Working together for sustainable packaging

Marina De Barros, EVP Marketing, Communications and Commercial Practices at Sidel elaborates on how the company is addressing the need for packaging change.

What are the main trends you see influencing the marketplace?

There are couple of trends that we are currently witnessing. ‘Better-for-you’ beverages and foods are gaining real traction with consumers nearly everywhere, which includes all-natural drinks without any added sugars and preservatives and is driving product innovations.

Widening the range of formats and recipes is also a clear trend across other beverage segments, generating a demand for higher flexibility. At the same time, production routines that reduce energy, water, chemicals and raw material consumption are being applied.

The need for reducing our impact on the planet bridges very naturally with sustainable packaging, which has today become priority number one for all our customers.

Can you tell us how Sidel participates in the hot topic within packaging – sustainability?

It would be naive not to recognise that we are living in an era when plastics are perceived as a contributor to pollution. In this regard, note that PET represents only 5 per cent of the global plastic production. PET is the only plastic packaging material that can be recycled bottle-to-bottle, which has significant environmental benefits, besides its unique properties in terms of food safety, convenience, design flexibility, transparency and affordability. However, we acknowledge that the better management of waste and close cooperation throughout the value chain are key success factors for a true circular economy of plastics.

In this regard, we have long collaborated with different FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies, leading industry players and associations to raise end user awareness about PET packaging, and to develop designs with lower environmental footprint while increasing the recycled content input.

In addition, we look at packaging and equipment with a 360° perspective. Sidel’s ‘End-to-End’ packaging approach aims to offer a consolidated packaging solution that encompasses primary, secondary and tertiary packaging and the best environmental impact of the complete production line.

Do you give PET a chance (for the future)?

Absolutely! PET can be brought back into the value chain as a valuable resource. The light weighting of PET bottles began many years ago. I think we can expect that containers to incorporate more and more recycled content, from an average of 10 per cent, which is the status today in Europe, to a value ranging from 30 per cent (in Europe by 2030) up to 100 per cent, depending on the development of collection and recycling capacity and the determination of brand owners.

At Sidel, we are actively working with our customers and the many stakeholders throughout the plastic value chain to ensure we push the technical boundaries in this regard. Recycled PET will be more and more valued in the years to come, and for good reason – it has the potential to both support the evolution of consumption habits and lower the burden on our planet.

PET is the most collected and recycled plastic material. Bottles made from 100 per cent recycled PET are already available to consumers and Sidel can qualify r-PET content from preform design to bottle process and performance.

Demand for recycled PET is increasing, driven by many brand owner commitments to achieve 50 per cent r-PET content in their bottles by 2025. This will further strengthen PET’s environmental credentials compared with other packaging materials.

Worldwide, 60 billion bottles have been manufactured with the Sidel Aseptic Combi Predis™, contributing to saving 10 billion litres of water and 60,000 tonnes of PET.

The BoostPRIME™ packaging solution for hot-filled beverages can reduce consumption of PET resin by up to 30 per cent, whilst offering a bottle with a premium look and feel.

Since its launch, the SWING® pasteurisation system has helped save 2,135 Olympic swimming pools of water, while cutting energy consumption by 25 per cent.

The film used on shrink wrapping systems can be made from 100 per cent recycled material, which also helps close the loop from a secondary packaging perspective.