Trends in the packaging reflect society at large. Twenty years ago, the consumer products companies were running the show, high-speed lines, runnability of the packaging material, automated liners and practical and low-cost solutions were their priorities. Ten years ago, it was the consumer, started to rule the show by asking more detailed products information, more convenient and at the same time fancy packaging. Next came the consumer request for product differentiation, weight reduction, single-serve packages, and a clean natural approach. Today everybody is looking at how packaging affects the environment. Environmental issues have come to the forefront. Packaging is not any longer about design and function, it’s all about the management of the planet’s resources and the impact on the environment. And today’s consumers are not only aware of that, but are requiring from any company a proper implemented sustainability governance.
The choice of a responsible packaging solution is a good start. One of the possibilities to confront the environmental issues is the development of cartons made of paperboard from a renewable fibre-based resource, to replace fossil materials.
A report published by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute states that packaging based on wood fibre is the most environmentally friendly alternative. It is better than plastic, derived from oil. Better than glass, which is heavy and energy intensive from a life-cycle perspective. And better than aluminium, which is expensive to recycle and whose supply is questionable. Wood fibre comes from a renewable source, has a limited environmental impact and can be recycled up to seven times.
The other side of the coin is, that it takes a tree 70 years to grow to full height, which means that forestry – like any environmental work – is a long-term undertaking. However, a growing, healthy forest is in itself part of the solution to the carbon problem. The more it grows, the better it binds up carbon dioxide. A well-managed forestry operation is beneficial from an environmental point of view. Sustainably managed forests have to be certified according to FSC and PEFC standards.
Despite the sometimes high-tech printing technologies used to attract consumer’s attention, a paperboard packaging is often seen as a simple solution to the packaging problem, a simple wrapping of the product. And it’s not only the printing. 2010 is the beginning of the era of shapes, which will dominate packaging design, as rectangular packs don’t open doors, don’t attract consumers to buy the product. But unusual shapes place unusual demands on the elasticity of the paperboard.
One of the companies entering the ‘shape-era’ is Edelmann in Germany, positioning itself as one of the leading converters for luxury products in Europe. By using Korsnäs White 345 and 380 gsm, with its characteristics of bending stiffness, tearing resistance and elasticity, Edelmann was able to create the “CEvolution Bottle” collection for luxury alcoholic beverages. If you scale them down, these packs would be perfect for perfume bottles too.