19 December 2018

New Zealand to phase out plastic shopping bags from July 2019

The Government of New Zealand has confirmed that the mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic shopping bags will become effective from 1 July 2019.

The decision was conveyed to retailers by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage after the union cabinet approved the proposed regulations.

Following implementation, all retail stores across the country will no longer be able to sell or offer single-use plastic shopping bags to customers.

Sage said: “Plastic shopping bags are a hazard for nature, particularly marine wildlife. They can also introduce harmful microplastics into the food chain. These regulations are an important first step to tackle New Zealand’s wider waste problem.

“Importantly, the mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic shopping bags signals that we need to do things very differently. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers all have a responsibility to reduce waste and prevent plastic pollution.”

The phase-out will be effective on all new plastic shopping bags with handles and up to 70 microns in thickness. It will include lightweight, heavier boutique-style and degradable plastic bags. Bags provided by some retailers as an alternative to single-use carriers will also be banned by the government.

Sage added: “New Zealand has recently become a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment – a global pledge to address the root causes of plastic pollution – and this work programme will help us deliver on our commitment.”


18 December 2018

Thailand adopts plain packaging for tobacco products

Thailand has become the first country in Asia to adopt plain packaging for tobacco products.

Plain packaging is an evidence-based policy being advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It restricts the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging to protect people against health and socio-economic impact of tobacco use.

The new law adds to the Tobacco Control Act 2017 that enforces 20 years as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco. The act bans single-stick sales, tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship across the country.

Commenting on the announcement, WHO South-East Asia regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “Thailand’s bold steps against tobacco, the single most important cause of preventable deaths worldwide, is commendable and reflects the country’s earnest efforts in promoting health and well-being of its people.”

The new legislation mandates all tobacco products to have plain packaging by September, which is expected to increase the country’s tobacco control efforts.

Thailand has also mandated graphic health warnings covering 85% of tobacco product packaging.

Singh noted that WHO will support Thailand along with other member countries to combat the present and future impact of tobacco on people.

Plain packaging influences smokers’ intention to quit, reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products and limits misleading packaging / labelling.


18 December 2018

UK unveils Resources and Waste Strategy to boost recycling

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has introduced a strategy where businesses and manufacturers will have to pay the complete costs involved in recycling or disposing of packaging waste. It will overhaul the waste system in the UK, putting legal responsibility on those who produce damaging waste. It is also aimed at eliminating avoidable plastic waste and helps the environment to recover.

Unveiling the strategy in London, Gove said: “Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together, we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.

“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste. Through this plan, we will cement our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, leaving our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

The government will focus on introducing a consistent set of recyclable material for collection in a move to increase recycling levels.

The industry will fund the scheme through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and will pay high fees if products are harder to reuse, repair or recycle.

EPR will raise between £0.5bn and £1bn funding annually for recycling and disposal of packaging.

As part of the strategy, the government will focus on various initiatives such as ensuring producers pay the full net costs of disposal or recycling of packaging and introducing consistent labelling on packaging.

It also plans to increase the rate of recycling single-use drinks containers such as bottles, cans, and disposable cups through a deposit return scheme.


17 December 2018

Coca-Cola signs agreement to support Ioniqa in PET production

The Coca-Cola Company has signed a loan agreement to support Netherlands-based Ioniqa Technologies in the production of high-grade recycled PET content.

The hard-to-recycle PET content will be used to manufacture bottles used by The Coca-Cola Company.

Ioniqa has developed a new recycling technology to convert PET waste such as coloured bottles into purified polymer building blocks, which are then reconfigured into high-quality PET. Ioniqa is also constructing a 10-kilo metric tonne industrial plant in the Netherlands, and expects it to be commissioned next year.

Ioniqa CEO Tonnis Hooghoudt said: “Partnering with The Coca-Cola Company is a further validation of our journey to launch this unique process for transforming hard-to-recycle PET waste into high-quality, food-grade material. The Ioniqa process allows for significant recovery and reuse of plastic materials that might otherwise not be recycled.”

As a part of its ‘World Without Waste’ vision, Coca-Cola aims to create packaging from at least 50% recycled material by 2030. The investment in Ioniqa Technologies is part of this initiative.

The Coca-Cola Company chief innovation officer Robert Long said: “Our investment in new and pioneering recycling technologies is an opportunity for significant movement toward closing the loop and creating a circular economy for PET. We plan to continue investing in developing the right partnerships and initiatives.”

Ioniqa Technologies is a clean-tech spinoff from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. It focuses on creating different products from waste using indigenous circular technology.


17 December 2018

Siegwerk and Komori unveil K-Supply UV inks

Germany-based printing inks maker Siegwerk has introduced high-sensitivity K-Supply UV inks developed in collaboration with Japanese printing presses manufacturer Komori.

In 2016, Komori Europe selected Siegwerk to develop the K-Supply UV inks exclusively for its UV / LED system. Both companies are currently offering the inks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Siegwerk designed and tested the K-Supply UV inks at its Center of Excellence in Aarberg, Switzerland.

