Get the Grip on Green #2 – The 4 pillars @ Pont Packaging
THE 4 PILLARS OF GREEN PACKAGING
- Reduce weight were possible : A light weight version of a product is an easy way to have a positive impact by reducing the overall quantity of material.
- Design products fit for recycling : More than just choosing the material, shape and colour of the container, it is important to consider the combination of the whole package.
- Use of recycled materials : Recycled PET, recycled HDPE, and glass are all materials which can offer similar performances as their original versions and can be recycled many times.
- Use of renewable materials : Using natural raw material for your packaging is a great step towards sustainability and to reduce your global carbon foot print.
1. Reduce material :
Reduced materials means that we use less material in our packaging. We can do this by reducing the weight of a container or jar. By reducing the weight we introduce less material into market which is good for the environment but also good financially.
For packaging with reduced weight, our purchase price will be lower. Also for our customers it is a cost reduction as in most countries disposal fees are applied. Disposal fees are taken by the recycling system (Dual System) to cover cost for waste management. The producer, or distributor pays these fees, which includes cost for near-household collection, sorting and recycling of the post-consumer waste like packaging. Every country has an own Dual system: CITEO for France, Afvalfonds Verpakkingen for the Netherlands, Valpak for UK, Duales System Deutschland for Germany, Forst Plus for Belgium, CONAI for Italy, etc.
But what they have in common: for each Dual systems weight is the key factor in the calculation of the fees. That means in the end, to have a lighter product, saves costs for us and our customers.
DO NOT FORGET, IN SUSTAINABILTIY, IT’S THE ADDITION OF ALL STEPS
WHICH MAKES THE FINAL DIFFERENCE, THAT’S WHY EVEN SMALL ONES COUNT …
2. Design products fit for recycling
It’s necessary to avoid losing material and reuse it as often as possible. In this way, plastics and our products are able to meet requirements on circular economy, emissions, CO2-footprint, etc. That’s why all European countries are currently optimizing their recycling processes to be able to increase the amount of recycled waste.
But it’s very important, that we design our packaging fit for these recycling processes, without this the best recycling process is not efficient enough.
What we did so far, is focusing on :
o removing Carbon black as masterbatch. Before the recycling starts, it’s necessary, that the different types of plastics are sorted into different streams. For the sorting, NIR (near infra-red) light is used. The problem with Carbon black masterbatches is, that it absorbs the NIR light, so it can’t be detected which polymer type the packaging is made from. If we adapt this, even black items will be recyclable.
o combining container and cap from the same material Roundpacker (HDPE) with Hingegard-neck, so a LDPE Hingegard-cap fits. It’s easily recyclable then in the PE stream without complex sorting steps.
o Identify all critical points of recycling in Pont’s markets, to be able to give an advice to our customer how to design their packaging fit for recycling.
In most of the European countries, only PET clear and light blue can be recycled. Coloured and opaque PET are not yet recycled, because there isn’t an existing market for applications of the recycled material.
HDPE has less specifications for recycling, because there might be more applications for recycled coloured HDPE. As far as the HDPE has a detectable colour (no Carbon black), the colour doesn’t influence the recyclability.
For detailed information on the requirements of recyclability, please contact us: email@example.com
3. Use of recycled materials :
If we want to act in a circular economy, we need to reuse used material. So the use of recycled plastic in our packaging is important.
That’s why our customers have the possibility to use recycled PET (food-grade) and recycled HDPE (not food-grade) instead of the virgin versions for their packaging. But it’s important as well, that we know about the availability of the materials as well as their sources, to be sure, that the material is really sustainable and we are not going to do “greenwashing”.
That’s why we should e.g. use rPET only in clear PET-products to keep the material recyclable and avoid to lose it, because this wouldn’t be sustainable. We are of course looking for new solution to offer rHDPE and rPP with food-grade, but it’s currently not available in the market in industrial scales.
4. Use of renewable materials:
Using bio-based plastics (e.g. from sugar crane) have the advantages, that the properties are exactly the same then of fossil-based virgin material, and that no fossil based oil is needed anymore, so they have a positive CO2-footprint.
These are of course huge benefits and we are expecting that these are the future of plastics.
Bio-based HDPE has already at least 96% renewable share. Currently, the availability is somehow limited, but the raw material suppliers are building up new production sites. We are currently preparing a Roundpacker-series producible with bio-based HDPE and bio-based LDPE Hingegard cap.
Bio-based PP is currently in a development phase, but we are monitoring the development.
Bio-based PET (which we don’t offer) has only a renewable share < 30%, because it’s currently not possible to produce with a higher bio-based content.
Due to the rapid evolution of the sustainability into the packaging sector as well as local differences of recycling processes and law, information provided within this document are for information only.
We advise you to check your local regulation’s update.