A Sydney-based firm supplying packaging to many of Australia's major food processors has won a national industry award for cookie trays that use 35 percent recycled plastics.
PET packaging manufactured by Signum Specialties Pty. Ltd. for Sydney-based Arnott's Biscuits Ltd. was recognized in the sustainability category of this year's Packaging Council of Australia awards, announced Oct. 4 in Melbourne.
Signum Chief Operating Officer Julian Creus said the trays formerly were made of polystyrene.
``We made the switch to PET about three years ago and, in the past nine months, have shifted to 35 percent recycled PET,'' Creus said.
He said Arnott's uses about 2.4 million pounds of biscuit trays a year, so the shift to recyclables will save nearly 728,000 pounds from going to the landfill.
Signum also supplies PET packaging with 35 percent recycled content to other major food processors and retailers.
He said Signum bought a plastics recycling plant in Wodonga, a town about 200 miles northeast of Melbourne, three years ago to help produce more environmentally friendly packaging, as demanded by consumers and suppliers.
The company already had thermoforming and extrusion plants in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, New Zealand, employing a total of 150.
Plastic trays of a different kind also were recognized at the PCA awards for their innovative design, product safety and ability to be recycled.
Sydney-based FormRite Packaging Australia Pty. Ltd. won an export award for developing trays used to send respules - the components housing medication used in asthma sprays - to Japan.
Michelle Kolnar, FormRite senior account manager, said the trays, made from high-impact polystyrene, were developed specifically for the Japanese market.
Kolnar said Sydney-based pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca Australia Pty. Ltd. needed a tray that provided secure transport for respules, while also taking into account the need for further handling in Japan.
The Australian drug manufacturer is a subsidiary of London-based AstraZeneca plc.
Kolnar said the respules themselves, produced by another company using medical-grade PVC, were filled by AstraZeneca and packed for shipping to Japan.
``The trays needed to hold the respules tight so there is no movement in transit,'' she said. ``That meant a great deal of precision was needed in the design.''
She said the trays, each holding 160 respules, also needed to fit into machinery in Japan that removed the respules for retail packing.
``The trays were designed with a flange for side support, a ridge to stiffen them and clips at the ends to seal the lid securely,'' Kolnar said.
``The ribbed tray is stronger and holds the contents in place with maximum accuracy for automated unloading.''
Kolnar said the HIPS trays are colored dark blue for three reasons. ``It's to protect them against light and heat, but also for cultural reasons,'' she said. ``The Japanese associate the color with health and cleanliness and the trays are supplied only in that color blue because it is so significant to them.''