WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PAPER TUBES?
You can’t be afraid to innovate if you want to survive in the packaging sector. Materials that have achieved good results so far must also be able to compare favourably with previously little-used alternatives. Aluminium, for example, has long dominated the field as the most common material used in the production of tubes while, since the middle of the 20th century, many products have also been available in tubes made from PVC, for example. Fibre-based tubes – in other words: tubes made from paper so to speak – are in contrast still relatively new.
The Switzerland-based packaging manufacturer Hoffmann Neopac is demonstrating that paper tubes are not just a gimmick. The company has now developed a tube – the PaperX – with a fibre-based laminate that uses up to 80% paper in its production. The company has said that, compared with conventional tubes, the packaging contains 46% less plastic, which produces CO2 savings of around 24%. That means that in that respect alone these new types of tube are already environmentally friendly.
PAPER TUBE COMMUNICATES ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
The manufacturer has stated that the innovative packaging is particularly suitable for use in the industries for natural body care and cosmetic products. The tubes’ soft texture and tactile properties also make them ideal for these sectors. “PaperX tubes create a sustainable image and a unique tactile experience by highlighting the corporate responsibility of brands to increasingly environmentally aware consumers,” said Mark Aegler, CEO at the Hoffmann Neopac Group. “Neopac is committed to building a sustainable future by delivering innovative, environmentally friendly packaging solutions that have been produced with renewable energy.”
But paper tubes do have one disadvantage when compared with conventional ones made from aluminium or such mono-materials as polypropylene and polyethylene. For all the reduction in CO2 emissions during production and the use of renewable raw materials, it’s not yet clear whether and how it will be possible to efficiently recycle this new type of packaging. The material used is after all a paper-plastic composite.
While recycling is not impossible. The corresponding recycling processes do still need to be defined and put in place. The company is counting on the efforts of authorities and state players here. But there’s still definitely a need to catch up. The recycling rate for aluminium packaging in Germany, for example, is around 90%, according to the Verband Aluminium Deutschland (German Aluminium Association). These figures still have to be achieved with composites.
In short: Fibre-based tubes constitute promising progress on the road towards the sustainable production of tubes. But – in spite of the great potential – there remains much to do in regard to recycling.