Recycling

Applying 2020 Pandemic Learnings to Polystyrene

Elnur/Adobe Stock Circular Economy Design Adobe Stock 228766313

As we approach the new year and usher in 2021, all members of our global society are looking forward to leaving this pandemic’s devastating impact and the year behind us. As promising vaccine studies emerge, we’re drawn closer to the proverbial “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” of 2020.  

Yet there are aspects of pandemic life that might remain with us for the long term. For instance, the increased time many of us spent at home with our families, may leave us with a renewed appreciation for quieter evenings, relaxing with loved ones as opposed to previous years spent with a constantly “on-the-move” lifestyle.

We can also expect to see a persistent appreciation for safety and hygiene, in terms of both personal-use, and in how the products we purchase reach us. For example, plastics, once abhorred, are now essential: on one hand providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line workers as well as keeping curbside pickup orders safe and warm.

The heightened demand for plastic materials, accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, has collided with the continually increased focus on plastic circular solutions from the pre-COVID pandemic early days of 2020. While public awareness of the limitations and, sometimes, failures of current systems and policies for proper management of plastic waste were at all-time highs, COVID-affected industries such as healthcare, hospitality, foodservice and retail, all highlighted the role that plastics play in the health and safety of our global society. We are more than nine months into fighting this pandemic, and plastics’ functionality continues to enable the functionality of daily life. This is especially evident as coronavirus cases continue to surge and states across the nation consider rollbacks on reopening businesses during the winter months. Nevertheless, throughout 2020, plastics companies have continued pushing forward with projects to enable a more sustainable lifecycle for their products. All the while, remaining steady and committed to the development and execution of solutions as they were before this pandemic arrived.

Polystyrene as an example.

Polystyrene has previously been considered challenging to recycle. Yet PS has been essential in the production and supply of face shields and other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Additionally, it has allowed us to maintain social distance while supporting local businesses that leverage PS’s superior insulating properties for take-out and delivery packaging.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, the commercialization of technologies such as advanced recycling has continued to progress rapidly in the polystyrene industry this year. INEOS Styrolution, a global supplier of styrenic plastics, is building an advanced recycling facility in Channahon, IL that will convert PS waste back into styrene monomer – the same raw material used to create traditional polystyrene. This technology’s ability to so thoroughly recover PS’s raw material will allow for recycled product to be safely used even within food and medical applications –the exact applications that have been so critical to maintaining our daily lives throughout 2020.

As we move into 2021 and hopefully, beginning to transition out of pandemic life, circumstances present a unique opportunity for combining commercial-ready circular technologies with the essential value of plastic products. With a renewed respect for the value of these extraordinary materials, coupled with the continued progression of advanced recycling technologies, we should resolve to build a recycling infrastructure that enables us to both utilize all materials essential to our way of life, and  the recovery and repurpose of those materials into new, valuable applications again and again.

As we emerge from this pandemic-driven darkness of 2020, we should remember the lessons learned. For it is by recalling our learnings and implementing the solutions that we build a post-pandemic era in 2021 that’s both stronger and more sustainable than before.

Cassie Bradley is INEOS Styrolution’s Sustainability and Circular Economy Commercial Manager, leading these initiatives for the company across North American. She works with leaders in the emerging polystyrene recycling industry to create valuable partnerships and grow the Polystyrene Circular Economy to meet INEOS Styrolution’s scale as a global leader in styrenics. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Robotics

Cobots Adeptly Handle Fixed or Mobile Packaging Production

This overview on cobots and mobile robots from Omron shows a variety of applications. Packaging-related ones highlighted include picking and placing rigid containers on a filling line and palletizing. Fixed or mounted on a mobile workstation, cobots can work side-by-side with human workers and without fencing. The same unit can be equipped with grippers from various suppliers to fit multiple applications.

Packaging Design

All-Stars of 2020: The Top 10 Packaging Articles

Reflecting on the Packaging Digest articles that received the most views in the past year, it’s no surprise that readers were interested in how the pandemic affected — and will continue to affect — the packaging industry.

