The end of the year always is the prime period during which you see people carrying bottles. It is not surprising therefore, that the packaging industry introduced new ‘Bottle Carriers’ during these last months of the year. Let’s have a look at what we encountered.
In Germany Hartness International Inc., in collaboration with RKW, surprised the beverage market with their GrabPack. Normally when containers are bundled together with film people have to tear the film in a messy fashion to grab a product and in doing so weaken the hold of the film over the remaining items. What Grab Pack claims to do is allow consumers to easily remove bottles from a pack without any mess and without damaging the integrity of the rest of the pack.
The GrabPack package is comprised of a pre-formed web of printed, cost effective shrinkable polyethylene film. During the application process, this web is opened and applied over grouped bottles, capturing foot and shoulder of the bottles. The multi-pack is then supported and passed through a heat shrink tunnel in order to shrink the containers tightly together into a very solid multi-pack. A unique feature of the package is that each bottle is contained in its own pocket; thus, eliminating bottle to bottle contact, while the printed film web can be pre-perforated to facilitate the easy removal of individual bottles from the package.
In the UK the Co-operative Group put the reusable and recyclable PortaBottle wine carrier on the market, replacing the reusable plastic 6-bottle carrier bag and the recycled corrugated 6-bottle carrier.
PortaBottle is the first reusable and recyclable bottle carrier made from sustainable unbleached kraft paperboard sourced from managed forests. It is said to be nine times stronger than recycled corrugated, as it has outstanding tear and wet-strength properties which ensure the safe and secure transit of most bottle sizes from store to home many times over.
Most corrugated bottle carriers can only be used once or twice safely, so PortaBottle represents a significant step forward with minimal environmental impact. It is also consumer-friendly thanks to its simple ‘pop-up’ in-store assembly from flat-pack, comfortable carry handle and clink-free patented design.
Manufactured in the UK under license and distributed to the Co-operative stores by Global Trading UK Ltd, PortaBottle can be branded up to six water-based printing colours; making it eye-catching, whilst being cost effective for both short and long production runs.
The 6-bottle version (2 and 4 also are available) is packed in 80’s and is so compact, that over 100,000 carriers can be delivered in one truck, which results in nearly 50% less space, time and energy than traditional corrugated bottle carriers.
Also in the UK, Clifford Packaging claims to be able to slash corrugated waste by 70-80% with its new Bottle Buddie folding system (BB2). The system can be added to a case design to make it a collapsible and re-usable carry case. This enables the retailers to eliminate the requirement for free issue wine carriers and to offer shoppers an alternative to the plastic carrier bag to hold their purchases in.
When the case reaches the retailer, the lid which accounts for 20% of the case is removed for the product to be displayed on the shelves. The remaining part of the case can be collapsed so it can be easily stored and then erected by shoppers as and when required.
Although a clever (albeit not new) design, Clifford’s claim to slash cardboard waste by 70-80%, smells like a scam. Indeed 80% of the case is reused by the retailer and consumer. But the moment the consumer discards the Bottle Buddie, the 80% corrugated cardboard is back in the waste stream. While the cardboard box is reused, the elimination of free wine carriers and plastic carrier bags don’t represent the claimed 70-80% waste reduction.
Adnams Beer Case
And as we are talking about “corrugated cardboard efficiency” and greenness, let’s have a look at Smurfit-Kappa’s beer case for Adnams in the UK. Europe’s leading paper-based packaging manufacturer Smurfit-Kappa created a novel secondary packaging for Adnams Champion Beer Selection pack. The packaging aims to highlight the 137-year history of the company plus its environmentally responsible credentials. To capture the heritage of the Adnams brand, Smurfit Kappa of Chelmsford/UK recommended a beer packaging design modelled on a wooden beer crate manufactured in 1956.
The resulting crash-lock glued box, containing six bottles, was manufactured from B Flute and uses a high quality print process, comprising of flexographic printing with two browns on a recycled liner.
The box is made from 100% recycled cardboard, being in concert with Adnams policy on environmental responsibility, furthermore the gift-pack includes the reduced weight beer bottles and a ‘carbon neutral’ East Green Beer found inside.