Packaging Industry Goes Green

As more and more companies announce measures to reduce packaging waste, new recyclable materials are chosen, such as paper and new recyclable types of plastic are introduced. In addition, innovative collecting schemes are among solutions developed to mitigate the global packaging waste problem.

For example, the leader in plastic Milliken has announced the introduction of its most sustainable products yet, it says, the Millad®  NX®  8000 ECO on the European market.

The latest addition to the market-leading Millad NX 8000 product range, the ECO clarifying additive not only produces the fully transparent material known as NX UltraClear™ PP, which yields durable end products with glass-like clarity but addresses the growing trend for greater sustainability.

Designed to offer the same advantages as the products in its range, the Millad NX 8000 ECO offers faster production rates, average energy savings of 10% for the production of clarified polypropylene (PP) parts certified by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label. It features tunable clarity to meet specific market needs and has a low risk of defects such as white specs, streaks, and voids.

Recently, the Millad NX 8000 product range became the only PP clarifying agent to receive Critical Guidance Recognition from the US Association of Plastic Recyclers, validating that the additive is compatible with plastic packaging recycling.

In addition to these-benefits, Millad NX 8000 ECO provides several new and unique advantages. The company explains that it addresses concerns related to migration, especially in food contact applications by reducing Specific Migration Limits, or SMLs, without adding any new ingredients to the formulation.

In April, Milliken will begin building the largest clarifier plant in its history in Blacksburg, South Carolina, USA. The world-class plant is due to begin operations in 2020 and will boost the capacity of Milliken’s Millad®  NX™ 8000 clarifier by approximately 50%. The expansion is needed to meet fast-growing global demand for this polypropylene additive that is helping users to realize significant sustainability and performance advantages.

“Brand owners and packaging producers are clearly seeing how Millad NX 8000 can contribute to improved environmental and manufacturing results. It is one of the most successful products in the history of plastic additives, and arguably the most important in the past 30 years,” according to Allen Jacoby, vice president for Milliken’s Plastic Additives business.

Significant Environmental Advantages

Millad NX 8000 offers many sustainability and performance advantages over previous polypropylene clarifier generations for plastic molders and brand owners who use it. Zach Adams, global product line manager for Milliken’s Plastic Additives business, explains that Millad NX 8000 has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for plastic manufacturers. “Our propriety technology improves the aesthetics and processability of polypropylene, a plastic which is lightweight, has a low carbon footprint and almost always performs better than less sustainable plastics in a life cycle analysis,” Adams explains.

UL has validated that the processing of resin containing Millad NX 8000 requires lower energy consumption than other polypropylene that uses third-generation clarifiers, allowing the UL eco-label to be used on those products. Lower processing temperatures are benefiting users with energy savings.

The Alternative: Paper

On the other hand, PEFC and AB Group Packaging are working to promote sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging. European Paper Bag Day is an annual day of action that aims to raise consumer awareness about paper carrier bags as sustainable and efficient packaging helping fight climate change and environmental pollution. Sustainable, forest-based packaging such as paper bags reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions and make a significant contribution to the circular economy.

As the worldwide discussion on mitigating climate change grows in urgency, this year’s COP25 event that will be held in Santiago, Chile from December 2-13, will be seeking to encourage permanent action and transformation towards truly sustainable development. The conference theme – Time for Action – will focus on a number of initiatives, three of which directly relate to PEFC’s sustainable forest management program: Forests, Biodiversity and the Circular Economy. Alun Watkins, executive director of PEFC UK said: ”We are delighted that our colleagues in Chile will be able to supply visitors to their stand at this internationally-important conference with a paper bag which has been sustainably-produced, is strong enough to be reused and at the end of life, can be readily recycled.”

PEFC works to protect the world’s forests by promoting sustainable forest management through certification – encouraging responsible stewardship and use of forests and forest lands to maintain biodiversity, forest eco-systems, regeneration, and vitality. Currently, 311 million hectares of forests and 750,000 forest owners are certified globally.

AB Group Packaging has been manufacturing low carbon, sustainable paper bags in the UK, Ireland, and Europe for over 30 years and is a strong advocate of PEFC’s work and a regular supporter of their events. To mark European Paper Bag Day, the company has supplied a stock of PEFC-certified and branded paper bags to distribute at Certfor’s (the Chilean member of PEFC’s global alliance) stand at COP25 in Chile to help promote the impactful, practical work that the independent certification alliance undertakes to help alleviate climate change by promoting responsible forest management.

With a long record of environmental credentials, AB Group Packaging manufactures sustainable recycled and full-circle products, including the world’s first PEFC-certified fully recyclable, biodegradable, 100% sustainable Reusable Paper Bag. Tested to carry the heaviest items up to 26kg, this water- and tear-resistant super-sturdy bag is fast becoming the most consumer appealing bag of choice to replace thick plastic bags. AB Group Packaging CEO, Dermot Brady said: “We were delighted to make this donation of sustainable paper bags to assist PEFC to promote responsible forest management around the globe. Our alliance with PEFC plays a vital role in ensuring that the world’s forestry resources continue to fulfill their critical part in mitigating climate change.”

Another approach for the future of packaging materials is available to read in our magazine World Bakers Digital, which is available online free of charge: consultancy company Frost & Sullivan has shared a glimpse into what the future holds for packaging materials. Read more:

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