Rip, Remove and Recycle

Another new packaging stemming from out of the box pondering hit the shelves in February this year. GreenBottle in the UK has developed a bag-in-box packaging for milk to replace the normally used plastic bottles. The outer shell is made from paper which can be recycled, or is promised to decompose within a matter of weeks. The inner bag is made of recycled plastic which scores some extra green points. It also resulted in a carbon footprint 48% lower than that of a standard (plastic) milk bottle.

Since February the “bottle” has been available in selected Asda stores. Now reports have that sales of milk packaged in GreenBottle’s recycled paper and plastic hybrid design have tripled those of plastic bottles, even though they have sold at a premium.

Watch this bottle.

The future, young man, is in plastics…

At least if you listen to a recent report from Freedonia where the future for plastic packaging is painted almost as brightly as its recent past.

“In selected packaging markets where paper and plastic compete, plastic will make further inroads into paper. Rigid packaging demand will slightly outpace flexible packaging based on above-average growth for tubs and cups, trays, clamshells and two-piece high visibility plastic containers.”

The study is looking at the North American market which shouldn’t be too different from the European when it comes to trends in a mature market.

Plastic alternatives providing better barriers, extended shelf life and increased strength, along with reduced material requirements and the addition of convenience features such as resealability and microwaveability, will fuel continued opportunities for plastic packaging.

This is expected to hit hard on demand for paper based packaging according to Packaging Digest. Advantages of light weight, moisture resistance, good barrier properties, clarity and puncture resistance will enable plastic to outpace paper packaging through 2014 in nearly all competitive markets.

It’s up to fibre based packaging of all kinds to rise and stand up to the challenge and add more value to meet competition.

Don’t trash this bag

On an afternoon stroll in London’s Camden Market I came across a colourful market stand promoting bags made of used packaging. I stopped by and got to speak to the man behind the idea of TrashyBags. TrashyBags is an initiative to do something of the situation in Ghana where the infrastructure to recycle used packaging is lacking. And they sure do, TrashyBags employs 60 people in Ghana who collect waste that can be used for making bags, backpacks and other useful things.

They collect and encourage the public to collect mainly plastic pouches and sachets that they wash and sterilise and turn into useful bags etc. Very creative and meaningful and does help the litter problem as well as it provides meaningful job opportunities.

BPA replacement

BisphenolA (BPA) is an industrial chemical used in a variety ofconsumer products including water bottles, the inside lining of cans, in some types of baby bottles, and even in some dental fillings. BPA is a main ingredient in plastics and resins and also something that worries many consumers.

Concerns about the use were regularly reported in the news media after several governments issued reports questioning its safety, and some retailers have removed products containing BPA from their shelves. A 2010 report from the FDA raised further concerns regarding exposure of foetuses, infants, and young children.

Now a corn-based BPA replacement, Isosorbide, has been made available by Archer Daniels. Even if corn is not the most optimal crop this is a first step towards a renewable, sustainable and a more neutral replacement for BPA.


Graham Packaging is to acquire Liquid Packaging. Seems to be a great fit and a bolt on for Graham. Liquid Container operates 14 blow-molded plastic container plants in the US, serving food and household product categories. In the same area Graham Packaging runs 56 plants. LC will bring in some technology know-how and some new customers, all good.

Consumer packaging is still a highly fragmented industry where the 10 largest producers only represent less than 15% of the market. This is in the process of change.

Rexam did what it had to do

Yesterday Rexam announced that sales the first 6 months this year has been up 2% and that operating profit is up by 25%, all organic and compared to the same period last year. With a new CEO you have to show the share holders, and any other bystanders, that the shift by the helm worked very well indeed.

And it did, cash is flowing and the so important segment beverage cans are also growing by 2%. Beverage cans are the backbone of Rexam with some 2/3 of the business. Speciality cans are said to be one of the drivers of the 2% recording. Generally cans are a growing packaging segment, growing in South America and East Europe, stable in North America and West Europe and a very uncertain matter in Russia. This is obviously a concern when you are leading the market in that particular place.

Nevertheless, speciality cans are back which is a good sign as such. It indicates that confidence in the market among customers is back to a degree.

A few plants have been sold and a few people have been made redundant and now Rexam is floating. The share price is still remarkably low but time will tell what is right there.

On the plastic side closures, in particular beverage closures, are dragging while personal care packaging is up.

So far so good for Rexam this year.