Light weighting for stronger environment impact

Light weighting for stronger environment impact

Sustainable packaging involves designing a pack for increased use of life cycle inventory (LCI) and life cycle assessment (LCA) to help develop a packaging that reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It includes a look at the whole of the supply chain: from basic function, to marketing & value communication, and then through to end of life (LCA) and rebirth.

Light weighting is a sustainable practice that aims at maintaining the life cycle of inventory while reducing its carbon footprint by limiting the usage of plastic. It is a process by which the existing packaging is adjusted and redesigned to reduce the overall weight of the item. Light weighting is done by innovations in materials, like replacing packaging material with a lighter weight alternative as done using the foaming technology or cutting down the amount of packaging material by redesigning the packaging.

A recent innovation in light-weighting is foaming technology. Foaming is a process that is accomplished by controlled infusion of inert gases like CO2/N2 etc in a suitable layer of polyolefins. This allows overall reduction of the density of the plastic material and hence lighter weight.  Following the principles of light-weighting, at Manjushree we have been able to achieve a weight reduction of up to 20% for one of our malt-based health drink supplements manufacturing clients.

Redesigning is another technique to achieve light-weighting. We have been proactively offering light-weighting solutions through various design innovations to our customers over the history of our association with them. Our unique designs towards light-weighting are already proven like Super Short Neck Jars/Caps is one of the patents. We have recently introduced the Neck Support Ring (NSR) which will enable to reduce the weight of the Bottle/Cap and a couple of patents are in pipeline especially towards Light weighting plus tamper-evident features. For some of our beverage customers, we have achieved lighter weight up to 34% in PET by reducing the wall thickness or thin walling the packaging design.

Frequently asked questions

Light-weighting of PET, how can it be done?

Light-weighting of PET can be achieved by redesigning packaging material to reduce the weight without compromising its quality. The redesigning can be simple like replacing handles with grips within the packaging design to hold a container. Light weighting in PET can also be achieved by thin walling of containers to reduce material used.

How can the redesigning technique be achieved?

Design is critical and each material type has its own challenges. There are several factors we keep in mind while redesigning packaging - For example, in PET beverage bottles/containers, the redesigning is achieved by following some of these techniques

a)                   Introduction of technical ribs in the right places to maintain top load with lower wall thicknesses

b)                  Reducing weight in necks where no internal gas pressures are involved

c)                   By redesigning the shape of the container /bottle

d)                  By using higher I.V. resins wherever possible

It is also important to consider the filling operations of the packaging. If the bottles are filled using ‘Jet Stream’ air systems which work with neck handling, then the bottles must have a special space below the lowest part of the neck to transport the bottles in the filling line.

Labeling is another important element to consider in a light-weighting project. If a thin-walled bottle is labeled before filling, it is more flexible, making labeling difficult and inaccurate. It is therefore important that light-weighted bottles especially the ones that are thin-walled should be labeled after the filling.

Is Manjushree exploring light-weighting for PET products?

We have been proactively offering light-weighting solutions through various design innovations to our customers. We have done design innovations like thin walling for water bottles, replacing handles with in-mold grips for efficient handling of milk jars/bottles apart from various super short neck jars made for different customers.

Chat with us to know more about our sustainability projects.

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