Siegwerk EMEA regional sales manager Bruno Delanoë said: “We cooperatively developed a brand new, revolutionary, high-sensitivity UV ink exclusively for Komori’s energy-saving H-UV / LED curing system offering best-in-class print results. These novel ‘K-Supply UV inks’ provide consistent colour print quality, high-level versatility and hardness, as well as an eco-friendly performance. They are characterised by top-level definition and press stability, and match all Lithrone H-UV press requirements.”

Leveraging H-UV / LED technology, the partnership installed more than 880 presses globally, including 218 in Europe.

Siegwerk noted that all its inks are formulated and manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice, and are in compliance with changing regulations and reclassifications in the European Printing Ink Association (EuPIA) Exclusion Policy.

Komori Europe marketing manager Peter Minis said: “At Komori, we design our printing presses to deliver the optimum print result with unrivalled quality, reliable performance, and superior colour intensity.

“Teaming up with Siegwerk proved to be essential in Komori’s endeavour to strengthen and broaden the K-Supply brand and product range. This partnership enables us to fully exploit all possibilities of our H-UV / LED technology, and make them available directly to our customers.”

Komori offers a range of special consumables and materials under the ‘K-Supply’ brand. It also offers offset, digital printing presses, finishing equipment, and printing applications.


14 December 2018

One Madison to buy protective packaging firm Ranpak for $950m

Special purpose acquisition company One Madison (OMAD) has entered a definitive agreement with affiliates of Rhône Capital to merge with protective packaging solutions firm Ranpak for $950m in cash.

Based in the US, Ranpak offers sustainable protective packaging solutions to products offered by commerce and industrial supply chains. Leveraging a platform of 90,000 machines, the company sells value-added consumables to approximately 30,000 clients in more than 40 countries.

The total consideration of $950m covers the repayment of existing first and second lien debt.

OMAD will fund the transaction and related expenses with $300m cash held in trust, approximately $407m of debt drawn from $650m of committed new debt, and approximately $292m of committed equity investments from its anchor investors.

The deal is expected to introduce the packaging firm as a publicly listed company for an enterprise value of approximately $1.89bn.

The boards of directors of OMAD and Rhône Capital have approved the transaction, which is currently subject to approval by OMAD shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is expected to close at the beginning of next year.

Ranpak president and CEO Mark Borseth said: “We look forward to working closely with the One Madison team to combine their capital allocation expertise and deal-making acumen with our unique asset-light distribution model, track record of innovation, and industry-leading position to expand our customer base, product offering, and geographic reach.”

Following the completion of the transaction, One Madison Group chairman and CEO Omar Asali will act as the executive chairman of Ranpak, while Mark Borseth will continue to serve as its president and CEO.

OMAD will work with Ranpak to explore growth opportunities for the packaging firm.

The transaction will also offer additional financial resources to support Ranpak’s growth plans such as innovation, geographic expansion and product line extension.


14 December 2018

Danone partners with Ecosurety to bolster recycling capacity

Danone’s UK-based unit has signed a three-year agreement with Ecosurety to comply with packaging waste recycling obligations.

Danone, which currently recycles around 80% of its used packaging, aims to develop new techniques while supporting innovation and education.

Under the partnership, Ecosurety will prioritise the purchase of Danone’s Packaging Waste Recovery Notes (PRN) from local re-processors to ensure reinvestment into the UK’s recycling system.

Danone public affairs director Caroline Winters said: “As a multinational business with an ambition to lead in the sustainability sector, recycling is an area that we are particularly focused on improving. Ecosurety’s approach to traceability and tangible reinvestment in the recycling sector resonated with our own environmental business objectives.”

The overall programme by Ecosurety is expected to strengthen packaging waste recycling capabilities in the UK and address environmental issues associated with plastic packaging.

Ecosurety managing director James Piper said: “We are determined to show that recycling compliance doesn’t need to be perceived of as a tax, but rather a positive feedback system that benefits producer, consumer and planet.”

According to the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), around 66% of recycling is currently shipped abroad for reprocessing, making it difficult to monitor environmental standards.

In developing recycling capacity in the UK, the PRN model investments will assist in reducing the shipment of waste material to other countries. In addition, it will help in assessing environmental accountability.


14 December 2018

Ball to sell metal beverage packaging plants in China for $225m

Ball has signed an agreement with Chinese metal packaging company ORG Technology to sell its metal beverage packaging facilities in the country for a total consideration of $225m.

The deal value includes cash and a potential additional consideration of $50m-$75m to relocate an existing facility over the next several years.

Assets covered under the agreement include beverage can and end plants in Beijing, Foshan, Hubei and Qingdao, China, along with associated contracts and other related assets.

Ball will license its beverage can and end technology in the country to ORG.

The company will reinvest around $50m in ORG’s shares and will agree to cooperate on future commercial opportunities.

Ball president and CEO chairman John A Hayes said: “This arrangement allows each party to leverage its own geographic strengths, while allowing Ball to continue our disciplined approach to capital allocation by freeing up capital that does not generate our required returns.”

The metal packaging firm will use investment received from the sale to support its global growth initiatives and multi-year share repurchase programme.

Ball will continue to offer sustainable aluminium beverage packaging to other Asian markets using its Myanmar facility and joint ventures in Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan.

In October, the beverage can maker announced plans to cease production at its beverage packaging plant in San Martino, Italy, by the end of December.