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Consumer preferences drive growth in sustainable packaging

Source:International Plastics News for Asia     Date:2022-06-30
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The homecare industry provides a wide range of products for air care, dishwashing, bleach, laundry care, insecticides, toilet products and more. These are generally found in supermarkets, convenience stores, online stores and other distribution channels. In a report by Mordor Intelligence, it estimates the home care market to post a CAGR of 4.67% during the period 2022-2027. According to the report,  the projected growth is due largely to consumers spending more time at home due to COVID-19 and related lockdown measures, the work-from-home scenario, and home quarantine that created the need for hygiene with the added benefit of reducing the chance of infection, particularly in the frequent contact areas. The report further states that with around 84% of consumers changing the way they clean their homes, players positioned their products to cope with the demand surge during the pandemic.

 

One interesting trend in the homecare market is the growing preference of consumers for sustainable packaging.  With connected platforms, consumers are more informed and concerned about personal and environmental health. According to several studies, more than 20% of consumers globally prefer products with sustainable packaging made from recycled materials, leading to the demand for products with free-from claims over the medium term.


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The power of sustainable packaging

Mondi, a global leader in packaging and paper, has highlighted the power of packaging in creating a more sustainable homecare industry. Thomas Kahl, Head of Sustainable Packaging Solutions FMCG & Industrial Channels at Mondi Flexible Packaging, addressed industry leaders at the Smithers International Cleaning Products Conference in Prague on 29 and 30 March 2022 and discussed the ways in which packaging can help manufacturers become more proactive in their approach to the environment.

 

This was an opportunity to share insights with the global homecare market, which grew at an unprecedented rate in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to grow at a faster rate than pre-pandemic levels over the coming years. This increased demand means more products are being produced, with more waste to be dealt with responsibly.

 

The EU Plastic Strategy aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU. It’s vital for the environment but also for commercial success as consumers are increasingly pivoting towards brands that are taking more meaningful steps to address sustainability. 64% of consumers (across France, Italy, Poland and Spain) said they have switched to household brands that have adopted a more sustainable packaging solution in the past year alone.

 

As a leading provider of sustainable packaging solutions, Mondi can help the homecare industry to close the loop of circularity through its customer-centric EcoSolutions approach - by closely collaborating with customers and suppliers to balance resource efficiency with the lowest possible environmental impact.

 

There are many factors to consider and it can seem complex, but the aim should be for manufacturers to balance resource efficiency with the lowest possible environmental and social impacts. There is no ‘perfect’ solution, but the packaging itself serves an essential purpose and Mondi used the event to highlight some of the different packaging approaches that can be employed to help turn the tide of climate change.


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Thomas Kahl, Head of Sustainable Packaging Solutions 

FMCG & Industrial Channels, Mondi Flexible Packaging

 

It might not seem clear at first which solution will be the most effective, but by working together, product manufacturers, logistics companies, material suppliers and packaging experts such as Mondi can make changes to drive progress at scale.

 

One key step in Mondi’s approach is to explore opportunities to reduce material use in favour of more sustainable alternatives – related to the packaging as well as product itself. This can be seen in a collaboration between Mondi and UK supermarket chain Tesco where the companies worked together to develop a fully recyclable mono-material pouch for Tesco’s dishwasher tablets.

 

Another approach is to replace plastic packaging with paper or bio-based alternatives. Mondi’s Functional Barrier Paper is a range of recyclable paper-based packaging with tailored barrier properties that reduces the amount of plastic used and provides moisture and vapour-proof packaging.

 

For the home & personal care industry in particular, the use of post-consumer recycled material is an effective alternative that reduces the reliance on fossil-based primary resources. A large number of resin producers are currently investing in additional mechanical recycling facilities that will increase the availability of materials, while chemical recycling can address hard to recycle plastics and provide much needed post-consumer resins suitable for food application.

A refill option, meanwhile, is perfect for ensuring that where plastic does need to be used, it is created well, then refilled and re-used for a long time. Mondi has worked with market-leader Henkel to create a lightweight, recyclable refill pouch for its dishwashing liquid, which can then be decanted into its 100% recycled PET pump dispenser. This move helps Henkel consumers reduce plastic by 70%.

 

Mondi is uniquely positioned to cater for the home care market, providing paper, plastic and hybrid solutions to offer tailored packaging for companies operating in the brand and private label spaces. With state-of-the-art technology, investment, ongoing R&D and innovation and a truly collaborative approach, Mondi’s experts help brands and private labels in the homecare industry drive progress.

 

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Mondi recently introduced two sustainable packaging for the fresh food industry. 



Recyclable packaging for fresh food

For the fresh food industry, Mondi’s innovations were unveiled at the Anuga  FoodTec -  the new recyclable packaging products that feature a paper-based tray and a semi-rigid plastic tray.  These new solutions aim to protect fresh food contents at every stage of the manufacturing and logistics process, ensuring they last longer through clever design and the potential to apply MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) to extend the shelf-life. The packaging inhibits exposure to elements such as moisture, gases and grease, and actively encourages correct consumer use, through resealable functions. This aids convenience and ease of portion control while also reducing food waste.

 

PerFORMing Monoloop is a formable and recyclable paper-based solution for sliced food such as cheese or meat. The paper tray with a barrier layer is combined with a plastic top web solution, allowing excellent product protection while reducing plastic use. The barrier layer can be easily separated from the paper tray so that all elements can be disposed of in the correct waste streams separately. PerFORMing Monoloop, certified recyclable by Institute cyclos-HTP, offers high flexibility for the food manufacturer, as it is suitable for a range of depths and forms on existing lines.

 

Mono Formable PP is a recyclable high barrier MAP solution, created from mono-material polypropylene (PP). Featuring a printed top web and a complementary thermoformable semi rigid bottom web, the fully recyclable packaging weighs around 30% less than a comparable polyester (PET) tray at the same thickness while offering the same high level of product protection. The innovative solution can substitute the industry standard of multi-material non-recyclable PET trays and is available with a range of features like easy-peel for convenient opening and/or reclosure.

 

Mr. Kahl explains: “Sustainability is front and centre when we design new solutions, using paper where possible and plastic when useful. We think deeply about materials and take a holistic approach that supports the development of sustainable systems and circular economies. These new food packaging solutions were introduced at the Anuga FoodTec where Mondi exhibited for the first time.” 


- This article also appears in the International Plastics News for Asia. To read the e-zine, click here.


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