20 August | Acquisition - Plastics

Plastics specialist Alpla is set to take outright ownership of Austrian packaging manufacturer Wolf Plastics for an undisclosed sum.

The transaction, which was initially signed at the end of July, will help Alpla leverage Wolf’s presence in plastic bucket and canister manufacturing. According to Alpla CEO Philipp Lehner: “Wolf Plastics has decades of experience in product areas in which we want to increase our representation in order to expand our portfolio and grow in Central and South-Eastern Europe.”

Based in Kammern, 200km south-west of Vienna, Wolf boasts a portfolio of around 400 products. The company also has facilities in Hungary and Romania, where competition authorities are “examining the proposal”.

20 AUGUST | Plastics

US challenged to regulate on “one of the most hazardous consumer products ever made"

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been hit with a lawsuit alleging a failure to regulate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as hazardous waste.

The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), comes seven years after the non-profit organisation initially petitioned the EPA to classify PVC as hazardous. The CBD has accused the EPA of ignoring a rulemaking petition about the substance, thereby violating the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act.

“Recent studies reveal that finished PVC products leach significant concentrations of these compounds into the environment as they deteriorate with age, threatening severe biological consequences,” the CBD said.

The organisation’s attorney, Emily Jeffers, added: “PVC is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever made, and the federal government can’t keep ignoring that reality. We have to stop making so much plastic and come up with safer ways to dispose of our plastic pollution.”

19 August | Paper & Board

DS Smith and Dom-Titan develop cardboard alternative to styrofoam

Slovenia-based security solution provider Dom-Titan has partnered with DS Smith to develop cardboard packaging to replace styrofoam filling.

The new filling, made from sustainably sourced certified paper containing around 80% recycled fibres, has been developed through a process of prototypes tested by Dom-Titan. The packaging has been designed by DS Smith in line with its ‘PackRight’ development methodology.

“We have chosen DS Smith as a partner in the project of circular packaging fillings as they have been supplying us with quality materials for decade,” said Igor Plevel, project author for Dom-Titan. “They choose the right type of material for a specific product and are always ready to participate in creating and developing new packaging solutions.”

DS Smith has pledged to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.


UK to launch consultation on single-use plastics ban this autumn

Authorities in the UK are to consult on introducing a ban on certain plastic items in the country.

A consultation opens in the coming weeks and could see the likes of plastic plates and cutlery, as well as polystyrene cups, be outlawed in England. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that each person in England uses 18 single-use plastic plates and 37 items of single-use plastic cutlery each year.

“We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic …,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice. “Now, we are looking to go a step further as we build back greener. These plans will help us stamp out the unnecessary use of plastics that wreak havoc with our natural environment.”

In addition to the proposed ban, the Government will impose a plastic packaging tax from April 2022. Plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content produced in or imported into the UK will be charged US$275 per tonne.

19 AUGUST | Recycling

Dixons Carphone offers free expanded polystyrene recycling

Dixons Carphone is inviting UK consumers to return packaging for electrical items to their stores for free recycling.

The retail group, which also operates the Currys PC World chain, is expanding a recent trial of the scheme to all of its stores. Consumers can return the packaging initially from new televisions only, although the company “will look to collect different types of expanded polystyrene packaging as consumer demand and uptake increases”.

The drop-off service complements Currys PC World’s longstanding home delivery recycling service, where customers can pay for delivery drivers to take away the packaging for “large domestic appliances”.

“We’re proud to be the first retailer to enable customers to drop off their TV packaging in stores for recycling,” said Dixons Carphone’s senior sustainability operations & compliance manager, Chris Brown. “Now, customers can have their polystyrene taken away at delivery or drop it off at one of our stores. Whatever they choose we’ll take it off their hands and ensure we reuse or recycle it in a responsible way.”

The group also announced in August the commitment to make 100% of its own-label plastic packaging reusable or recyclable by 2023.

18 AUGUST | Acquisition - Pharmaceutical Packaging

Serum Institute of India buys into Schott Kaisha

Serum Institute of India (SII) has acquired half of Schott and Kaisha Manufacturers’ Schott Kaisha joint venture.

The deal sees SII take over as Schott’s partner in India’s pharmaceutical packaging industry. Financial details of the purchase, from Kaisha co-owners Kairus Dadachanji and Shapoor Mistry, were not disclosed.

Founded in 1990 by Kaisha and Germany-headquartered Schott, the JV produces ampoules and vials at its owned facilities in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said: “Securing this supply chain is of strategic importance. Schott is the perfect partner for us to do this because of their expertise and global network.

“As a long-time customer, we use their vials, ampoules and syringes to store our vaccines, including [Indian COVID-19 vaccine] Covishield. Working even closer together is in the best interest of global health.”

