- July 01, 2009, By Yolanda Simonsis, Associate Publisher/Editor
Independent judges were tasked to separate the wheat from the chaff, placing emphasis on innovative package design and sustainability, as they selected this year's ten winners and eight notable accomplishments of the 21st DuPont Packaging Awards competition. Facilitated by director Anne Johnson of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, judges honored winners at a global online virtual event May 28 that included exchanges on key sustainability topics in the packaging industry as well as solutions for end of life.
The science behind (re)designing packaging to minimize packaging content and improving environmental performance while also being more cost effective, says William F. Weber, VP and general manager for DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, requires that the industry works “together to achieve these kinds of innovations, which is why DuPont sponsors the independently judged, industrywide DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation….”
Even a recessionary economy imposing stress on consumer spending has not changed consumers' green buying habits. Recent studies reveal that 44% of consumers say they have clung to their green preferences, and surprisingly, a third of consumers say they are more likely to buy green today than previously. Additionally, 55% of consumer goods producers say they are committed to sustainability initiatives, with packaging for 76% remaining as their top focus area.
Judges evaluated more than 120 entries based on seven innovation factors, including resource and energy optimization and enhanced performance. Shown here is a selection of breakthrough technologies from among the top ten winners.
Package Lightens Up
Ecolean Group's lightweight packaging from Sweden (pictured above) was cited for a revolutionary approach to cutting package weight by 50% and using natural material to significantly reduce materials in construction. Judges recognized this aseptic package for enhanced performance and clean production, noting innovative design and use of materials that enable significant resource reduction and energy savings. The handle design eliminates the need for a separate rigid pouring holder. Empty package weight is just 14 grams, almost half the weight of cartons. Calcium carbonate (chalk) reportedly reduces the amount of polymer required for the structure. Low weight and volume permit larger shipment quantities/truckload.
Invisible Case Polyouters from Procter & Gamble (Belgium and Turkey) were distinguished for resource and energy optimization, cost-effective economics, and enhanced performance. An innovative clear polybag replaces corrugated for 80% weight reduction and 20% volume compression, enabling more efficient transport and improved stock handling for multipacked detergent pouches.
Less Is More
All Days Pads, another Procter & Gamble product, received recognition for enhanced performance, cost-effective economics and resource, and energy optimization. A new secondary package design uses less materials while it enhances retail appeal and increased store efficiency — a real bonus for retailers wanting to reduce the amount of packaging in their stores. A total systems design approach resulted in smaller packs with a tray and hood carton that reduces material and store labor while appealing to the consumer. Less ink usage resulted in an 80% print savings.
Pouch Breaks Glass Barrier
Unilever's oxygen-sensitive Bertolli Pasta Sauce switches to a stand-up pouch from Amcor Flexibles (US) while overcoming the barrier hurdles previously assured in glass jars. Using 70% less materials, the pouches were acknowledged for enhanced performance and resource and energy optimization. Consumers can microwave the product right in the pouch, representing a vast improvement over glass jars, while retaining an equivalent shelf life. As for shipping savings, one truckload of unfilled pouches equals 25 truckloads of unfilled glass jars.
Rx for Pill Pack Waste
Yet another Procter & Gamble product, Prilosec OTC Pack produced by Alcan Packaging (US), warranted distinction for cost-effective economics and enhanced performance. The pill pack's redesign reduces waste and enables an entire course of treatment on a single blister card.
An Organic Match
Pangea Organics retains the brand's organic positioning and attractiveness with a matching organically composed holiday gift box. An all renewable/recycled/biodegradable carton and label, using vegetable-based inks, support the product's organic features while retaining shelf appeal. Credited for resource and energy optimization, effective recovery, and community benefit, the carton is among the first significant sustainability achievements in the gift box category. For total organic appeal, seeds embedded in the carton can be planted following use.
For a complete listing of award winners, visit www.packaging.dupont.com.