Introducing Greener Corporation’s NEW Tech Bites series about running sustainable packaging material on flow wrappers and vertical FFS baggers. In this first segment we introduce the basic types of sustainable materials and some fundamental considerations for selecting, testing, and running these structures.
Traditional Flexible Packaging Materials
Most traditional flexible packaging is made from multiple layers of different materials that provide sealability, barrier protection, and other functions. But these materials aren’t compostable and can’t be easily separated and directed to the proper recycling stream.
Sustainable Flexible Packaging Materials
Sustainable flexible packaging materials are primarily categorized as recyclable or compostable.
Recyclable materials can be mono films, which are produced from the same or similar polymers, or paper-based materials, both of which can flow into the recycling stream.
Compostable materials can decompose over time, given the proper conditions, and can vary significantly in their structure. Their two main classifications are Industrial Compostable, such as PLA (polylactic acid), and Home Compostable, such as paper or PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Some of these structures are also recyclable.
Sustainable materials will likely continue to develop for several years, with a focus on areas such as seal integrity and gas permeability.
Forming and Sealing Sustainable Packaging Materials
A variety of structures with different characteristics are utilized to meet sustainability requirements, and they each can present a unique set of challenges to form and seal packages and maintain production speeds.
These potential issues should be identified and considered as you evaluate options and decide which sustainable materials to test or convert to.
Setup and Components
More precise machine setup and customized sealing jaws, formers, and other components are often required.
By anticipating these factors ahead of time instead of reacting to problems down the line, you can reduce project completion time, decrease costs, and minimize compromises to package quality and productivity.
Working with Greener Corporation
Greener Corporation can work with you and potential material suppliers from the beginning, as you evaluate sustainable options.
Our packaging machine and material experts understand the unique production challenges that different sustainable structures can present. They will help you identify and implement setup and procedural changes, customized components, or technical services that may be needed.
Future posts and videos in our Sustainability Series will describe the different types of sustainable materials in more detail, explain the specific packaging challenges that each type presents, and outline solutions that can help you successfully test and convert to sustainable materials.