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Flexible Packaging

Unilever Japan Adopts PET-Based Mono-Material Flexible Packaging

Toppan/Unilever Unilever limited-edition Lux monolayer sachets
Brand’s limited-edition Lux Luminique sachet set uses Toppan Printing’s vapor-deposited PET film and sealant.

With the problem of plastic waste receiving significant attention, demand for more eco-friendly packaging continues to increase, and companies around the world are taking various measures focused on targets for better circulation of plastic resources used for packaging and containers.

In one example, Toppan Printing has successfully collaborated with Unilever Japan on quality tests resulting in the adoption of mono-material flexible packaging for “Lux Luminique Sachet Set Limited Design,” which is due to go on sale in Japan starting in April.

Unilever has announced global commitments for a waste-free world, aiming to halve its use of virgin plastic; help collect and process more plastic than it sells; and ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable. Unilever is transforming its approach to plastic packing through its “Less plastic. Better plastic. No plastic.” framework and making progress around the world.

Toppan provides solutions to global companies addressing environmental issues such as global warming and plastic waste. “Sustainable-Value Packaging” was recently launched as part of the "Toppan S-Value Packaging” brand, which targets added value for society and fulfilling living. The Sustainable-Value Packaging range includes more readily recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) mono-material flexible packaging for individual packages. By fully leveraging vapor deposition and coating technologies accumulated over 30 years as a global leader in the manufacture of transparent barrier films, Toppan has now worked with Unilever Japan to achieve a switch to mono-material composition for individual packages for liquid toiletry products.

Conventional individual packages combine a PET substrate with materials such as aluminum and polyethylene. Toppan’s mono-material packaging uses a PET-based grade of GL Film a vapor-deposited transparent barrier film from the GL Barrier range and combines it with PET sealant. These films are used for wide range of items in the food, medical, pharmaceutical, and industrial materials sectors.

The manufacturing method and material composition ensure superior oxygen and water vapor barrier performance, provide low adsorption to prevent loss of aroma and quality, and make it possible to prevent reduction of product weight during storage over long periods. The use of a single material improves recyclability, and the absence of aluminum film enables a reduction of roughly 25% in CO2 emissions during packaging manufacture.

“We’re delighted that Unilever Japan has chosen Toppan’s mono-material flexible packaging for these new products,” said Yoshimitsu Anamizu, managing executive officer of Toppan’s Living & Industry Division. “We continue to work on developing more readily recyclable and eco-friendly solutions for diverse packaging [applications].”

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