But 2020’s Top 10 list reveals that readers were also drawn to articles about luxury packaging, paper bottles, and clever packaging designs by students. Readers were curious about trends in food and beverage packaging, sustainability, package design, and branding, as well.

Let’s take a look! We start at the top with our #1 article of the year (our review lists typically count down to the top article; this one doesn’t).

Healthcare Packaging

2020 Healthcare Packaging Stories that Warmed Your Heart

Photo credit: Artur – adobe.stock.com Pandemic-working-AdobeStock_386082542-ftd.jpeg

Hygienic easy-open single-use packaging, a curb-side recyclable pharmaceutical shipper, a report card on senior usefulness (and other failures), and supply chain challenges caught your attention this year.

Based on page views throughout 2020, Packaging Digest presents its end-of-year list, in reverse order, of 13 top articles about pharmaceutical and medical packaging.

 

Photo credit: Photographee.eu – stock.adobe.comSeniors-and-pharmaceuticals-AdobeStock_209023802-featured.jpeg

13. Pharmaceutical Packaging Scores Badly for Senior Usefulness

Do you agree with the grades packaging gets for not meeting the needs of senior citizens?

 

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12. COVID-19 Could Change Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Forever

With a vast number of direct-to-user/patient shipments happening today in healthcare, especially as the nation battles the contagious coronavirus by complying with stay-at-home edicts, we are seeing unprecedented activity in last-mile deliveries. What challenges do pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies need to solve? How will this experience affect the future of pharmaceutical logistics?

 

Photo credit: Fotos 593 – adobe.stock.comMan-with-insomnia-AdobeStock_158326569-featured.jpeg

11. Man Loses Sleep Over Failed Packaging Design

A graphic designer can use a variety of design tools to differentiate products in a line. An easy one is simply changing colors. That’s why this #PackagingFail never should have happened.

 

Photo supplied by Euclid Medical ProductsEuclid-pharmacist-with-Axial-machine-featured.jpg

Eric Schoffner, owner and manager of iCareRX Pharmacies, uses the Axial machine from Euclid Medical Products to pack pouches of pills for his customers.

10. 4 Benefits of Packaging Automation for Pharmacies Amid COVID-19

Automated packaging machines that produce unit-dose or multi-dose pharmaceutical packs enable touch-free service, social distancing capabilities, efficiency, and improved patient adherence — key advantages, especially during a pandemic.

 

Photo credit: Dmitry – adobe-stock.comSterile-dental-instruments-AdobeStock_224823878-ftd.jpeg

9. Building a Better Supply Chain Through Unique Device Identification

Class I medical device companies have work to do, despite the UDI enforcement delay.

 

Photo credit: Pongvit – adobe.stock.comPharma-packaging-line-AdobeStock_271269455-web.jpeg

Puerto Rico can increase pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging production quite easily.

8. Here’s How America Can Bring Back Pharmaceutical Packaging

Before the offshoring of the last two decades, pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging was vibrant in Puerto Rico. Guess what? The infrastructure and skilled workers stand ready for an easy reboot.

 

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From left: Jeremy Elwell, senior principal engineer for Oliver Healthcare Packaging; and Brian McEvoy B.Sc. MBA, senior director for global technologies for STERIS Applied Sterilization Technologies

7. Balancing Sterile Barrier Packaging and Sterilization Requirements

The use of terminal sterilization for medical devices links packaging and sterilization decisions. Two experts tackle industry questions from a recent webinar.

 

Photo supplied by TemperPackClimaCell_newBranding_topView_ftd.jpg

Customizable ClimaCell box liners ship and store flat, saving on freight costs and warehouse space, yet can easily be assembled to create an insulated shipper.

6. Bio-Lab Boosts Sustainability with Curbside-Recyclable Shipper

New England Biolabs’ new ClimaCell cold-chain shipper maintains a strict temperature-controlled environment to protect the company’s sensitive biological materials, which are sent to life-science researchers across the country.

