Innovation Zone

ThePackHub Innovation Zone Snapshot

Welcome to this week’s Innovation Zone snapshot from ThePackHub.
ThePackHub collates 20 new packaging innovations every week for our Innovation Zone database. We now have 5,224 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 Sustainable alternative to EPS created from residual corn semolina

German manufacturer Plant Pack GMBH have developed a more sustainable alternative to EPS (expanded polystyrene). Manufactured using corn semolina from its sister company Nordgetreide GmbH & Co. KG, it utilises residual material that is unsuitable for food production, which is then ‘puffed’ to create a sustainable material. This new material has similar shock-absorbing and heat-insulating properties as EPS, while, at the same time, having sustainability advantages. As it is made from 100% bio-based raw materials, after use it can be disposed of in organic waste, or composted domestically. It is also more sustainable in its life cycle, with 51% fewer CO2 emissions over its life compared to EPS. In order to make the product moisture repellent, a thin layer of PLA (polylactic acid) is added. It is anticipated that it could replace conventional EPS uses providing insulation for temperature-sensitive food products as well as non-packaging applications such as for protecting electrical products.


#2 Reusable plastic cups introduced for coffee beans

US coffee company Bequest Coffee Roasters are introducing a return initiative for coffee beans. Consumers can buy coffee beans that come in plastic jars and return them when finished. The return will require a $2.50 deposit for a shipping label and instructions, which will then be turned into credit for the next purchase. It theoretically should work as a cost-saving for the producer with no negative effect on the consumer, due to the lack of having to buy so many plastic jars. It is not clear as to the recyclability of the plastic jars, but it is assumed they can be recycled at the end of their useful life.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#3 Tube stopper is easier to open and uses fewer materials

French medical packaging company Airnov, specialists in controlled atmosphere packaging, has announced the launch of a new desiccant stopper for cylindrical tubes designed to hold tablets or other types of medication. A criticism of current openings for tubes was cited to be the difficulty in opening them, which was prioritised by Airnov in the development of their new 27mm stopper. The Choisy-le-Roi-based business also states that the new stopper uses fewer raw materials, making it a lightweight and therefore more sustainable alternative. Airnov also claim that the new stoppers do not compromise its most important function, that of protecting moisture-sensitive nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and probiotic products. The new stopper will be available in a variety of formats and colours to meet a customers’ individual requirements.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 Coffee creamer brand switches to recycled PET from glass

FrieslandCampina, Dutch owners of the Friesche Vlag brand of coffee creamers, have announced that they are moving all of their products currently in glass to recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. The change to a more sustainable recycled PET bottle is driven by data that confirms that the CO2 footprint of plastic bottles is much less than that of single-use glass. The business also claims that the milk pours better from the new PET bottles, and they are also unbreakable. A ‘zipper’ for the outer sleeve of the bottle helps with its removal, which is not in itself recyclable at the present time, but does allow for the bottle to be recyclable. The new PET bottles will be available in three sizes, 140ml, 300ml and 500ml. Initially, the bottles will contain 89% recycled content, but it is hoped to be able to move to 100% recycled bottles once technology allows.

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

Does e-commerce packaging lag behind ‘bricks and mortar’ stores in terms of sustainability? Vote and comment now.

Last week, 82% would you try in-store reusable packaging if available to them.

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