As consumer demand for sustainable packaging continues to rise, brand owners and manufacturers across the packaging and processing supply chain are looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their overall operations. Though sustainability solutions are rarely restricted to a single focus, packaging plays an important role since the right material specification during the package design phase can help cost effectively minimize waste, without sacrificing form or function.

Lighten up

Doing more with less has become the name of the game in food and beverage packaging. As seen throughout the beverage industry, light-weighting (i.e., source reduction) is an essential tool in the sustainable practices toolkit. By using various high-performance flexible plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), brand owners are able to cost effectively achieve thin-gauge packaging that significantly reduces the amount of plastics used and the amount that enters the waste stream.

At PACK EXPO International 2014, Flex Films (USA) Inc. will showcase two examples of such source reduction. Flex Films and LEHAR Snack Foods collaborated on a pouch featuring a new laminated, metallized structure and 23 percent less material. Flex Films’ 8 micron BOPP film, the world’s first suitable for printing and lamination, gets much of the credit for the source reduction. Sustainability efforts continue well after a product has been packaged. Paperboard, a material commonly used in secondary or transport packaging can be “greened” as well. For instance, brand owners can specify paperboard with larger percentages of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.

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