 

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5. Medical Device Packaging Expert Talks Trends, Technical Developments

Amy Stewart, chairperson of the IoPP Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee, talks about sterilization trends and new industry innovation groups, as well as regulatory changes making a global impact and the concern of healthcare waste.

 

Photo credit: BillionPhotos.com – adobe.stock.comPharmaceutical-blisters-AdobeStock_329546122-ftd.jpeg

4. New Pharmaceutical Packaging Test Method Earns USP Approval

Now accepted by the United States Pharmacopeia, a new test method measures water-vapor transmission rate in pharmaceutical blisters with more consistent results than the current desiccant method.

 

With self-medication continuing to advance, patients and caregivers appreciate packages like autoinjectors that simplify the administration process. Photo credit: Sherry Young – stock.adobe.com

3. 5 Pharma Trends and Their Impact on Packaging

The pharmaceutical industry is changing at an unprecedented pace. New biological treatments for cancer, and a dramatic rise of widespread diseases such as diabetes, call for new processing and packaging solutions to fulfill the different needs all over the world. Keep your eye on these five main packaging trends for 2020 for the global pharmaceutical market.

 

Photo supplied by SnapsilSnapsil-Medical-3-featured.jpg

Sealed medical packages maintain their integrity until opened, protecting devices such as pre-filled syringes.

2. Easy-Open Pack Addresses Single-Use Needs of Medical Products

Snapsil’s newer focus on the healthcare market leverages the pack’s hygienic and easy-open features for powders, liquids, solid dose tablets, and medical devices.

 

Versus larger bottles, unit doses of sanitizer packets were chosen to increase the number of users and safety. HR Pharmaceuticals plans to make four to six million packets weekly.

1. Fast and Furious: Pharmaceutical Company Makes and Packs Hand Sanitizer in Record Time

First-time sanitizer maker HR Pharmaceuticals gets a major assist from C-P Flexible Packaging in 10-day start-to-finish project in the fight against COVID-19.

2020: Sustainable Packaging Eclipsed COVID-19 Concerns

Photo credit: Showcaze – adobe.stock.com Green-2020-AdobeStock_292761222-ftd.jpeg

Except when COVID-19 worries consumed us all for a couple months in the spring of 2020, sustainability has remained the key focus throughout the year for packaging executives and, hence, for their developers, engineers, designers, supply chain professionals, and just about any department or company connected to consumer packaged goods companies or healthcare manufacturers. Oh, consumers, too!

Based on page views, here are the 10 top sustainable packaging articles of this pandemic year:

 

After 18 months’ R&D, Bear Naked’s pouches for 13 products are now store drop-off recyclable.

10. Kellogg’s Bear Naked Cereal Pouches Embrace Recyclability

Lead engineer Shannon Moore shares an insider’s view of the development including the considerations, what was learned, advice and more.

 

Berry GlobalBerry Versalite Cups countertop examples

9. Berry Global Transforms Packaging Sustainably

The plastic packaging provider discloses sustainable innovations in designs and polymers for beverage cups, caps, and closures.

 

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Packaging for liquid refills should take the user's experience into account, as well as sustainability.

8. Leveraging Psychology to Design Refill Packages That Inspire Loyalty

Consumer perceptions of sustainability are impacted by more than what packaging material a product uses. How can your brand’s packaging truly live a “useful” life and gain their approval?

 

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7. A Beverage First: Wellness Shots Bottled in Biodegradable PET

So Good So You brand introduces biodegradable plastic bottles made of PET that the brand claims are also recyclable.

 

FrugalpacFrugalpac Paper Bottles Group

Is the move to paper packaging sustainable for beverage bottles?

6. Are Paper Bottles Sustainable and Practical?

Major brand owners like Absolut, Diageo, Carlsberg, and PepsiCo are developing paper bottles, but what does a market analyst say about this paper chase?