Schott CEO Frank Heinricht described the transaction as “is an excellent example of shifting towards new cooperation models, with greater synergies between pharma manufacturing and packaging production”.

In brief

Innersense readies refill pouches for hair products

INNERSENSE Organic Beauty has added pouches to the packaging options for its bottled haircare products. The pouches, available in 32oz (90.9cl) sizes, contain 70% less plastic content than the existing 32oz bottles of the company’s ‘hairbath’ and hair conditioner SKUs.

Canada West Winery Supplies boosts range with KeyKeg, UniKeg

Canada West Winery Supplies has partnered with OneCircle, a manufacturer of PET kegs, to add the KeyKeg and UniKeg products to its portfolio. The two lightweight beverage containers, which result in lower carbon emissions in production and during shipping, will be available to breweries, cideries and wineries across eastern and western Canada.

Neenah introduces recyclable packaging tape backing

US-based Neenah has unveiled ‘Recycotape’, a tape backing that breaks down with the cardboard box when recycled.

The Georgia company, which also has manufacturing facilities in Europe, flagged the demand for “an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional packaging tapes and a viable replacement for plastic-based, non-recyclable tapes used to seal corrugated boxes”. “Recycotape is both.”

AstraPouch launches flexible beer packaging solution

AstraPouch is targeting craft brewers and restaurants with its new 64oz (181.8cl) beer ‘growler’ packaging option.

Designed for takeaway and ‘on-the-go’ carbonated beverages, the Beer Growler features a 33mm mouth - designed to make filling easier. Unfilled, the packs store flat, “so a case of empty pouches is equivalent to an entire pallet of glass growlers”.

16 AUGUST | Acquisition - Flexible Packaging

Huhtamaki adds Elif to flexible packaging footprint

Finland’s Huhtamaki has agreed to purchase global sustainable flexible packaging supplier Elif for EUR412m (US$483m).

The transaction, which will see Elif absorbed into the group’s flexible packaging operations, is intended to strengthen Huhtamaki’s position in emerging markets. Elif, which has manufacturing facilities in Istanbul and Cairo, supplies flexible packaging made from both post-industrial and post-consumer recycled polymers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Elif’s sales in 2020 totalled around $195m.

“With a great portfolio, a strong focus on sustainability and high growth ambitions, Elif is a perfect fit for Huhtamaki,” said CEO Charles Héaulmé. “We are impressed by Elif’s focus on its customers, with decades of strategic partnerships with blue-chip multinational companies … .”

Elif’s CEO, Selçuk Yarangűmelioğlu, added: “Under new ownership, we will continue to deliver sustainable solutions to our customer base globally, enhance our focus on fast-growing emerging markets, realise synergies through scale and expand our capabilities.”

16 AUGUST | Legislation - Plastics

India to ban certain single-use plastic items next year

The Government of India has announced a ban on the production, sale and use of a number of single-use plastic items from next July.

The Environment, Forest & Climate Change Ministry has tabled the ‘Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021’, which target items with ‘low utility and high littering potential’. Single-use plastic products that will be banned include plates, cups, glasses, cutlery and stirrers, as well as plastic or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) banners less than 100 microns thick.

The move also covers earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic flags and sticks for balloons, confectionery and ice cream, as well as polystyrene for decoration.

“Pollution due to single-use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries,” the Ministry said. “India is committed to taking action for mitigation of pollution caused by littered single-use plastics.

The legislation, which builds on the ‘Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016’, will also increase the thickness of plastic carrier bags nationwide from 50 microns to 75 microns from next month. This will be further raised to 120 microns from the end of December 2022.

In brief

Aldi to eliminate single-use plastic from own-brand tea bags

UK-based supermarket chain Aldi has committed to ending the use of single-use plastic in its own-brand tea bags by the end of this year. After completing several trials, the retailer has decided to replace the oil-based plastic sealing used in the tea bags with fully biodegradable materials.

Oak Hill purchases controlling stake in Technimark

US-based investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners has purchased a controlling stake in custom rigid plastic packaging solutions provider Technimark. Technimark supplies packaging solutions for global blue-chip healthcare, consumer and speciality industrial customers.

7UP to be sold in recyclable PET bottles from this year

Britvic and PepsiCo are expanding their green initiatives by selling their lemon-lime-flavoured soft drink 7UP in a clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle. The move is part of the companies’ commitment to using fully recycled PET (RPET) bottles by October.

Smurfit Kappa buys Peruvian paper packaging firm Cartones del Pacifico

Ireland-based corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa has acquired Peruvian paper-based packaging maker Cartones del Pacifico. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.