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Hot Topic: Sustainability

Source:Ringier     Date:2011-09-14
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 CARBON footprint reduction – big buzzwords worldwide. We spoke briefly to some of leading suppliers for their insight on how the industry Asia stands on environmental issues and on their initiatives to improve efficiency, reduce waste and conserve energy through design solutions.

Ricky Ong, sales manager Asia, Heat and Control Pty, Ltd We are a company that makes innovative products, and that people are looking more and more to for products that are green or earth friendly. We have a range of low emission equipment that we make sure is earth-friendly. This practice is more expensive, but we try to make products that are more compact and collapsible. We try to give them higher volume for the price of the machine. In that sense, the footprint per unit of volume is reduced. There is not as much waste and the machines are more efficient.

Sebastian Geffrault, director Account Management & Marketing, Sidel South Asia Pacific, Ltd The Asian market is improving quite fast. Sustainability is becoming a very hot topic. This is a recent development compared to some countries in Europe and the Americas, where it has been going on for quite a few years already. I would say Asia is still behind. Customers value sustainability, but when the time comes to make a decision about the product they want to buy, it is not always something that they will factor in. Let's say it is something that is becoming a subject, but it is not yet a priority. Unlike Europe and America, where it is a key buying factor.
We are always growing in this area. Every new machine is an improvement over the last. We have even created a department of sustainability, and Sidel is dedicated to sustainability issues and we want to be leaders in this area. It's a big part of our R&D in terms of product design and we are dedicated to the light weighting program and trying to figure out how we can make the bottles light. There is a misconception that plastic is bad for the environment. No one is saying that plastics are great for the environment, but actually in the bottling industry you have a choice between glass, cans and plastic. According to industry studies, plastic comes out above glass and cans for its lower impact on the environment. Glass is actually very bad for the environment because it comes from coal, and it takes a lot of energy to produce. Glass is also very heavy and it cost a lot of money to transport. When you look at these factors, plastic is not so bad after all.

Davide Danna, general director, SMI Group Plastics and their effect on the environment is a major focus now. We have been seen as the big culprit for landfills, so there is a big shift in the industry going on wor ldwide . SMI is embarking on a programme called 'lightweighting packages', which means we have gone from plastic bottles that used to weigh 20g a few years ago to plastic bottles that weigh less than half as much.
SMI is developing new technologies for energy saving and also for energy re-use. We have certain machines that use the heat given off by one machine and transfer it to another to use. It's a bit like recycling, but really it's using that energy and not letting it go to waste…. it's a better utilisation of energy.
We've also developed new technologies to make the plastic packaging as thin as possible. We can actually cut down the thickness by 1/3 or sometimes even by a half of the thickness. If you consider how some work lines produce work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week this is a lot less plastic that you are putting into the containers. This leads to less plastic in the landfills. Nike News

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