 

5. The Sustainable Packaging Landscape: A Decade in Review

Taking a look at an incredibly eventful decade on so many levels, thought-leader Nina Goodrich breaks down the sustainability advancements and challenges packaging professionals have experienced in the last decade, year by year.

 

P&G Beauty's new all-paper deodorant tube was designed "to appeal to women and men looking for more sustainable package options in the beauty and personal care space, especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers."

4. P&G Launches All-Paper Deodorant Packaging

Launched on May 1 in 500 Walmart stores across the US, Procter & Gamble Beauty’s limited-edition all-paper tube for Secret and Old Spice deodorant displaces some plastic stick deodorant canisters, helping the company and brands reach their goal of, by 2030, using 100% recyclable or reusable packaging while cutting virgin petroleum-based plastic by 50%.

 

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New technologies and simple solutions in sustainability can have significant impact, as this year's winners show.

3. 3 Sustainability Standouts Win Innovation Awards

This year’s SPC Innovator Award winners lead the pack in sustainability, with inventive approaches to packaging sourcing, design, and recovery.

 

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2. Absolut is Perfecting Paper Bottles for Spirits

Niclas Appelquist, director of future packaging for The Absolut Co., shares exclusive details on the development, the barrier, recycling, and more ahead of the next stage — consumer testing.

 

Brands incorporate recycled content into their new packaging to create viable end markets for the collected material and meet their sustainability goals. Photo credit: Copal on Unsplash

1. 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020

For sustainable packaging, 2020 was set to be a year of action and reaction, building on the fast-growing trends from the last two years. Here were a handful of critical sustainable packaging trends expected in 2020.

12 Super Solutions for Packaging Automation in a Pandemic Year

Photo credit: phonlamaiphoto – adobe.stock.com Robot-superhero-AdobeStock_394303084-ftd.jpeg

If designers are the fuel for packaging innovation, packaging production engineers are the engines that make it run — and as efficiently as possible. This may have been an atypical year in a lot of ways, but the country and the world absolutely counted on manufacturing to produce, package, and move essential goods.

Packaging Digest added its support, in the form of compelling content designed to share tips and encourage invention. Here are the top 12 articles about packaging machinery and automation you found most useful in 2020, based on website metrics:

 

Photo credit: Lucky_Dragon_USA – stock.adobe.comStopwatch-Lucky_Dragon_USA-AdobeStock_26023176-featured.jpeg

12. The Case of the Missing Moments

How can two extra seconds make a difference on a packaging line? Do the math. You might be able to produce another million packages per year.

 

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11. Cobots vs. COVID-19 — Designed and Deployed a Solution in 2 Weeks

Many essential businesses needed to ramp up production quickly while keeping workers safe.

 

Photo supplied by Euclid Medical ProductsEuclid-pharmacist-with-Axial-machine-featured.jpg

Eric Schoffner, owner and manager of iCareRX Pharmacies, uses the Axial machine from Euclid Medical Products to pack pouches of pills for his customers.

10. 4 Benefits of Packaging Automation for Pharmacies Amid COVID-19

Automated packaging machines that produce unit-dose or multi-dose pharmaceutical packs enable touch-free service, social distancing capabilities, efficiency, and improved patient adherence — key advantages, especially during a pandemic.

 

Photo supplied by RexrothRexroth-Factory-of-the-Future-featured.jpg

Rexroth's Factory of the Future vision includes a suite of smart, connected products that give insight into a packaging line's productivity.

9. Will You Soon Download Packaging Machine Controls from the Internet?

Rexroth’s new ctrlX automation platform leans into the Internet of Things age with software-smart controls and potential future “app store” offerings.

 

Photo credit: Dmitry – stock.adobe.com

8. How Packaging Operations Can Use 6s in This Time of COVID-19

Essential packaging plants need to keep in running. But how can you ensure employee safety in this time of COVID-19? An organizational system like “5S” is more important than ever. Implementing 5S can help prevent transmission of the disease between workers. In some instances, it might prevent transmission to a customer via contaminated product.

 

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Check out the new products in flexible packaging that you can see at the 2020 Pack Expo Connects event.

