The search for the eco-efficient package

What exactly does an eco-friendly package look like? This question may sound banal. When you look more closely, though, it is quite thought-provoking – and is not amenable to a single omni-applicable answer: “There’s no such thing as the perfect package that can do everything best”, explains Martina Birk, enviro Officer at Krones and thus the first port of call for all questions relating to sustainability.

“It always comes down to evaluating the influencing factors ”

And this evaluation, depending on the application involved, can lead to highly disparate results. Recyclable packages, for example, create an environmental advantage only in those regions where the appropriate recycling technology is also available. If, by contrast, the material has to be transported over long distances for processing, this advantage loses cogency with every kilometre travelled. Or even worse: the material has to be improperly disposed of on the spot instead. The situation is similar for materials from renewable resources: if rain forest trees are felled for cultivating them, or food crops from resource-poor regions consumed, the basic sustainable thinking produces precisely the opposite effect.

Achieving clarity with enviro design

Martina Birk has set herself to comprehensively illuminate these factors. Under the aegis of the enviro sustainability programme, Krones has for more than ten years now been driving forward the development of eco-friendly, energy/media-efficient machines. This basic managementsystem was certified for the first time in 2009 by the TÜV SOUTH technical inspectorate, and has since then been subjected every three years to another audit. The most recent recertification was conducted in 2018, and once again confirmed: the enviro process is efficacious and produces meaningful results – namely machines and systems that verifiably excel in terms of energy and media-economy.

Minimising the environmental impact

The enviro system has established itself for classical “stainless steel” products, and will now be extended to cover packages as well. For this purpose, Martina Birk has joined forces with the packaging experts at Krones to draw up a criterion listing for evaluating containers and packs in terms of their ecological suitability. This will be based not only on the statutory requirements, but also on clients’ stipulations and various eco-design guidelines from trade associations and institutes. The paramount goal here is to minimise the environmental impact of packages. This includes both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving the eco-system and bio-diversity.

The potential for qualifying as an enviro design is thus possessed primarily by packaging solutions that as flagship projects excel in terms of eco-efficiency. It is immaterial in this context whether they were created to meet a client’s specific wishes or as design studies. The first packages are currently being evaluated and – if they meet the stringent criteria involved – will then receive the enviro seal. Two particularly promising candidates have been brought along to the K 2019 and are there being unveiled to a broad public for the first time

LitePac Top for non-returnable PET containers – an alternative to shrink-film:

  • Cardboard below the bottle-neck keeps the pack in formation
  • Additional strapping band ensure transport safety
  • Carton clip is made of renewable raw material
  • Entire package can be produced from 100-per-cent recycled material and can be recycled after use
  • Requires minimal energy for manufacture
  • Can be conveniently grasped using a cardboard-based handle
  • Offers abundant scope for attractive imprints


LitePac Top for cans – an alternative to Hi-Cones:

  • Cardboard below the can seam keeps the pack in formation
  • Is made from renewable raw material and can be recycled after use
  • Requires minimal energy for manufacture
  • Easy to open
  • Convenient to grasp
  • Offers abundant scope for attractive imprints


And by the way: as an extra treat, the cans can be selectively orientated with the associated machine technology – to position the brand logo prominently on the supermarket shelves, for example, or to form a coherent motif comprising several different can designs.