Plastic isn’t really green in my mind, but there are some arguments for its carbon footprint that you’re about to read. I just noticed (rather late) that Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics has collaborated with Berry Global (a plastics convertor) and Ampacet (a chemical color concentrates and additive masterbatches manufacturer) to produce the industry’s first printed collation shrink packaging in the United States for 24-can variety cases. The partnership worked with Oskar Blues Brewery to pilot the program last year. From the press release:
“Moving to collated shrink packaging for our 24-can variety packs results in business growth, sustainability benefits and strong shelf appeal,” said Jeremy Rudolf, operations manager, CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective [that’s the umbrella company Oskar Blues is under]. “Our primary focus is the quality of the beer we brew, but we also continuously evaluate options to evolve in other areas, and enhance our sustainability profiles with innovations like this new packaging solution.”
What’s the argument here?
Well, the shrink solution serves as secondary packaging that wraps corrugated trays, replacing previous shrink-wrapping that held two 12-pack cartons together. What’s cool here is the collated shrink packaging still features Oskar Blues’ branding and design, retaining that all-important shelf appeal for beer buyers. According to Dow, Oskar Blues new packaging format has generated:
- 40 percent cost savings
- 64 percent reduction in secondary packaging materials usage
- 73 percent fewer trucks delivering packaging materials to Oskar Blues
Overall, Oskar Blues expects to see 46 percent energy savings and 51 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on an environmental impact assessment by Allied Development. Also, after the initial equipment investment, film now costs less per unit packaged than traditional materials, reducing warehouse storage space and the need for raw materials. That all sounds cool.
“The ability to print on collation shrink film is essential for applications where branding is so important,” said Markay Doane, product line director, Berry Global Inc. “More and more companies see its potential, given the opportunity to achieve cost and sustainability goals while still capturing consumer attention with strong branding and shelf appeal.”