7. Flexible Packaging Innovations Involve Materials and Machines

The latest flexible packaging materials and machines were showcased during Pack Expo Connects 2020.

 

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6. Safe, No-Contact Robot Easily Handles Order Fulfillment

More end users are exploring and setting up automated direct-to-consumer ecommerce operations.

 

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This continuous-motion VR-72 labeler is named for its 72 Vertical Rollers, which help ensure precise label application.

5. New Labeler Anticipates Mega-Production of COVID-19 Vaccine

Once vaccines for the COVID-19 virus are approved, the race to market will be hectic. Pharmaceutical companies need to prepare in advance for the upcoming automation requirements of manufacturing and packaging.

 

Photo supplied by FrainFrain-plant-featured.jpg

Frain’s manufacturing floor hosts 9,000 machines under two million square feet, including new and used processing and packaging equipment.

4. Equipment Rentals are Red Hot — Here’s Why

Packaging equipment business expert reveals why rentals have steadily risen against a backdrop of new product launch pressures and COVID-19.

 

Photo supplied by Pearson Packaging SystemsMaaS-Pearson-featured-web.jpg

Pearson Packaging Systems sells automated case erectors, sealers, cartoners, and robotic palletizers. This photo, like MaaS, shows that the focus is on outcome, not just the asset.

3. Tell your CFO: Packaging Machinery-as-a-Service Beats the Capex Budget Blues

With Machinery-as-a-Service (MaaS), suppliers and brand owners share a financial stake in uptime and profits. It also makes packaging automation immediately scalable for fast-moving consumer goods and healthcare products.

 

Photo credit: Kadmy – adobe.stock.comPharma Packaging Line AdobeStock_94397352-featured.jpeg

2. Shopping for Packaging Machinery Soars

As the reshoring trend continues — and even accelerates due to COVID-19 supply chain challenges — product manufacturers actively seek packaging machinery solutions. INFOGRAPHIC.

 

SazeracSazerac Bottle Cork Xray Combo

Sazerac's offline system provides unprecedented QA inspection capability.

1. Spirits Leader Sazerac Revolutionizes Packaging Inspection

The Sazerac Company’s CT scanning inspection that assesses glass bottles and other packaging components in minutes versus weeks is available to other companies.

Did You Sail Through These Top Packaging Trends from 2020?

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Success depends on moving in the right direction. Throughout the year, Packaging Digest watches for emerging trends as well as for shifts in existing fads to help you navigate the ever-changing tides of the packaging industry.

We present to you posts about packaging trends that generated the most page views in 2020:

 

Shorr PackagingShorr Food Pkg Survey Lead feature image

13. Survey Reveals Consumers’ Attitudes About Food Packaging

Some 1,100 consumers were asked about their packaged food buying habits related to labels, COVID-19, sustainability, and other key issues.

 

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The new Colordyne 2800 Series AP – Retrofit adds full-color digital printing capabilities to existing equipment, using aqueous pigment inkjet technology that enhances water fastness, light fastness, and rub resistance.

12. New Digital Printing Technologies Boost Packaging Benefits

Next-gen digital presses and label printers broaden the scope of packaging applications, boost productivity, and offer sustainability advantages. The new equipment also provides better print quality, color control, and registration consistency — and all at a more affordable cost.

 

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11. Flexible Packaging Delivers in the Ecommerce Era

There are several vital factors that brand owners should consider when packaging products for ecommerce instead of retail.

 

As consumers shop, the packaging influences their buying decisions, as it relates to many things, including clean labels and sustainability. Photo credit: JackF - adobe.stock.com

10. 7 Consumer Trends Driving Packaging Decisions

To have a successful product, brands must keep up with or stay ahead of the latest consumer trends. From a growth in ecommerce to an increased concern with sustainability, here are patterns in consumer behavior that influence today’s top packaging designs and developments.

 

Photo credit: Artur – adobe-stock.comNeed-Designers-Sign-AdobeStock_285950052-Artur.jpeg

9. Who’s Hiring Packaging Designers Today?

Putting people back to work will help the US economy rebound after the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Here are 26 packaging design-related jobs that are possibly perfect for you.

 

With self-medication continuing to advance, patients and caregivers appreciate packages like autoinjectors that simplify the administration process. Photo credit: Sherry Young – stock.adobe.com

8. 5 Pharma Trends and Their Impact on Packaging

The pharmaceutical industry is changing at an unprecedented pace. New biological treatments for cancer, and a dramatic rise of widespread diseases such as diabetes, call for new processing and packaging solutions to fulfill the different needs all over the world. Keep your eye on these five main packaging trends for 2020 for the global pharmaceutical market.

 

Photo credit: Brad Pict – adobe.stock.comHiring-AdobeStock_257656181-web.jpeg

Packaging engineers who are looking for a job have plenty of opportunities.

7. What Companies are Hiring Packaging Engineers Today?

Despite the 11% US unemployment rate today — and with unemployment claims related to the coronavirus outbreak exceeding 20 million in May 2020 — companies are still hiring for a variety of packaging-related jobs.

 

Intense competition among antimicrobial packaging suppliers includes hefty investments in R&D to discover advanced food-grade materials.

6. Top 5 Trends Shaping the Antimicrobial Packaging Market

Companies are developing exciting new active packaging materials to enhance safety in food, healthcare and personal-care markets.

 

Photo credit: byrdyak — stock.adobe.com

5. How Packaging Trends Will Shape 2020

Sustainability, branding and “smart” packaging technologies continue to resonate with global packaging professionals, based on the leading stories from early 2020 on PackagingDigest.com.

 

Photo credit: Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.comConsumer-snacking-AdobeStock_143889007-72dpi.jpeg

Photo credit: Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com

4. 12 Snack Packages Echo Consumer Trends

Looking for a little healthy indulgence when hunger strikes? You’re not the only one. Americans snack before, after, and during mealtimes. After all, today’s packages make it easy to do so. Here are a dozen examples of brands using packs and graphics to tempt and gratify.

 

For its organic dairy products, Maple Hill opted to use packaging that addresses sustainability. The recyclable container for its new line of single-serve shelf-stable (aseptic) milks is made mostly with paperboard from responsibly managed pulp trees.

3. 5 Branding and Packaging Trends for 2020

Successful brands in 2020 will be those that find creative ways to express their over-arching brand attributes — delivering clear, unified brand assets telling stories that have the power to change consumer behavior and, in some cases, start a revolution on store shelves.

 

Brands incorporate recycled content into their new packaging to create viable end markets for the collected material and meet their sustainability goals. Photo credit: Copal on Unsplash

2. 5 Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2020

For sustainable packaging, 2020 was set to be a year of action and reaction, building on the fast-growing trends from the last two years. Here were a handful of critical sustainable packaging trends expected in 2020.

 

1. 6 Food and Beverage Packaging Trends That Will Dominate 2020

Cut-throat competition has prompted food and beverage brands to experiment with many innovative approaches to packaging design, both aesthetically and functionally.

10 Popular Pandemic Posts for Packaging Pros in 2020

Photo credit: Blue Planet Studio – adobe.stock.com Supply-Chain-COVID-19-AdobeStock_373126876-ftd.jpeg

Thank you for all you’ve done during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Packaging operations adapted to the crisis with (mostly) order, compassion, innovation, and efficiency — from refitting packaging lines to supply critical goods, to redesigning package graphics to reassure worried consumers.

All along the way, Packaging Digest was here to help, keeping you up to date on new angles and considerations so you could continue to come up with solutions.

You responded to our COVID-19-related content with a ferocious appetite. Here are the Top 10 coronavirus articles you consumed in short order in 2020, based on website page views:

 

From wrapped and sealed baked goods, to "covered" beverage multipacks, brands can reassure consumers with packages seen as "protected" in the post-pandemic world.

10. Hygienic Packaging Designs Calm Virus-Related Anxiety

Although food and packaging are not key players in the spread of COVID-19, pandemic-driven wariness is driving food brand owners and their packaging suppliers, as well as retailers and foodservice providers, to put more emphasis on hygienic packaging design.

 

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9. 3 Ways COVID-19 is Changing Supply Chain Packaging

How do these shifts in shipment packaging affect your operations now and moving forward?

 

Photo credit: Celso Pupo – adobe.stock.com

8. COVID-19: Maintain Your Sustainable Packaging Focus

We are all swimming in a sea of voices analyzing the impacts of COVID-19 on all aspects of society. Packaging plays a starring role in this conversation due to its role in protecting products, as well as being a human contact point. But what about the sustainability of packaging? Here are some important considerations for sustainable packaging during these times — and where to go from here. 

 

7. 4 Ways Packaging Can Help During the Coronavirus Crisis

A lot of people are fighting the coronavirus crisis on many levels. Here is my opinion on some things the packaging industry has recommended, suggested, or already done to help.

 

Photo credit: Romolo Tavani – stock.adobe.com

6. Packaging and COVID-19: Ongoing News, Insights, Advice

Bookmark this page for easy access to a list of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and packaging, along with links and dates, posted by Packaging Digest. Most recent articles are at the top.

 

Image: Goffkein/AdobeStockHand sanitizer beauty photo

5. Brands Refit Packaging for Hand Sanitizers

To combat the spread of COVID-19, breweries, distillers, and others changeover to package sanitizers to supplement inadequate supplies.

 

Versus larger bottles, unit doses of sanitizer packets were chosen to increase the number of users and safety. HR Pharmaceuticals plans to make four to six million packets weekly.

4. Fast and Furious: Pharmaceutical Company Makes and Packs Hand Sanitizer in Record Time

First-time sanitizer maker HR Pharmaceuticals gets a major assist from C-P Flexible Packaging in 10-day start-to-finish project in the fight against COVID-19.

 

Photo credit: VK Studio – adobe.stock.comShopper-masked-AdobeStock_345294314-featured.jpeg

3. 3 Ways COVID-19 Will Change Packaging Design

Consumers’ shifting buying patterns, heightened health and safety expectations, and focus on sustainability present new packaging design challenges in the COVID-19 and post-pandemic realities.

 

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is changing American lives in many ways, including their preferences for different types of packaging.

2. 4 Inevitable Packaging Changes After COVID-19

While it’s clear that the value of packaging is now more publicly recognized, prior concerns haven’t gone away. During this “great pause,” the packaging industry must reflect and prepare, ensuring that the packaging value chain offers even more value to our environment and society — and can play a key role within the economic restructuring our world will desperately need.

 

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1. Corona Beer Through the Pandemic: Tweets Tell the Tale

The brand had the misfortune of having the product name on packaging and in social media associated with the coronavirus. Here’s how it played out on Twitter.

4 Examples of Innovative Aluminum Packaging

Pardon a flashback moment…some 10 years ago I performed contract work writing for Canmaker magazine based in the UK, so it was with more than a passing interest when a press release from Trivium Packaging crossed my virtual desk. It announced the aluminum packaging vendor had earned gold, silver, and two bronze awards in the global subscription-only publication’s 2020 Can of the Year Awards “that’s an international celebration of canmaking achievement” seen in a short slideshow gallery.

Ahead of that and as a little backgrounder, a recent market study from Mordor Intelligence’s offered several factoids:

  • The metal packaging market was valued at $138.1 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $193.24 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 4% over the forecast period;
  • Recyclability of metal packaging is a significant driver because both aluminum and steel are highly robust raw packaging materials due to the superior recycling infrastructure;
  • [Aluminum] packaging makes beverages easy to cool, are great for keeping the contents fresh, and prevent breakage even during on-the-go occasions. 

It’s worth casting a spotlight on interesting aluminum developments in food, drink, and personal care product categories, beyond the modest personal interest. Credit for much of the following information is Josephine ter Mors, Trivium’s head of global communications.

