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Thin wall plastics for packaging reduction targets

In mould labelling (IML) enhances packaging and can provide additional functions. Treofan supplies BOPP films to this market from four manufacturing facilities worldwide and is working to improve its carbon footprint through a variety of initiatives including reusing scrap and downgauging. Its latest IML grade has a highly voided OPP core and excellent anti-static performance.

Styron provides polystyrene for packaging and is working with an IP protected foaming technology called CO2RE, which provides a core layer of carbon dioxide foamed material. The equipment can be added to an existing extrusion line with an appropriate screw. It can give a 13-20% weight reduction in yoghurt pots, for example. This will in turn reduce the cost of Packaging Waste Disposal Tax. An LCA study has been conducted by David Russell at Dow Europe.

By 2025 therewill be another 8 billion people to feed worldwide and 66% will be water-stressed. The polypropylene supplier Borealis has set its own environmental targets including cutting energy use per tonne by 20% in 2020 compared to 1990, a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions at the same time, and decreasing the water footprint. A 190ml baby food container made of barrier PP compared to a glass jar reduces the carbon footprint by 30% and the water footprint by 60%. PP clarity can be enhanced by soluble nucleation technology from Milliken. The latest generation of clarifier is heat stable to 285C and is approved for food contact. The right additives can aid processing and cut energy use.

Octal of Oman is a relative newcomer to the PET supply market, with sales of US$330 million in the financial year ending March 2010, and plans for growth to US$500 million in the current financial year. It is the largest PET sheet producer in the world with current capacity of 350,000 tonnes per annum, scheduled to increase to 1 million tonnes per annum in 2012. The company has developed a unique “direct-to-sheet (DPET)” technology, which removes 5 stages in processing, going direct from polymerisation to calendering. Less heat history of the material reduces colour tainting and improves clarity, as well as delivering high quality PET which can be recycled. Octal is looking at downgauging the sheet to reduce material usage. The benefits to thermoformers of this material include improved flow, for example it increases corner thickness/material distribution.

There is evidence of yogurt as a foodstuff going back 4,500 years starting with milk being fermented in camel stomachs. EverEdge IP has recently introduced a new single-serve pack, which is squeezed to eat the contents avoiding the need for a spoon. “Crushpak” is said to use 25% less plastic than conventional packs and the thinner sheets lead to faster forming on existing equipment. It is currently in use in the USA, Mexico, New Zealand and Spain.