Europe’s caps and closures manufacturers are on a deadline. In July 2024, new legislation will go into effect requiring all caps on non-returnable PET bottles holding up to three litres must be designed with a "tether" that firmly attaches the cap to the container, even after it is opened and during use.
The new law is the result of an European Union directive that was adopted in an attempt to stem the flow of discarded plastic caps and closures into the environment, where they end up as plastic pollution. However, complying with the new rules means redesigning not only the caps themselves but in some cases also the necks of the bottles. That may mean making technical adjustments to, for example, the filling system. Making the deadline will be a challenge for many; others have already taken major strides towards achieving this goal.
One of the companies that has wasted no time in getting ahead is U.S.-based TriMas Packaging of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
While the EU directive is an "industrywide challenge," the group has proactively made significant investments. This included the acquisition of Italy-based Affaba & Ferrari, a manufacturer of proprietary precision caps and closures for customers throughout Europe, at the end of 2020.
With a product offering covering aseptic caps for juices, dairy products and sport energy drinks, as well as tamper-evident, child-proof, flex-spout and other caps and closures used in food and beverage, agrochemical and industrial applications, the acquisition supplemented TriMas’ existing product line, "adding new blue-chip customers and a state-of-the-art manufacturing operation to our European base," according to Fabio Salik, president of TriMas Packaging.
TriMas recently announced that its Affaba & Ferrari brand will introduce tethered caps to the market by the end of 2021. The company accelerated its work in this area, said Howard Manning, vice president of the closure product division.
“Our customers need to be aware of the possible measures they need to adopt and investments they need to make at an early stage, in order to implement against the regulatory backdrop," he said.
The closures, designed for aseptic filling, will feature a new screw and flip concept with a self-locking hinge to protect the contents and for enhanced convenience in use.
TriMas Packaging currently comprises the Rieke, Taplast, Affaba & Ferrari and Rapak brands. The group designs and manufactures specialty dispensing, closure and bag-in-box products for applications in the Beauty & Personal Care, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Nutraceutical, Industrial and Home Care end markets. TriMas Packaging employs some 2,000 employees at 20 locations around the world.