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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Turning over a new leaf

Paolo Grasso reveals how brands can stand out on the shelf and stand up for sustainability

The need to outshine your competition on the store shelf is at the top of every brand’s list of priorities. However, we also know, and fully appreciate, the importance of sustainable production, end products and packaging. Consumers themselves are putting more pressure on brands to be sustainable, but they still have certain buying habits that brands have to consider if they want to remain successful. It’s a tricky balancing act. Focusing on one key element of this conundrum – packaging embellishments – the question is how do brands make sustainable improvements without adding cost to the production process and still achieving the same end results?

Eye-catching metallic decoration is synonymous with a luxury product. But surely this is far from sustainable? Yes, using traditional hot and cold foil methods to create a metallic effect generates thousands of tons of foil and plastic waste that is landfilled or incinerated each year. ECOLEAF, however, is different. By making the switch from hot or cold foil to this breakthrough metallisation technology, brands can eliminate the enormous amounts of foil and plastic waste associated with the traditional processes, as well as improve the recyclability of the finished packaging.

The experts behind ECOLEAF have made some initial calculations as to the impact this would have on CO2 emissions. Their research suggests that ECOLEAF realises a CO2 footprint reduction of greater than 50 percent compared to cold and hot foil. 1kg of ECOLEAF flakes effectively replaces 3000kg of foil, which in turn eliminates 20 tonnes of CO2e: the equivalent of planting around 833 trees.

The reason this process reduces waste so significantly is because the metal pigments are applied only to where they are needed. With traditional processes, the entire surface of container or label is covered in foil, most of which will then be removed to leave just the small metallic detail the design requires. The discarded metal foil, often representing a shocking 90 percent of the roll, is waste.

So, ECOLEAF is a more sustainable choice, that’s evident, but does it answer the second part of our question? Absolutely. This technology delivers the high-quality metallic shine brands look to achieve with traditional solutions. ECOLEAF’s high resolution, metallic effect is even achievable on designs with the finest detail. It is also capable of creating tactile effects without embossing and back side printing on transparent substrates without adding any additional costs to the process. Furthermore, ECOLEAF offers exceptional high-speed stability, ensuring that it is a robust and ready technology for brands looking to enhance performance throughout their production cycles. Brands can include stunning metallic decoration on packaging for cosmetics, hair care, skin care, or beauty products, to name but a few, confident in the knowledge that they are not impacting the quality, sustainability, or the cost of their production processes.

Now knowing all of this, I urge you to please, look at your products’ packaging supply chains and ask yourself if this is an area that could easily be improved? Only brands have the power to reevaluate and change the specifications given to designers and packaging printers to ensure that any progress towards a more sustainable way of working is made possible. Perhaps, when it comes to your packaging’s beautiful metallic decoration, you agree that it is time to turn over a new leaf?


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