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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Food for thought

What does ‘packaging with integrity’ mean in food packaging, asks Vincent Gass?

With a strong market position comes a lot of responsibility. At Klöckner Pentaplast (kp), we aim to make a positive global impact in every way that we can, and that forms the basis of our ‘packaging with integrity’ ethos. But what does that mean for us, and how does it shine a light on the future of the food industry?

Our mission is to create food packaging innovation that everyone, from food brands and their packers to the consumer, can feel good about. In today’s market, we’re judged by what we do, not what we say, and ‘packaging with integrity’ is about combining material innovation with initiatives that make a difference.

Showing this principle in practice, we can highlight three examples that centre around use of recyclate, enhancing recyclability, and creating robust yet lightweight packaging structures.

In 2022, we achieved a significant milestone by incorporating 21.3 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) material in our manufactured food packaging, equivalent to over 114,000 tonnes. The kp Tray2Tray® initiative is shaking up the plastic food tray market. Around half of PET used in Europe is recycled, with the majority coming from plastic bottles. Of this, 30 percent, or around 500,000 tonnes, goes into food packaging trays. Very little PET material is recovered from food trays, which means half a million tonnes of tray PET is wasted every year. We want to change that.

The goal of kp Tray2Tray® is to increase the volume of plastic tray flakes in a closed-loop system, creating more feedstock for our industry. In 2022, 9.1 percent of our recycled material originated from this initiative, recycling 725 million trays. The scheme is already making a sizeable difference, and by 2025, we aim for 30 percent of post-consumer recycled material in our packaging to come from the kp Tray2Tray® programme.

Recyclability is at the core of our product design, with 63 percent of our overall product portfolio having a fully recyclable option. For those products that are not yet recyclable, we are pushing to include more recycled material in their construction.

In another example, we have developed kp Infinity®, a food-to-go packaging range built on an EPP (Extruded Polypropylene) structure. Designed to help businesses navigate the ban on non-recyclable EPS single use foodservice packaging, kp Infinity® has eye-catching ‘recycle me’ messaging on pack and is fully recyclable in the existing PP recovery infrastructure, proving that performance and sustainability are not mutually exclusive.

Designed to elevate the barrier flow wrap film category in new sustainability-focused ways, kp FlexiFlow® EH 145 R exemplifies our dedication to reducing environmental impact without compromising product protection and integrity. In addition to being certified recyclable, one of the key standout features of kp FlexiFlow® EH 145 R is its weight, being up to 75 percent lighter than rigid plastic packaging solutions.

Core to our range of thermoformed trays and rigid films for form, fill and seal packaging applications, as well as flexible barrier films and stretch films, sustainability is not just a goal for us; it’s ingrained in our DNA. ‘Packaging with integrity’ is the vehicle through which we demonstrate it.

At kp, we’ve been ahead of the curve on packaging sustainability for a long time, and we look forward to helping steer the wider food industry towards a more robust future.

To learn more about kp packaging solutions, please visit www.kpfilms.com

Vincent Gass, is VP Marketing and Product Line at Klöckner Pentaplast

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