Archive for January, 2010

68k tonne cut in packaging weight – but is that good?

Posted in Business News, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Recycling on January 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 4 Comments

I don’t want to belittle the progress that Kraft has made in reducing the weight of its packaging but you have to ask the question, how much of this reduction is due to the move from heavy glass jars to light weight laminated pouches? 

There is no doubt that this will have had a huge positive impact on there transportation footprint, which is great – but what about the end life of the laminate pouch?  I’m still waiting to be convinced that high temperature recycling of laminates is really the right way to go.  And what about the end consumer, how many of them know how or where to recycle laminate pouches compared to those that can and do easily recycle glass jars?

Great marketing story though. (Jane Bear)

Kraft Foods has revealed it has cut 68,000 tonnes of packaging from its products around the world in the past five years.  To read the full article visit packagingnews.co.uk

Article by Simeon Goldstein, packagingnews.co.uk, 29 January 2010

French to make environmental labelling compulsory

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Environmental Issues, Legal on January 28th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 18 Comments

This appears to be coming as a surprise but the French government seem very keen on bringing environmental labelling on packaging into force by January 2011, that’s only 11 months away now, so not much time to implement any changes to existing product packaging. 

Whilst I understand the motives behind the French move and admire them for trying to make a difference I’m not sure this is the best way to encourage manufacturers to lower their environmental impact, I’d be interested to hear your opinions. (Jane Bear)

Interesting article  – within the Grenelle Law for the environment, the French government would like to make the labelling of a number of environmental indicators on certain products a legal requirement from January 2011.  For the full article visit cosmeticsdesign-europe

The clock is ticking – is your pharma packaging compliant?

Posted in Business News, Healthcare & Pharma, Legal, Opinion, Safety on January 28th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 8 Comments

As we hurtle towards the end of January (already you say????) it is time to focus the mind again on packaging legislation.

We are routinely coming across pharma companies (small & large) who just don’t keep up with or monitor changes in packaging legislation, that will have a major impact on their businesses.

A good example is Braille legislation which is now MANDATORY for ALL pharma packs sold in Europe and has to be in place (i.e. on packs on the market) within the next 7 MONTHS.

As a consequence of non-compliance, an estimated 20% of pharma companies could have their products de-listed and taken off the market. So why do companies ignore it?

The following link will take you to a very interesting and comprehensive article on the European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer (EPM) magazine website: Braille labelling on medicines packaging

This article will give you some good tips on how to ensure that you comply and a summary of it has been printed in the latest version of the EPM printed magazine. Chris Penfold

Is this really environmentally friendly?

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology on January 27th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 6 Comments

I find it hard to believe that heating material to 500 degrees celseus in order to ‘recycle’ it can be truely environmentally friendly.  Surely the amount of energy needed isn’t going to be offset by the materials that can be salvaged, particularly when you consider that more energy will be needed to reprocess the reclaimed materials as well.

This article by Josh Brooks shows that the technology is now there, but is it really the right way to go? (Jane)

Commercial UK recycling of aseptic cartons, toothpaste tubes and pouches is to move a step closer when a little-known recycling technology company opens a showcase site later this year.  To read more go to the full article at packagingnews.co.uk

Only 25% shoppers are ‘aware of renewable packaging materials’

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling, Retailers on January 26th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 4 Comments

Why am I not surprised that only a quarter of consumers are aware of renewable materials in packaging and even fewer have heard of FSC, research from the carton producers association ACE has found. I wouldn’t say that the benefits have been particularly well marketed to the industry, let alone consumers.

Research carried out among 1,001 shoppers for the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK found that just 26% of consumers had heard of renewable materials being used in packaging, while 16% knew of the FSC chain of custody logo.

Although I’m aware that mixed material cartons are now collected at some supermarkets (in the UK), it seems to be ‘patchy’ to say the least. The Tetra pak website provides some useful information, but I for one am not convinced that widespread and adequate infrastructure is in place to process these once collected, what impact processing has on the environment and what real usage there is for the recovered materials afterwards. Tetra Pak state that materials can be “used in furniture, to generate energy or even separated out into pure aluminium and paraffin.” But I wonder how much of that actually happens?

Cartons may well state that “purchasing this FSC certified carton from Tetra Pak supports responsible forest management worldwide”, but there are no statements about the other materials that need to be separated.

So come on FSC, if you’d like to provide us with the relevant information so that we can all make an informed judgement as to the pros & cons, we (in the industry) can help you spread your message.

Chris Penfold

Here you can read the rest of the article: ‘Three shoppers in four ‘unaware of renewable packaging materials’: study‘ Dated 25th January 2009, Via Packaging News website.

Something for the weekend? may not be what you bargained for!

Posted in Branding, Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Healthcare & Pharma, Legal, Marketing, Product News, Safety, Tweets on January 25th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 9 Comments

A recent Los Angeles Times article examines how an increase in counterfeit condoms in China has health officials fearing the worst — the products “may in fact spread infectious diseases, tarnishing the axiom that condoms mean safe sex.”

