Innovation Zone

ThePackHub Innovation Zone Snapshot

Welcome to this week’s Innovation Zone snapshot from ThePackHub.
ThePackHub collates more than 1,000 new packaging innovations a year for our Innovation Zone database. We now have 5,336 searchable initiatives listed. We have selected four new initiatives for you today.

More information on our Innovation Zone packaging database –

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#1 Reusable trial begins in German fast-food restaurants

Global fast-food heavyweights McDonald’s is trialling a reusable packaging system in some restaurants in large German cities, including Munich and Berlin. The trial involves participating consumers receiving their food in reusable packaging, which can either be taken out or used in the restaurant. The consumer pays a deposit on collection of the packaging, which is then reimbursed when the consumer returns the packaging back to the participating McDonalds. They plan to roll out the system into all of their German restaurants by the end of 2022, based on feedback on functionality from consumers and employees. This execution and process is different to another McDonald’s reusable cup initiative with Loop.


#2 Beauty brand switches to compostable paper tube deodorant

Deodorant packs come in many shapes, sizes and formats. The tube composition is traditionally packaged in multiple materials, including plastic, effectively making them impossible to recycle. More plastic-free and paper-based health and beauty innovations are coming to market, with brands striving to improve their sustainability. Hong Kong beauty brand Coconut Matter have launched a compostable paper tube for their deodorant. The deodorant is the company’s biggest product, so they wanted to lead the way with this sustainable initiative. The company have plans in the future as well, including water-free formulas, which will allow for less packaging to be used.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#3 Seaweed-coated foodservice packaging starts UK roll out

UK-based Tri-Star Packaging has introduced foodservice kraft boxes coated with Notpla, an innovative, sustainable material made from seaweed. Notpla decomposes in less than six weeks in a home composting environment and does not require any special conditions to degrade. The Notpla coating is made of a highly renewable resource, brown seaweed, which grows up to 1 metre per day. Seaweed doesn’t compete with food crops and doesn’t need fresh water or fertiliser. The kraft boxes are manufactured in the UK from sustainable sources which can include up to 25% grass. The method of production for the boxes also has a reported much reduced carbon footprint compared to standard board manufacturing, saving over 250kg of CO2, and 3,000 litres of water per tonne of carton board. The boxes are said to be suitable a range of foods from fast foods such as burgers and fries or dry curries, Notpla boxes are available in two sizes – 738ml (26oz) and 1307ml (46oz).

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 Hand soap refill kit is a category first

Personal care manufacturer Nivea has launched their EcoRefill hand Soap in the UK. In what is claimed as a category first, the EcoRefill comes as a kit, comprising of a refillable bottle made of 100% recycled and recyclable PET (polyethylene terephthalate), an easy-to-dispense pump, and one EcoRefill cleanser tablet. The  EcoRefill is said to last around 25% longer compared to standard Beiersdorf’s Nivea hand soap. It works in the following way: the consumer fills the PET bottle up to the mark on the bottle with lukewarm water, adds the refill tab, closes the bottle with the pump and shakes for 30 seconds. EcoRefill forms part of Nivea’s broader target to ensure all plastic packaging is refillable, reusable or recyclable by 2025 and has been designed to address the growing demand for more sustainable products and packaging. The starter kit retails for £5.

Latest ThePackHub Expert Interview

Marika Knorr of CCL Label discusses her company’s Ecofloat sleeve material can enable brands to meet their recycling targets.

Packaging question of the week

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Last week, 78% said they prefer to refill their products at home rather than on the go.

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