Before the pandemic, some brands, manufacturers and retailers were able to drag their feet in adopting plastic-free alternatives. However, growing public consciousness and rising expectations from stakeholders to reduce plastic waste mean that firms must now move much faster on eradicating single-use plastics from their packaging.
Evolving consumer attitudes mean that the public wants to be part of the solution and will embrace certain trade-offs when the protection of the planet is at stake. Take France: over the last eight years, open fridges have been replaced by fridges with doors, requiring extra effort from the customer. This could have potentially had a negative effect on sales but research has found that this has been achieved with no apparent impact on revenue and has in fact resulted in massive CO2 savings.
Already, we are seeing more brand owners move away from multi-material packaging to monomaterials, particularly paper-based options, which can be recycled in the paper waste stream.
At Arjowiggins, we are committed to developing truly sustainable packaging materials. It is encouraging to see that the market is looking more and more towards sustainable solutions, but we believe that there is still some way to go. An essential component of this corporate revolution is the true commitment to making a real and lasting positive change, combined with a bold vision and alternative ways of doing things. This includes a willingness to try new materials – especially paper, which is sustainable by nature as it uses wood pulp, a perfectly renewable raw material contributing to a truly circular model.
Christophe Jordan, managing director of the Translucent Paper business at Arjowiggins, talks about the solution with International Confectionery:
“Currently within the confectionery industry, we often see flexible packaging made up of different layers of laminates. The layers typically consist of different types of polymers (plastics), aluminium and/or paper. This type of multilayer structure is necessary as each element has its own specific function, i.e. to protect the contents from oxygen, moisture, grease or mineral oils. Additional elements will also be incorporated for sealing and printing.
The problem here is that it is impossible to recycle or biodegrade packaging made up of so many layers of different materials. The discarded packaging would need to be either incinerated or sent to landfill – but that can eventually end up in our oceans, polluting our planet for many years. This goes against the principle of a circular economy.
Last year we launched Sylvicta, a ground-breaking new sustainable alternative to plastics in packaging. Made with a natural bonding, containing no harmful chemicals whatsoever, this unique translucent paper offers an effective barrier to oxygen, aroma, mineral oils and fatty foodstuffs.
As a revolutionary eco-friendly packaging material made from renewable raw materials, Sylvicta offers confectionery manufacturers a fully recyclable, compostable and marine degradable alternative to plastic.
When running through conventional converting lines, our barrier paper offers limitless creative possibilities. It can be foil-stamped, glued, embossed, printed in offset, gravure, and flexography, metallised, or coated with heat or cold-sealable materials. This means that confectionery manufacturers can continue to deliver high-impact, quality packaging – yet in an eco-friendly format which ticks all the sustainability boxes.
Sylvicta is already proving itself to be an exceptional flexible packaging option. Working with packaging converters, we have been able to roll out an endless array of applications. So far, Sylvicta is being converted into pouches, bags, sachets, sacks and flow-packs for the likes of chocolate bars, dried fruit, nuts, healthy snacks, ice lollies, powders and fine food. We’ve even developed metallised versions of Sylvicta; primarily for butter, but equally appropriate for other greasy food items, such as easter eggs.
Flexible packaging is commonly made from easily yielding materials such as polymer films, but these are often not a ‘green’ packaging choice. Answering the market’s need for sustainable alternatives to flexible laminates, Sylvicta offers confectionery brands a high-barrier packaging solution that enables them to not only reduce or even eradicate the use of plastics in their packaging, but also protect the product’s quality, as well as increase its shelf-life.”
Sustainability in packaging is important not only for preserving the freshness of packaged products, but most crucially to ensuring a limited impact on the environment.
This article originally appeared on International Confectionery