New technology is allowing for drink cans with a much lower environmental footprint, according to Packaging Europe.
This year’s 2011 Can of the Year Award went to the Toyo Ultimate Can, which has a micron-thin polymer coating. This eliminates the needs for lubricants usually used in the can-shaping presses, which in turn means the manufacturer doesn’t need chemicals to wash off the lubricant.
The coating also eliminates the need for spray coats and the ovens used for curing those coats.
The new coating has been in development for almost 20 years, and manufacturer Toyo Seikan is now expanding abroad, building three new factories for the polymer-coated cans in China and Thailand in the past five years. It is also buying the world’s biggest maker of canmaking equipment, Colorado-based Stolle Machinery.
In other packaging news, Berlin Packaging has announced that it will be the primary stocking supplier for the eco.bottle, which it describes as America’s first molded fiber bottle. The product of Ecologic Brands is a hybrid fiber-plastic bottle that Berlin says uses up to 70 percent less plastic than traditional bottles, with a molded fiber shell that is 100 percent recyclable and compostable. It is already being used by Seventh Generation for its Natural 4X laundry detergent.
Berlin says the container is well suited to a range of consumer products from pourable goods to beverages, personal care products, paints and stains. It will be available in 32-ounce, 50-ounce and 64-ounce sizes starting in January.
Berlin says the production cost currently carries a premium, but marketers who adopt the package can expect the cost to come down to a level comparable with traditional packaging materials in the next 12 to 18 months.