Due to the critical importance of sustainability in the packaging industry, DuPont Co. will continue to place special emphasis on sustainable innovations in the independently judged DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.
However, in a departure from the past 20 years, sustainable packaging entries no longer require plastics as an essential component, DuPont said. Entries also don't have to include DuPont materials.
In her Sept. 9 call for entries for the 2009 awards, made at the Sustainable Packaging Forum in Denver, Carolann Haznedar, vice president of DuPont Packaging, said sustainability matters to consumers and packaged-goods companies alike.
DuPont's 2008 award winners included Kraft Foods Inc.'s redesigned and lightweighted PET salad dressing bottle and U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer Group plc's corn starch-based, compostable chocolate box insert. ``We look forward to equally significant entries from around the world for the next competition,'' Haznedar said.
Presentations Sept. 11 at the conference highlighted the development of the salad dressing bottle and the confectionary tray.
The 16-ounce-serving PET bottle, produced by Plymouth, Mich.-based Plastipak Packaging Inc., shrank an older design to 30 grams from 37 grams, and improved the bottle's shelf and pallet footprint. That saves Kraft 3 million pounds of PET annually, and allows for more bottles on outgoing trucks and on store shelves. Plastipak spokesman Kurt Wolschleger said his company also developed tooling efficiency that allows preforms based on the design to serve several Kraft product lines.
In one example, he said, ``We were able to harness the [neck size] from 38 to 33 millimeters; that allowed us to increase the [mold] cavitation from 96 cavities to 144 cavities, which is on par with some of the [newest] tools in the industry for beverages and water,'' Wolschleger said.
Melbourne, Australia-based bioplastics firm Plantic Technologies Ltd. designed the Marks & Spencer chocolate box insert, which is thermoformed by StÃ¤ger & Co. AG of Muri, Switzerland.
Plantic Vice President Thomas Black said Marks & Spencer wanted to switch from PET to bioplastics confectionary trays as part of its corporate sustainability goals of 25 percent reduction in packaging by 2012. It also wants to boost home composting by its customers.
``Brand owners are the key to driving these kinds of materials and these kinds of innovations,'' Black said. ``We need to get the converters involved early [in the design process] to help them get their heads wrapped around these processes, these new materials that they haven't handled before.''
Entries for the 2009 awards will be accepted until Feb. 13.