TIN PACKAGING BECOMES MORE CLIMATE-FRIENDLY
Tin packaging is excellent for use in the production of recyclable packaging. But it doesn’t score well in terms of its carbon footprint because coal, which is harmful to the climate, is still being used as a source of energy in the production of steel in Europe. But the industry is working on more sustainable solutions and has already launched a carbon-reduced flat steel on the market. Swiss packaging manufacturer Hoffmann Neopac is one of the first to work with the carbon-dioxide-reduced tin.
bluemint Steel – that’s the name of a new packaging steel produced by German tin manufacturer thyssenkrupp Rasselstein, who claim that significantly less carbon dioxide is emitted during its manufacture. In a joint project with Hoffmann Neopac and Ricola, the Swiss manufacturer of herbal sweets, the steel producer last year launched the world’s first food can made from the carbon-reduced steel.
thyssenkrupp Rasselstein says that bluemint’s material properties don’t differ from those offered by conventional steel grades. The reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions has been achieved through the introduction of a new production process using HBI (hot briquetted iron), a porous iron sponge that has been pressed into briquettes, which allows for cutting the amount of coal used during the reduction process in the blast furnace.
AVOIDING CO2 AT ALL STAGES ACROSS THE VALUE-ADDING CHAIN
But the first food can produced with bluemint steel can do even more: Less CO2 is produced not only during the manufacturing of the tin but also during the production of the cans and their sweet contents. Hoffmann Neopac uses 100% solar power to manufacture and print the cans and Ricola has already been using electricity from hydropower in its production processes since 2016. This is also highly appreciated by consumers. “By switching to a carbon-reduced can, Ricola is also responding to the growing demand by consumers who are increasingly thinking about their own carbon footprints when making purchases,” says Dr Martin Messerli, Chief Operating Officer at Ricola.
Hoffmann Neopac and thyssenkrupp Rasselstein recently signed a memorandum of understanding after the successful launch of the food can to secure the long-term supply of the new carbon-reduced bluemint steel. Hoffmann Neopac intends to use the more environmentally friendly materials to further expand its range of products with carbon-reduced cans and would also like to persuade more customers to switch to tin packaging produced with bluemint steel. This Switzerland-based packaging specialist supplies customers across the globe with products in the baby food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and well-being sectors.
For both companies, the signed memorandum of understanding is an important contribution to the creation of a climate-friendly value-adding chain for steel manufacturing. “The production of carbon-reduced steel constitutes a significant contribution to our sustainability goals,” says thyssenkrupp Rasselstein CEO Dr Peter Biele whose company is aiming to make its production climate-neutral by 2045 at the latest.
The response to the more sustainable packaging steel has been good. thyssenkrupp Rasselstein has recently launched another project in conjunction with a manufacturer of metal packaging as well as a brewery, which launched the world’s first five-litre beer keg made with bluemint steel. This is another project where bluemint is helping all those involved to further reduce their carbon footprints.