Providing a sustainable packaging solution has become a major trend in the food packaging industry. So, in the short to medium term, there will be advancements in recycled content packaging materials, biodegradable materials and recyclable polymers, said Jeevaraj Pillai, co-chair of the PHDCCI packaging committee and co-chair, packaging and development. new products. , Uflex. He was speaking during the first days of the virtual international conference on advances and challenges in the food packaging industry on March 23. The event was organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry PHD and supported by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Pillai said progress in the food packaging sector was largely due to the industry trying to meet the challenges head-on. “Today the industry is under pressure to review the current product portfolio and come up with changes to make it more sustainable,” he said.
He added that while the government has issued sustainability guidelines based on compliance, the FSSAI has also taken on the responsibility of a facilitator to help implement key recycling requirements proposed in the plastic management rules. .
During his speech, Dr. Tanweer Alam, director of the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP), said the packaging industry in India is now worth $35 billion. The number is expected to double in the next five to ten years.
“The pandemic has proven the importance of packaging more than ever,” he said. “Today, retailers are struggling to meet consumer demand for efficient packaging. This shows that packaging and distribution have become more important than ever.
He said that in the immediate future, the ideal food packaging will have to be safe, secure and durable. It should be environmentally friendly with good barrier properties.
Therefore, there is a need to introduce sustainable packaging materials and design. “If we can make biodegradable plastic profitable, there will be huge demand,” he said.
Jena Marc Dore, President of MEDEF Vertical Emballage, spoke about food packaging trends in France. MEDEF, or the Mouvement des entreprises de France, or the Mouvement des entreprises de France, is the largest employers’ federation in France.
Dore said the European food packaging market is worth €180 billion, while the packaging machinery market is worth €11.6 billion.
In France, the food packaging market was worth €35 billion in 2018, while the packaging machinery market was worth €5 billion in 2020.
Dore said there are 17,647 food packaging companies in France. Of these, 98% are SMEs. The country is the world’s fourth largest exporter of food packaging after the United States, Germany and the Netherlands.
According to him, the French food packaging industry has been actively involved in sustainable development for 25 years, with a material recycling rate of 68% for the household part and even more for industrial and commercial packaging.
In his opening speech, Rohan Wijesinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Packaging, spoke about the global perspective on food packaging. He said the growth of food packaging has led to strict regulations by governments to ensure product quality and safety. Thus, packaging materials must meet increasingly stringent standards.
“It’s a challenge for the industry. For example, so far, biodegradable polymers have replaced only 5% of plastic. So we have a long way to go,” he said.
He added that life cycle inventory assessment can be an appropriate guideline for sustainability. This includes raw material sourcing and use, material consumption and waste, resource consumption and recycling, among others.
“The next generation of food packaging should help reduce waste as well as resources. Using sustainable or green packaging has the potential to reduce the impact,” he said.
He gave an example, saying that it is considered possible that by 2050, 50% of European food packaging materials will be made from non-food renewable resources using food and packaging waste. The remaining 50% of the material will come from petroleum-based closed-loop recycled materials. These biobased materials will also be compostable.
In his presentation, Dr Torben FischerDivision Manager, Cast Film, Windmoller & Holscher, Germany, spoke about sustainable cast PP packaging and technology solutions for food packaging.
Windmoller & Holscher has three fields of action, namely 4.0 packaging solutions, efficient productions and sustainable products. The sustainable product category includes increasing processing capacity for recycled materials and identifying new approaches to recycling.
In the category of new sustainable products, Fischer gave the example of a bag with a flat bottom. The current flat bottom pouch design includes counter-printed BO-PET + adhesive + aluminum foil + adhesive + PP sealing film. Thus, the product is difficult to recycle.
As a solution, Fischer suggests a two-layer pouch design, which uses PP film + adhesive + cast PP with matting or barrier coating. He said this new material and design has the added benefit of recyclability.
Speaking about emerging trends in the food packaging industry, Dr Christoph LettowskyTechnical Director, Reifenhauser Blown Film, Germany, said mono-material solutions are preferred, and even necessary, to improve the mechanical recyclability of packaging film laminates.
“The most promising mono-material packaging is all-PET. It provides an excellent seal even when contaminated and has the ideal sealing layer for packaging granular, solid and liquid products,” he said.
Speaking on Comexi’s role in sustainable solutions for food packaging, Albert Chicote, Comexi Group, Spain, said the company understands sustainability as respect for nature and a commitment to work for a better world. “It’s also a social responsibility to our employees, to have a healthy business and to do what we are committed to doing,” he said.
He said Comexi is the first flexible packaging company to integrate life cycle analysis and environmental product declaration into its machines. “We apply sustainability with EB Offset Printing Machines, the first center drum offset machine that enables sustainable printing of flexible packaging,” he said.
Speaking on sustainable paper for food packaging, Sridharr NP, DGM, Sustainable Products and Packaging, ITC, explained that the paper is repetitively available, environmentally friendly grown, economically viable, and FSC and PEFC certified. The paper also does not harm the environment during the conversion process. It also has the lowest possible carbon footprint.
On how to move towards sustainable paper packaging, Sridharr gave the example of CII GreePro Ecolabel. This is a type I ecolabel for paper/cardboard packaging. Sridharr said it has a holistic product life cycle framework and identifies environmentally preferable products. He added that the GreenPro complies with United Nations environmental guidelines on product sustainability.
Speaking of innovative and sustainable packaging for the future, Christopher Wachter, Director of Flexible Packaging Papers Division, Koehler Paper, Germany, said there is strong consumer demand for truly sustainable packaging solutions. Citing a survey, he said 91% of consumers want products without plastic packaging, 90% would like to see more activity from retailers to offer more sustainable packaging solutions, and 78% of consumers avoid plastic. plastic if other packaging solutions are available.
He said that in making sustainable paper, Koehler Paper focuses on different aspects of the products, including recyclability. He added that in the future, the company wants to use bio-based materials for paper production.
He said that a sustainable packaging solution is based on four aspects: the recyclability of the packaging, the functionality (barrier effects depending on the product), the cost (compared to the current solution) and the performance of the machines in the processing and packaging lines.
“As an ink supplier, we need to consider our contribution to the recycling/composting process,” said Dr. Lars Hancke, business development, flexible packaging, Hubergroup. He added that Hubergroup started this journey with cradle-to-cradle certification. This is the most comprehensive certification one can obtain for sustainability compliance. A major aspect of certification is to ensure that the ink is not toxic to the environment.
Dr Jörg Peter LanghammerGlobal Head of PSR+ Sustainability, Siegwerk, Germany, said the packaging value chain is complex and responsibilities need to be shared.
According to Langhammer, this value chain involves three stakeholders: the food industry (packaging specification and final validation), processors (packaging design and process validation) and ink manufacturers (development and supply ink and tips on using ink).
“Siegwerk takes responsibility proactively by understanding the needs of each partner in the chain,” he said.
PHDCCI conference deliberates on sustainable food packaging