Digital Magazine

Innovating Safety Child-Resistant Stand-Up Pouches that Meet Sustainability Goals

By Treijon Johnson, Director of Sustainability, Accredo Packaging and Sarah Stieby, Marketing Manager, Fresh-Lock

In the past, brands sometimes had to choose between child-resistant packaging features and sustainability. Pouches, especially, were difficult to engineer with child resistance in mind, so they typically originally lacked child safety feature capabilities. Therefore, many rigid package types employed multi-material structures to meet tamper-resistance and safety goals.

New technology has changed this paradigm, enabling both child resistance and sustainability by improving the end-of-life solutions for these packages. With new mono-material flexible pouch options featuring child-resistant reclosability, we can now help ensure that products that children should not handle without adult supervision are secure while offering a better path toward sustainability.

A groundbreaking collaboration has recently resulted in a stand-up pouch that combines proven Child-Guard® slider technology with high-performance packaging films utilizing recycled content. The result is a stand-up pouch made with 50 percent post-consumer food-grade recycled content. This is a significant milestone, as it's the first time a flexible packaging solution with this level of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content has been available for consumer goods, including the food industry.

While the spotlight shines on child resistance, it's important to note that this innovation did not come at the expense of environmental considerations. Child-resistant technology was implemented within a sustainability framework, ensuring that the packaging materials are engineered to be recyclable wherever possible*, which contributes to a smaller environmental footprint. This dual focus is a testament to the company's commitment to helping safeguard consumers and protect the planet.

A key component of the mono-material stand-up pouch's revolutionary nature is the polyethylene slide closure, which incorporates PCR material for sustainability and necessitates a precise sequence of actions to un- lock. Sliders combined with attractive film properties can provide an aesthetic edge on the shelf — just what companies want to attract customers.

The slider is designed with adult reasoning skills and dexterity in mind, making it intuitive to use, yet complex enough to deter children. This closure seamlessly integrates into the pouch's design, maintaining product integrity and consumer convenience.

Film selection ensures the entire pouch is robust enough to withstand tampering attempts while preserving the product, providing brands with a reliable and user-friendly solution. Further, the pouch contains 50 percent food contact pre-recycled materials, making the overall pouch structure distinctive in its high level of sustainable materials.

Collaboration fueled the introduction of this package, which boasts a closure made from at least 25 percent PCR combined with a trusted RP PCR film, which also utilizes PCR content. The entire package is now a mono-material solution that offers a significant step towards circularity.

The advancement in sustainable, child-resistant stand-up pouches represents a pivotal shift in flexible packaging, where safety and circularity are integrated into the design from the ground up. It is a testament to the packaging industry's ability to innovate in response to critical needs, offering solutions that help protect the most vulnerable.

As we move forward, the focus on child resistance, supported by sustainable practices, will undoubtedly shape the future of packaging, helping make products safer and more secure.

* Recyclable only in the communities that have appropriate recycling facilities.

About the Authors

Treijon Johnson is Director of Sustainability at Accredo Packaging. In this role he leverages a rich background in packaging and is responsible for refining Accredo's robust sustainability strategies to build upon the company's existing successes.

Sarah Steiby is the Marketing Manager at Fresh Lock. With 25 years of diverse branding and marketing experience, Sarah creates ideal consumer experiences and connects people to brands they love.

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