Monday, June 17, 2024

MeetingPack 2024 recognizes two metal-free, recyclable barrier packaging innovations

The sixth edition of MeetingPack, the two-day meeting organized every two years by AIMPLAS and AINIA at the Valencia Conference Centre, provided more than 300 professional attendees with information on the challenges of barrier packaging from the perspective of environmental sustainability. According to the thirty specialist speakers in the field, responding to these challenges is more necessary than ever, given the current legislative and socioeconomic context. In addition, the two winners of MP2024 Awards were presented: Rotorprint for high-barrier, aluminum-free, recyclable coffee packaging, and Plastipak for the first 100% plastic aerosol, which is also metal-free and recyclable.

Rotorprint and Plastipak, winners of the MP2024 Awards

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Rotorprint and Plastipak received MP2024 Awards in the categories of flexible packaging solutions (films) and rigid packaging solutions (trays/bottles), respectively. Rotorprint’s development is high-barrier, recyclable coffee packaging, and Plastipak’s is the first aerosol on the market made solely of plastic materials, including the valve. It is also metal-free and 100% recyclable.

In this second edition of the awards, the finalists in the category of flexible barrier packaging solutions (films) were Enplater, for its APET rigid film made from 100% recycled food-safe material; Innovative Film Solutions, for its biodegradable and recyclable BOPP films; and Rotorprint, the winner of the award.

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The finalists in the category of rigid packaging solutions (trays/bottles) were J. Garcia Carrión for its Pure-Pak eSense solution, an aluminum-free carton for its vegetable drinks, gazpachos and salmorejos; Grupo Lantero for the circularity of its yogurt containers made from post-consumer PS; and Plastipak, the winner of the award.

The award winners were announced at the congress dinner and were recognized for their innovations in the field of sustainability.

Nearly 40 presentations and 300 attendees

In the opening speech of the conference, José María Fernández, Circular Economy Director of Ihobe, the Basque Government’s public environmental management company, explained how Directive (EU) 2024/825 aims to combat greenwashing and prevent misleading advertising of sustainable packaging solutions. The directive will ensure that claims regarding a product’s sustainability are supported by scientific evidence such as life cycle analysis or its carbon footprint. The goal is to ensure that sustainability becomes a true competitive factor for companies, not just a marketing tool.

The first session of the first thematic section, held yesterday, addressed innovative materials for the production of sustainable packaging. The focus was the importance of barrier properties and packaging recyclability. In this session, moderated by Víctor Borrás, Marketing Manager of Knauf, Kuraray presented recyclable mono-material and barrier solutions, and UBE provided recyclable solutions based on PA/PE for applications requiring transparency, gloss, barrier properties and puncture resistance while achieving reduced thicknesses, among other advantages. In addition, Total Corbion presented PLA as an alternative material with less environmental impact compared to other materials; meanwhile, Toppan presented high-barrier materials using a mono-material strategy with AlOx/SiOx coatings.

In the second session, on sustainability in flexible barrier packaging, moderated by Pere Becerra, Demo Centre Manager, Comexi, the difficulty was discussed of recycling traditional multilayer solutions (coextrusion and lamination) with high barrier performance, sealability and mechanical properties. Comexi, Rotorprint, Sealed Air, Sp-Group and Grupo Lantero presented their ecodesign strategies to address this issue, as well as solutions to avoid over-packaging and reduce packaging weight. Also highlighted was the need to focus on maintaining the functional characteristics of packaging so as not to increase food waste, as well as the importance of improving the mechanical properties of materials and validating the behavior of packaging structures in machinery when adjusting the speed and applying automatic seals. The examples discussed included mono-material solutions with a barrier percentage to maintain recyclability in accordance with RecyClass and Cyclos.

Sustainability in rigid barrier packaging was the main topic of the third session, which was moderated by RAORSA. In this session, recyclable and compostable solutions were presented, such as Acesur’s project to add cellulose fibres from olive oil waste to PLA to manufacture oil bottles; and Faerch’s development of recycling PET trays to manufacture PET trays. To highlight the importance of applying packaging design while taking into account recyclability, Danone presented an improvement in its YoPro range of black packaging that makes it detectable on recycling lines so it can be separated for recycling.

In the fourth and final session, held yesterday and moderated by Jesús Pérez, director of the Innovative Packaging Cluster of the Valencian Community, the discussion focused on product packaging strategies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and took a comprehensive look at meeting these goals, as well as Spanish Law 7/2022 and the Royal Decree on packaging.

During the round-table discussion with the participation of representatives from Calidad Pascual, Garcia Carrión, Hijos De Rivera S.A.U., Florette and Vicky Foods, some of the sustainability strategies applied by these companies were discussed, including the reduction of materials and thicknesses, mono-materials, circularity, ecodesign, innovation, reuse and the use of renewable energies. The challenges addressed by the companies were also mentioned, such as the use of recycled material in food contact packaging and alternative materials with functional properties. Also discussed was the importance of using ecodesign and life cycle analysis tools, and consumer information on how to apply appropriate end-of-life treatment to packaging, and selecting materials in terms of the product and the country of export. Finally, examples were provided of sustainable products that have been developed, such as a milk bottle made of transparent PET and replacing the rings on six-packs of cans with an adhesive.

The second day began with the fifth session of the conference, moderated by Enplater, on innovative materials for the production of sustainable packaging (II) / sustainability in barrier packaging, which addressed alternative solutions to conventional materials. AINA presented edible coatings that avoid food waste, generate zero waste and can contain prebiotics and probiotics. Lactips presented its development for using casein as an oxygen barrier coating for application on paper to provide a natural solution to microplastics in this kind of paper packaging. Quimóvil presented water-based acrylic barrier coatings with barrier properties to meet the strategic challenge of more sustainable packaging. Finally, Novamont presented its development of compostable coffee capsules and cellulosic packaging with barrier properties. All these solutions are recyclable and compostable depending on the type (home or industrial composting).

In the sixth session (end of life: recycling and reuse), moderated by New Era, the focus was on reusable packaging solutions, sanitization systems, applicable legislation and new business models. Bumerang underlined the challenge of reusability in terms of making it easy for consumers to return packaging. The company stated that if users’ product experience is good, they will be more likely to return the packaging. The company is working on different solutions based on the type of customer. Veolia focused on recycled plastic as a vector for decarbonization and presented its global plastics recycling platform, which combines technical and commercial knowledge with a carbon and water footprint tool. Fych Technologies also participated in this session.

The seventh session provided a context for presenting the latest developments in barrier-packaging management, separation and recycling, and the application of legislation for recycled materials (plastics) for food contact. It was moderated by Heura Gestió Ambiental. AIMPLAS presented two reuse projects. The first was on reusable packaging for the cosmetics industry, connectivity and prototype validation. The second focused on a reusable bottle for cleaning products and a bag-in-box. TPL explained how it is working to improve sustainability by reducing thicknesses, replacing materials to achieve this reduction and using recycled material to manufacture film. As an example, TPL presented a PET-based film that is valid for all applications and can be recycled. Ecoembes presented a tool for predicting and modifying the impact of packaging in the design phase.

The event ended with a round-table discussion on packaging trends and needs in distribution and among consumers with the participation of Aces, Tal, Hispacoop and Carrefour, which shared their points of view on fulfillment of the 2030 goals, the challenges they face, how they are addressing these challenges and what is needed to help achieve these goals.

The editorial team of The Packman who handle all the press releases with Sunil Jain working as the desk editor.

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