Packaging solutions for everything that’s upcoming

In 2017, the EU’s Joint Research Centre published a study on the waste incidence at Europe’s beaches. For this purpose, over the course of a year, 700 surveys were conducted, during which a total of 355,671 discarded objects were collected and categorised at 276 sections of coast. One of the results: bottle lids and closure rings made of plastic rank 5th among the waste objects found most frequently.

The solution: permanently attached closures?

As a response to this study, the EU Commission has announced draft legislation that would have far-reaching consequences for manufacturers and fillers of beverage bottles in particular. This is because, for example, PET bottles may in future be offered for sale only if their closure after opening remains securely attached to the container concerned with tethered caps. What the Commission is aiming for: if the lid and the closure ring cannot be detached, they will be disposed of together with the bottle in the collecting bin for recyclables, and will end up less frequently in the natural environment.

The sector is in some cases critical of this initiative. For example, the German Association of the Soft-Drinks Industry (AFG for short) warns that this arrangement entails a disproportionately high impact on the natural environment and the business community. The former because the permanent link between bottle and closure can presumptively be achieved only by using additional material. The latter because all over Europe around 1,350 bottling lines would have to be modified. Depending on the scenario involved, the AFG estimates the outlay required at 2.7 to 8.7 billion euros.

Requirement met

When and how the EU’s plans will come into effect cannot be said with certainty at this juncture. Because we at Krones like to be on the safe side, we’ve already taken thought for a technical solution as a viable contingency plan. In an alliance with Aptar, our packaging experts have developed an innovative closure system that permanently links lid and bottle together – and thus precisely meets the requirements of the EU Commission.

At the K 2019, FlipLid is being showcased together with a series of further packaging solutions from Krones’ in-house design incubator. Not many people know this, but at Krones machinery and packaging developers work side by side. And for good reason: because only when packaging design and production technology complement each other can the best solutions be achieved – for producers, consumers and the natural environment alike.

Their creations have earned Krones’ packaging designers quite a few awards, not for the big stage, but for the needs of everyday users. How? By optimising existing line designs in terms of weight, haptics, and line efficiency. Because they possess in-depth expertise in ecological and economic requirements like choice of material, recyclability or weight optimisation.

You want to know more about FlipLid and Co.? Then take a look at our interview with Stephanie Wunderlich: