A balance between reducing plastic packaging waste whilst facing the need to reduce carbon footprint
Updated: Aug 2, 2021
20 March 2020
The issue of sustainability has been on the agenda for our customers for several years, but in 2020 this has become one of the top priorities for many.
The challenge is finding a balance between reducing plastic packaging waste whilst facing the need to reduce carbon footprint.
The consumer chooses the product to buy (and the packaging format) based on the information that is available in the public domain, often dominated by the media, and this inevitably then drives the behaviour and decisions made by retailers about packaging formats to put on their shelves. Whilst there is talk of eliminating plastic packaging in its entirety, this could in fact be more damaging to the environment in terms of overall CO2 emissions.
Alternative packaging materials to plastics are continually evolving, so too is the understanding of all players in the supply chain including the handling of packaging waste. How can these alternatives be handled by existing automation, what are the additional costs to source and transport them, what is the impact on CO2 emissions, how is the waste handled, will it actually be recycled or recovered or will it end up in landfill?
We all need to have a clear understanding of the facts when making these very difficult decisions, how do we make best use of scarce resources and minimise the environmental impact whilst ensuring packaging continues to perform the required function, minimise cost to business and the consumer and maintain food safety and reduce food waste.
Not only is the choice of packaging important, the efficiency of equipment in factories plays a role which can be achieved by choosing low energy usage machinery, and seeking a reduction in downtime for maintenance, product changeovers and cleaning. On-line monitoring of production machinery provides businesses with a means of optimising efficiency by continually highlighting specific areas of inefficiency and providing base line data from where improvements can be targeted.
PA can support food manufacturers with clear facts about plastic packaging materials and the alternatives, advise which can be handled by existing machinery and what adaptations would be needed to accommodate alternative materials.
Our packaging seal technologist can guide you through the development of new packaging concepts including selecting environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic packaging and can help you access our vast database of packaging suppliers. Trials can be carried out in our trial facility that emulate the performance on our range of equipment prior to decisions being made. In recent months, we have been working with a leading UK retailer and a team of their suppliers to support them in their quest to reduce plastic on their shelves.
All of PA’s machinery is designed to use no compressed air giving a highly efficient machinery solution with a standby feature that minimises energy consumption when not in use.
A recently developed system on the Revolution range of machinery provides clear visual management data designed to help improve efficiencies by showing a live dynamic graphic of the performance of the line. By adding a Data Connect package, line managers can remotely (on a laptop or mobile device) access clear live (as well as historical) data to so that they can understand performance issues and areas to target for improvement.
With over 57 years of tray sealing expertise and machines installed in fresh produce packing facilities worldwide, British manufacturer, Packaging Automation is a name that is recognised by leading food companies all over the world, synonymous with quality and innovation in food packaging.
A leading provider worldwide of a range of packaging solutions for food products, supporting customers to reduce the amount of packaging material required, to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst still benefitting from the advantages of packaging such as extended shelf life and improved product presentation and protection.
Packaging Automation continues to develop the technology in the machines to ensure the capability to handle and seal sustainable materials offering customers tray sealing machine or pot filling and sealing machines for a wide range of applications in the food industry.
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