017.

“It’s been too profitable for the UK waste industry to offload waste to China,” says Hubbub Founder

15 Feb 2019 --- Ahead of Packaging Innovations 2019 in Birmingham this month, PackagingInsights speaks to Trewin Restorick, Founder & CEO of environmental sustainability charity Hubbub, about UK sustainability levels and the issue of plastic packaging pollution. Hubbub collaborates with leading companies like Waitrose, Starbucks and Coca-Cola to create environmental campaigns and measure the efficacy of sustainability initiatives. Here, Restorick discusses the shortfalls of UK recycling, the demonization of plastics packaging and strategies to increase the popularity of reusable coffee cups.

The UK must “take back control” of its share of the global plastics problem, says report

13 Feb 2019 --- If the UK wants to be a global environmental leader, it can no longer afford to “sweep its plastic waste issues under other countries’ carpets,” according to The Plastics Packaging Plan, a new report from UK think tank Policy Connect. The report comprises insights from prominent names in research, innovation, politics and industry with support from UK Research and Innovation, and calls for a bold national policy framework to help reduce ocean plastic overseas and boost domestic infrastructure investment and green jobs.

Genesis: Amcor packs a recycling punch with new in-store recyclable laminate

13 Feb 2019 --- Amcor has hit another sustainability milestone with the US launch of Genesis – a new high-performance laminate that offers in-store recyclability. The all-polyethylene (PE) laminate looks and feels like traditional oriented polypropylene (oPP)/PE and oriented polyester (oPET)/PE laminates and can be used to package a variety of consumer goods. Genesis is “complementary” to AmLite, Amcor’s polyolefin-based film that can be used for ambient and retort high-barrier applications, which launched in September 2018.

Waste to paste: VTT Finland develops “revolutionary” recycling device

12 Feb 2019 --- VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed the first prototype of a cylindrical extruder which has shown promise in “revolutionizing the processing of recyclable materials.” The extruder can be used, for example, to turn problematic textiles and plastics as well as food waste into pellets. VTT say that the first prototype has already exceeded the industrial steering group's expectations during initial testing. VTT is currently looking for a partner to commercialize the technology.

Watermarks can harmonize sorting processes amid regulation squeeze: Petcore Conference 2019 review, Part 2

11 Feb 2019 --- One of the key findings at the Petcore Europe Conference, held in Brussels last week, was that in order to achieve the stringent recycling targets set out in the EU Plastics Strategy, the industry must collaborate more efficiently to develop harmonized, efficient sorting processes. Since most recycling problems can be brought back to the sorting process, cracking sorting will crack recycling, according to Gian De Belder, Packaging Technologist, Sustainable Packaging Development at Procter & Gamble (P&G). One potential breakthrough technology that could add efficiency and precision to the sorting process is watermarking.

Shifting conditions, mounting pressure: Petcore Conference 2019 review, Part 1

08 Feb 2019 --- The first ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics was announced in January 2018, but one year on, what impact has this had on the European plastics value chain? PackagingInsights reports from the Petcore Europe Conference 2019 in Brussels, where the “EU Plastics Strategy 2.0. Taking the PET industry to the next step,” discussion centered around what the future of PET will look like amid wide-reaching regulatory and societal change.

Weekly roundup: SIG targets Asian market with new China Tech Centre, Singapore researchers convert durian husks into biodegradable packaging

08 Feb 2019 --- Aseptic packaging supplier SIG is expanding its Asia presence with a new Tech Centre in Suzhou, China. Plant-based ingredients company Roquette has developed two new products in its Stabilys EVO special paper and coated cardboard range. In this week’s big research news, scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have succeeded in turning durian husks into biodegradable packaging materials.

The negative list: Nestlé identifies the six "no go" plastic types in its sustainability charge

06 Feb 2019 --- Nestlé has identified several plastic material types that it will avoid using in new product packaging and immediately begin phasing out from existing packaging. The FMCG giant has determined that effective recycling schemes are unlikely to be established for Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyvinyliden Chloride (PVDC), Polystyrene (PS), expanded Polystyrene (ePS), Regenerated Cellulose and non-recyclable plastics/paper combinations and, as such, these materials will be discontinued for packaging purposes.

Avery Dennison launches rPET liners in four new constructions across Europe

04 Feb 2019 --- Adhesive manufacturer Avery Dennison’s recently launched portfolio of recycled PET (rPET) liners has been boosted by the introduction of four new labeling constructions, available across Europe. The new liner labels are made using 30 percent rPET and designed to separate easily from PET bottles, aiding the post-consumer recycling process.

Microplastics: Micro or macro risk?

04 Feb 2019 --- Microplastics have been found in the guts of every marine mammal, including dolphins and whales, examined in a new study of animals washed up on UK shores. The new University of Exeter study joins an ever-growing list of research on the presence of microplastics in wildlife and natural habitats, from freshwater to marine settings. PackagingInsights takes a look at the most recent literature, consults experts on the topic, and asks: How big is the microplastics threat and is enough being done?

TC Transcontinental Packaging launches 100 percent recyclable pouch on US market

28 Jan 2019 --- TC Transcontinental Packaging has launched a 100 percent recyclable, multilayer barrier stand-up pouch for loose tea, in collaboration with American tea company Harney & Sons. The pouch is designed to protect the flavor and freshness of the product while improving sustainability levels. It has been available in stores since November 2018.

Weekly Roundup: Smarties go plastic-free, Tetra Pak welcomes new CEO

25 Jan 2019 --- In packaging news this week, Nestlé has committed to a range of new sustainability measures, including the planned launch of Smarties in plastic-free packaging this year and the elimination of all plastic straws from its products next month. Similarly, KFC has pledged to use 100 percent “recoverable or reusable” plastic packaging by 2025 across its restaurants. Carton innovators Tetra Pak has appointed Adolfo Orive as its new CEO effective 1 April, 2019.

Brexit, what Brexit? US private equity firm secures RPC in US$4.3 billion deal

24 Jan 2019 --- US private equity firm Apollo has struck a US$4.3 billion deal to acquire UK plastic packaging giant RPC. The sale was agreed just hours before the expiry of the regulatory deadline, which had previously been extended five times since negotiations began in September 2018. Notably, the buy-out has come amid continuing Brexit uncertainty and increasing public and regulatory scrutiny of plastics and their role in a more sustainable future.

Brexit and packaging: Plastics to be the hardest hit sector in a “no deal” scenario, experts warn

15 Jan 2019 --- The pan-European plastics sector will be the hardest hit in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, experts are warning. The UK Parliament will vote on UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU Brexit deal later today. MPs are widely expected to vote against the proposed deal, increasing the likelihood of a “no-deal” Brexit. As the historic vote looms large, PackagingInsights asks what a “no-deal” Brexit could mean for the European packaging industry.

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