Packaging Design

Coca-Cola and Absolut Tackle Taste Testing for Paper Bottles

Several beverage companies are exploring replacing plastic bottles with new paper ones, including Coca-Cola.

Paper-based bottles have been making sustainability and beverage packaging headlines in recent months, with brand owners such as Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, and Pernod Ricard’s The Absolut Co. developing paper bottles for alcohol and non-alcohol drinks (see the packages in the slideshow).

Organoleptic testing plays an important role in their development efforts. Using taste tests, brand owners and their packaging suppliers can determine how well the package protects beverages from flavor degradation.

Here is a status report on two projects already in the works:

 

1. The Paboco project.

Coca-Cola, Carlsberg Group, L’Oréal, and Pernod Ricard’s Absolut are all part of the Paboco paper-bottle project. As a supplier and R&D partner, Paboco conducts organoleptic testing in collaboration with its clients and is not at liberty to comment on their research or test results.

However, Absolut confirms that it is conducting organoleptic testing on its own paper-bottle prototype. Absolut’s bottle includes an outer paper component and an inner barrier layer of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) film. The first products to be filled into this paper bottle are Absolut Vodka and Absolut Mixt, both of which are alcohol beverages.

“We’re currently performing laboratory taste tests and will also be undertaking consumer taste tests as part of our controlled testing for our paper bottle prototype,” says Niclas Appelquist, innovation director, future of packaging, at Absolut.

“Laboratory testing is critical, as it ensures the taste profile of the product/liquid does not change over time. We also want to speak directly to consumers to understand their perceptions of this new and innovative form of packaging. Some of the questions we’ll aim to understand through consumer testing will include knowing what kind of beverage/taste/experience consumers are expecting from this new packaging, and what kinds of occasions they feel the product would be suitable for,” Appelquist says.

“We’ll also be interested to find out if they feel there was anything missing from the bottle or if any expectations weren’t met. And finally, we hope our consumer feedback will inform how the design of the bottle and its contents fit together in a final product,” he concludes.

Absolut’s consumer testing started in Fall 2020 and is expected to culminate in a report at the beginning of 2021.

Coca-Cola’s paper-bottle prototype, announced in October 2020, is in development at the company’s R&D lab in Brussels, Belgium. The prototype features a paper shell with a 100%-recycled plastic closure and liner; however, the company’s goal is to create a paper bottle that does not require a plastic liner.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson reports that the research team in Belgium has “not yet conducted organoleptic testing on the paper-bottle prototype. However, we intend to test this and many more aspects of the paper bottle in the coming months.”

Additional testing will focus on the paper bottle’s strength, how well it protects beverages filled into it, and how the package performs when chilled.

2. The Frugal Bottle project.

A different paper-based bottle, from Ipswich, UK-based Frugalpac, also has been the subject of organoleptic testing. This 750-ml package has a paper-based shell and a plastic, food-grade liner. It was created to hold wine or spirits.

The Frugal Bottle is further along commercially than the Absolut and Coca-Cola paper bottles. 3Q wine, from Italian winery Cantina Coccia, is the first wine to be sold in the Frugal Bottle in brick-and-mortar stores. A Scottish retail chain began selling 3Q in the paper bottle in Scotland in November 2020.

“Frugalpac carries out organoleptic assessment on all our sustainable packaging. For the Frugal Bottle, this was conducted during shelf-life testing, using industry leading test house Campden BRI. No negative observations relating to taint from materials were observed across two separate trials, which were conducted with a sensitive white wine,” says John-Paul Grogan, product manager at Frugalpac.

“Frugalpac ensured organoleptically neutral materials were chosen as part of our selection process,” Grogan adds. “We have also seen some fantastic results using vodka, where the sensitivity panel was unable to distinguish between product stored in glass or in Frugal Bottle materials.”

Grogan concludes, “Organoleptic testing is really important to our customers, and we will continue to use it as we see the Frugal Bottle develop into new beverage markets.”