Exchange promotes sustainability

03. July 2015

How will foodstuffs be packaged in the future? - Most certainly lighter! This was one of the answers at the ZNU workshop conducted at Bischof + Klein in Lengerich.

As a representative of the flexible plastic packaging industry, Bischof + Klein is working together with foodstuff industry companies within the ZNU (Centre for Sustainable Corporate Management) to drive the topic of sustainability forwards. The meeting in Lengerich concerned sustainable packaging solutions for foodstuffs. At the special request of the participants, David Köppe, B+K development engineer, explained the opportunities and risks of bioplastics. While there is major interest, market breakthrough is proving difficult to achieve. The reasons lie in the higher price and the lack of recycling systems for biologically degradable plastics. Competition between areas used for foodstuff and raw material production is also viewed critically.

The packaging industry has made significant progress in reducing the volume of material used for packaging. According to a recent study conducted by GVM (packaging market research company), the amount of material used today to produce plastic packaging is around one third less than in 1991. B+K development engineer Köppe: "Granules with improved characteristics, modern extrusion lines and the optimisation of laminate structures are enabling a significant reduction in the wall thicknesses of consumer packaging." For example, the thickness of vacuum packaging for coffee has been reduced by 12%, leading to a 27% reduction in weight. Further advantages: as the reel diameter remains the same, the number of reels and therefore also transportation costs are reduced.  

During the tour of the company, the participants followed the explanations on the production of flexible packaging, from film extrusion, lamination and printing to conversion with great interest. A workshop subsequently dealt with the special needs and requirements of the foodstuffs industry in terms of packaging. As the basis for this, Jacob Fels and Dr. Axel Kölle of the ZNU had conducted an online survey beforehand. The participants were unanimous in their desire for more communication within the supply chain. Improved exchange between foodstuff producers, retailers, machine manufacturers, fillers, packaging manufacturers and the recycling industry could drive the issue of sustainable packaging further forwards.


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Gudula Benning
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