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Sobieski Vodka plastic bottle

Lightweight Food & Beverage Packaging Saves Money, Reduces Carbon Emissions

Sobieski Vodka plastic bottleSustainable packaging, especially in the beverage industry, is a top food packaging trend this year, according to packaging firm Stellar’s food industry blog.

In the post, Stellar packaging engineer Cord Unbehaun “unpacks” three industry trends he saw at the PACK EXPO International trade show. When it comes to reducing the environmental impact of packaging, Unbehaun says the beverage industry is focused on three priorities:

  1. Making bottles lighter
  2. Reducing cap size
  3. Encouraging recyclability

We’ve already seen examples of these efforts in the first two months of 2017, with Unilever saying 100 percent of its plastic packaging will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and Greiner Packaging producing a PET bottle for Sobieski Vodka, which used to be sold in a glass bottle. The new plastic bottle is shatterproof and more lightweight than glass, which make it less costly and more efficient to ship.

Additionally, Dow’s RecycleReady Technology provides a lightweight, sustainable packaging option for flexible films, which are increasingly popular for food and beverage applications. Research and Market analysts forecast the global flexible packaging market for food and beverages to exceed $83 billion between 2016 and 2020.

As Unbehaun writes, “It seems everyone is trying lightweight packaging in 2017.”

But, he cautions, while lightweighting can save your company money while reducing its carbon footprint, “you have to be smart about it.”

Sometimes reducing your primary packaging weight can force you to increase your secondary packaging to ensure your product can safely withstand the environment in storage and distribution. There’s a lot of ways packaging can get beat up in these environments…So if you’re among the processors looking to lower the weight of your packaging this year, bear in mind it can be a double-edged sword. Tackle the design and approach efficiently to make sure that while you’re helping save the planet, you’re saving money, too.

In related news, Coca-Cola is conducting a sustainable packaging review and says it plans to publish the results, along with a new sustainable packaging strategy, in the summer.


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