Sustainable packaging solutions for a reduced environmental impact

The demand for sustainable packaging solutions is rapidly increasing. Worldwide, producers of carton board and other paper packaging offer lighter packaging materials, which is in line with the trend towards lightweighting and downsizing. Reduced costs are realized through less material consumption, less weight in storage and transportation and less packaging waste, which reduce the impact on the environment and lower the carbon footprint. Furthermore, a reuse of packaging materials ensures a more efficient use of resources, thus reducing the associated CO2 emissions.

Eco-friendly packaging solutions

Lightweighting and downsizing
The concept of lightweighting and the trend towards downsizing are gaining momentum. The benefits are obvious: less material is needed, the production costs are low, and the environmental impact is reduced. These developments have been driven by a growing e-commerce industry, primarily due to the ease of online shopping that has made many customers switch from traditional shopping. According to a Technavio research study, global e-commerce experienced a growth of around 23% from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, around 4.2 billion consumers shopped online, which amounted to USD 1.5 trillion in revenue. The growing online shopping sector has witnessed an increase in the demand for corrugated boxes in particular. Technavio predicts the global corrugated box packaging market to grow at a CAGR of around 5% during the period 2016-2020. In line with this, manufacturers are targeting a steady reduction in board weights and are opting for materials with a lower environmental impact.

Eco-friendly packaging solutions

Henkel is supporting the paper converting industry by offering innovative solutions such as the adhesive aeration technology. It makes use of a state-of-the-art glue mixer to add controlled amounts of air to a lamination adhesive. The now foamier adhesive is then applied to the cardboard. The outcome is that less glue is needed for the same job, meaning a reduced cost-in-use. There is no splashing at high speeds, and less moisture is added to the cardboard, which means faster processing due to reduced drying time, and a product that is flatter and more easily stackable.

The reduced cost-in-use of an aerated adhesive has sustainability benefits as well. A life cycle analysis showed a 20 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of an aerated adhesive compared to a conventional one. This is the result of reduced CO2 output in the areas of raw materials, production, and distribution. Water consumption is also reduced by 30 percent on average. The technology produces a better result using fewer resources, which is in line with Henkel’s sustainability strategy to create more value while simultaneously reducing the environmental footprint.

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