The newspaper continues, “Authorities estimate that up to a third of the contraceptives used in some parts of China are counterfeits, despite improvements in state food and drug oversight. None of the counterfeits are properly sterilized, and others are of such inferior quality that they could rupture during use.”

The article details how authorities are attempting to track down what they estimate are more than one million condoms distributed throughout China, and notes how the knock-off condoms were uncovered in discount stores in New York, Texas and Virginia in 2008.

Thanks to @TheBodyGlobal for bringing our attention to this article via Twitter. More articles like this can be read at: www.thebody.com

Brewing & beer packaging – gets the ‘thumbs up’

Posted in Associations, Branding, Drinks Packaging, Events, Marketing, Opinion, Training on January 25th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments

On the 9th December 30 members of The East Midlands Packaging Society (me being one of them) visited The Marston’s Brewery at Burton Upon Trent, UK. The Marston’s Beer Company is the brewing division of Marston’s PLC and is responsible for some of Britain’s best-loved beers, including Marston’s, Banks’s, Jennings, Hobgoblin, Mansfield and Ringwood. Their award-winning ales collected five international brewing medals at the Millennium International Brewing Awards.

We had a great and insightful visit – shame if you missed it. If you live within travelling disctance of Nottingham/ East Midlands, why not come along to one of our future events?

You can read the full ‘visit report’ and find out more about the forthcoming East Midlands Packaging Society events by clicking the following link: Marston’s Brewery East Midlands Packaging Society Visit Report

Chris Penfold

External Relations Officer, East Midlands Packaging Society (part of IOM3)

Anti-microbial self-cleansing medical device breakthrough

Posted in Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Product News, Technology on January 22nd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 7 Comments

This is a fantastic example of materials innovation by Queen’s University Belfast in the growing area of drug-device combination products, moving beyond just the drug component by adding some stimulus-sensitive property to allow the catheter to respond to a potential infection. Watch this space to keep up with any further developments in this area. Chris Penfold

A polymer that combines drug-eluting and self-cleansing agents could reduce the risk of bacterial infection through urinary catheters, say researchers at the University.

The material, derived from esters of acrylic and methacrylic acid, is melt-extruded in a confidential multilayer extrusion mechanism to produce a catheter surface that continuously delivers antimicrobial agents over prolonged periods, minimising bacterial colonisation.

‘Although medical device technology has made significant advancements, the inherent problems associated with implanted urinary devices and the significant role microbial biofilms play in device-related infection are now widely recognised as major disadvantages of an otherwise highly effective treatment strategy’, says Dr Gavin Andrews, who is leading the project at the University’s School of Pharmacy.

Via Materials World Magazine, 01 Jan 2010

Click on the following link to read the full article Self-cleansing medical devices

Sound Industry Advice to Assist Tylenol Wooden Pallet Issue

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Materials, Safety on January 21st, 2010 by Jane Bear – 8 Comments

Sterling Anthony has given some detailed technical advice we may all wish to consider for the palletisation of our products.  Annie Dallison

 It’s not an appealing topic, but it has grabbed recent headlines.

The Tylenol national recall—ongoing at the time of this article’s publication—is a reminder that wood pallets can be the source of packaging/product contamination. Such a capability is reason for brand owners to have in place a Pallet Purity Program (PPP).

Written by Sterling Anthony, CPP.  Published in Packworld.com 20th January 2010 to read the full article to follow this link http://bit.ly/5uLMHF

Life-saving packaging in Haiti

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Opinion, Safety on January 20th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 3 Comments

As we move into the second week following the Haitian earthquake, things have been fraught for the local population, most of whom have been without food, water, electricity, or a roof over their heads. During that period dead bodies have been piling up all over the place, including hospital car parks where medical supplies have been in short supply and many of the surgical operations that have been carried out, have been done without anaesthetic.

Medical, food & water supplies packaged to survive a harsh environment

Medical, food & water supplies packaged to survive a harsh environment

Although of no consolation to those that have perished over the past week, luckily the logistical situation is improving now that US ships have arrived and helicopters are finally getting to the places they are needed with those essential supplies. It is at times like this that we are reminded of the true worth of packaging,  in an environment where there are no fridges to keep things cool and packaging has to perform an even more essential role than normal in a very hostile environment. The packaging contains, avoiding spillage. It protects against crushing, vermin & pilfering. It preserves, providing protection for the products within and extended shelf life. It enables ease of transport, whether by plane, truck or onwards by hand and lastly it informs, providing vital information on contents, storage, dosage and application.

In summary, it provides a lifeline where, without it, medical supplies would arrive dirty and non-sterile, food would ’spoil’ within hours and water would become contaminated, leading to dysentery and further distress and trauma. So, packaging, where on earth would we be without it? Chris Penfold