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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Focus on the circular economy

Sealpac UK and Partners is a leading supplier of bespoke, full line solutions from packaging to end of line automated inspection and QA

2020 is a frustrating place to be. Supermarkets are racing to find solutions to meet consumer demands. Based on the debate at the World Economic Forum 2020, the next 10 years will be dominated by climate change and will focus on the topic of the ‘Sustainable Consumer’. But, the recent article by the BBC, “Plastic packaging ban ‘could harm environment’”, highlights that a complete ban on plastics for paper bags or glass isn’t a complete solution.
Over the past four years, Sealpac UK & Partners have tried and tested solutions to reduce packaging. We have devised a strategy for customers to future-proof their operations, with particular emphasis on providing equipment that offers flexibility in packaging solutions. The company is also focussed on being carbon neutral and the three core principles of the circular economy: reduction, reuse and recycling.
“The biggest change in the last 10 years is the roughly 60 -70 per cent reduction in the thickness and volume of materials,” said Managing Director Kevin Witheford.
He added: “The quality of trays has exponentially improved – and this means an increased need for accurate and high-quality tray sealing equipment. With a Sealpac machine, we’ve already been supporting the circular economy for the last four years and we are able to keep up with emerging packaging solutions.”
Existing Sealpac customers already possess the capability for four different plastic-reducing and recyclable solutions within one machine.

Easylid ® – specific for delicate food and provides savings across the entire chain

75 per cent reduced plastic by using Flatskin ®,vs. alternative leading packaging solution

100 per cent recyclable – Monoplastic trays can be placed in every day household recycling

75 per cent reduction over plastic and 100 per cent recyclable – foil can also be used on a Sealpac machine.

The solution? Invest in flexible equipment to future-proof operations
R&D efforts are focusing on developing sustainable alternatives. For example, bio-plastics or plant-based plastics. But, as shown by National Geographic – bioplastics don’t necessarily have a better carbon footprint. It means whatever equipment you buy today will need to work with future packaging solutions. We’ve only ever carried equipment that was high-quality, flexible and future-proof. And to keep ensuring our customers are ready, we’ve partnered with equipment manufacturers to deliver the full production line – from packaging and weighing to end-of-line automation inspection and QA. We are exclusive UK distributors of Sealpac (Traysealers and thermorformers), Cabinplant (weighing and packaging), RaytecVision (optical sorters) and Pulsotronic (end of line quality control) to provide full line, flexible capability. “Our key focus is to create bespoke, flexible, full line packaging solutions to reduce carbon footprint whilst also being flexible enough to handle future packaging innovations,” said Witheford.

Sealpac don’t compromise on operational efficiency either. According to 2019 customer data:
Our customers report Sealpac machines still function at optimal levels 15 years later.
60 per cent less engineer call outs due to preventative maintenance.
23 per cent savings on labour costs.
20 per cent less spent on spares.
Continuing Professional Development training to upskill staff.
Provision of after-sales service contracts to minimise downtime.

One existing customer of 10 years commented: “Since mid-2016, we have implemented the SEALPAC UK preventative service package. A recent internal review has highlighted that the service costs have nearly been neutralised by the drop-in breakdown repair/parts costs. The impact on the business is that downtime on the machines has become minimal to insignificant.”

2020: Consumers use their purchasing power
Supermarket brand loyalty is at an all-time low. The average consumer shops at four different supermarkets per month. Millennials will use their purchasing power to find products and solutions that are sustainable and are not happy with promises of “in 5 or 10 years”. They want solutions NOW. They’re well educated and know supermarkets are competing for their loyalty. The first supermarket that commits to carbon neutral practices will win back customers.


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