THINNER SLEEVES FOR MORE SUSTAINABILITY
A good packaging should use as little material as possible and as much as is necessary to maintain the needed protection of the product and meet the expectations of customers. This makes sense not only from an economic point of view – less material usually also means less costs – but also from an ecological perspective. Because less packaging means less carbon emissions during production.
It is therefore no wonder that companies are constantly working to make their packagings more effective in this regard. One example of how reducing the amount of material used can work, comes from the Austrian company CCL Label.
FROM 45 TO 30 MICROMETRES
The wrap producer has recently added a thinner version of their already marketed stretch sleeves to their portfolio of goods. The sleeves are intended for use on one-litre PET reusable bottles, which are most often used for mineral water on the German market. According to the company, the newly presented stretch sleeve is the thinnest of its kind available on the market, with a thickness of 30 micrometres (0.030 millimetres). The industry standard, however, is 45 micrometres. The sleeve is therefore about one third thinner than usual.
“This extremely thin stretch sleeve was developed with regard to sustainability and contributes to efficiency on part of the material. The production of these sleeves needs far less raw material, which helps to reduce the carbon footprint”, says Thorsten Umek, Product Manager at CCL Label Völkermarkt. “According to our calculations, beverage brands could save up to 32 tons of plastic material per 100 million sleeves by switching from 45 to 30 micrometres.”
Polyethylene (PE) is used as a monomaterial for producing the sleeves. Thanks to its elastic properties suitable for processing, neither heat nor glue is necessary to attach the sleeve to the bottle – another step that helps to save emissions.
The material has the added advantage of excellent recyclability. Accordingly, the stretch sleeves can also be manufactured from post consumer recyclates (PCR). The company is therefore on top of the current trend. According to figures by PlasticsEurope, the amount of recyclates used in processing rose by 12 percent in Germany in 2021, and is expected to increase.
This example from the Alps is only one of many that illustrates how companies can use consequent research and improvements to increase the efficient use of materials and decrease their carbon emissions. There is no contradiction between ecological and economic balance.