Sustainability and innovations in thin wall plastics packaging

Thin wall plastics packaging includes tubs, cups, jars, trays and ready meal dishes. It is used to preserve and protect a wide variety of items including yoghurt, margarine, ice cream, bakery goods, fruit and vegetables, pre-prepared meals, soup, and now also long-term packaging of items including fish. AMI is organising the 5th international conference on Thin Wall Packaging from 7-9 December 2010 at Cologne, Germany. Trends will be reviewed by the expert market consultant, Jon Nash. A new patented form-fill-seal packaging will be described by Everedge from New Zealand – a single-serve pot that was first licensed to a yoghurt producer in 2009 and uses up to 25% less material. There is expansion in the range of applications of thin-walled plastics packaging containers. Rexam High Barrier Containers is rolling out new products to take more market share. Albis Plastic is supplying a new oxygen scavenger to assist in extending shelf-life. The high barrier properties of the latest packaging innovations have enabled them to replace traditional materials such as glass jars and tin cans. The manufacturing technology has been reviewed by Waldorf Technik. EDV Packaging is an award winner in this field with multilayer plastics technology. Superfos has looked at innovations to expand the uses of injection moulded packaging. Treofan supplies BOPP label substrates and has worked with industry leaders to move away from direct printing to in mould label technology and subsequent benefits. FKuR Kunststoff has developed injection moulding grades of bioplastics for food packaging, while Kortec has worked on multilayer injection moulding technology for thin wall packaging. Sustainability is a big topic for discussion this year, with many new global initiatives in place from the food industry and retailers to minimise environmental impact. Coop Box Group has been studying the retailers’ viewpoint and RPC Barrier Packaging will give the converter’s perspective at the conference. Reynolds Packaging has reviewed the thermoforming industry to look for ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Octal is leading the way in PET sheet for thermoforming: its patented production technology gives a significant reduction in the carbon footprint. Innovations in materials and processing technology are leading to new possibilities in the marketplace. For example, there is thermoformable bioplastic sheet from Plantic Technologies and new high density foam technology from Styron for polystyrene to cut weight. Borealis has new grades of transparent polypropylene materials for food packaging with better organoleptics, and potential for cutting cycle time and energy usage. Milliken has additives to improve PP transparency. Barrier retort packaging can be developed using EVOH in a multilayer barrier, supplied by companies such as EVAL Europe. The packaging industry in 2010 is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint and develop the best product for each food type, and this now includes very light weight, high barrier plastics.
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