Some not-so-obvious sustainable packaging solutions
The Glass Packaging Institute sees beauty in a simple milk bottle. The trade association honored Straus Family Creamery with a Clear Choice Award in November 2014. The organic dairy based in Petaluma, Calif., was one of 11 consumer product goods companies recognized for their achievements in creating innovative glass packages with shelf impact.
Straus’s re-usable and recyclable glass bottle (from the Ardagh Group) shows off the cream that floats to the top of the bottle of nonhomogenized milk.
The winners were chosen from the field of 71 entries based on criteria including innovation, package design (including container label and closure) and consumer appeal. The judging panel consisted of Paul Koning, specialist and instructor at Michigan State University School of Packaging; Angelica Sbai, national director wine & spirits, Palm Restaurant Group; Jarad Slipp, estate director at RdV Vineyards, master sommelier; and Richard Turcsik, executive editor, Grocery Headquarters magazine.
A bottle with a flexible pouch
While glass bottles are nothing new for dairy, Zip-Pak exhibited a resealable pouch for dairy-based liquid products at the PackExpo show in Chicago in November. The company said this new package is a viable alternative to blow-molded bottles.
The package, named PresSURE-Lok, is “an ideal solution for controlled dispensing of a variety of milk and dairy-based beverages, as well as milk-based condiments, spreads and toppings,” according to Zip-Pak, based in Manteno, Ill. The package combines a flexible pouch with a flexible and self-contained fitment, eliminating the need for a separate dispensing component. When a user squeezes the flexible pouch to open the seal, liquid product flows into the dispensing chamber. The package then automatically reseals itself for future use. Because of this proprietary sealing mechanism, the flexible package can lie on its side or upside down without unintentional dispensing.
One benefit of the package is less food waste because of the ability to control product dispensing. Another benefit is sustainability. Less material is required for production and transportation in comparison to rigid packaging, according to the manufacturer.
‘Green’ packing tape
The sustainability story of light-weight packages is well-told, but how many dairy processors look at packaging tape as a way to reduce their carbon footprints? At PackExpo, 3M, St. Paul, Minn., came out with Scotch recycled corrugate tapes. The tape is backed with a proprietary adhesive that was designed specifically to adhere to recycled corrugate cartons. The adhesive is tackier than conventional box sealing tapes. 3M claims one strip is sufficient to seal a box, whether it is applied by hand or machine.
Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics developed a resin compatibilizer that it says will allow millions of pounds of barrier film to be recycled. Polymer modifiers allow pelletized barrier films, containing materials like ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) or polyamide (PA) to be more evenly dispersed into a polyolefin matrix.
A marketing manager, in a statement, said the polymer modifiers “help take plastic packaging to the next level, supporting converters’ landfill waste goals.” Dairies can also make post-industrial recycled content claims and trim costs associated with collecting, packaging and selling scrap materials. Retain is the name Dow uses for the polymer modifiers.