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A packaging with two temperatures, bags and bottles with high recycled content and sustainable barrier packaging were exhibited at MeetingPack 2019

On 29 and 30 May, the fourth edition of MeetingPack took place in Valencia, an event that has already established itself as an unmissable international event for the plastic food packaging industry and which on this occasion has brought together more than 350 professionals from the sector under the slogan ‘Sustainability trends in barrier packaging: towards Objective H2030’.

The sustainability of packaging and especially single-use packaging is a matter of concern to the society and around which European legislation is being developed in order to promote more eco-friendly packages. The industry has been aware of this need for many tears and it is already meeting this matter with new developments thanks to innovation.

MeetingPack 2019 was an excellent opportunity for companies to show their developments to the industry and society. For that purpose, sponsors and speakers had a special area to showcase their most innovative products.

For example, attendees were able to meet the latest innovations in packaging of Danone. One of them was Lanjarón 1.25 litres bottle that is 100% rPET and 100% recyclable, the packaging with the largest quantity of recycled plastic of the brand. The multinational has thus made a step forward in its commitment to sustainability. In 2016, their commitment was focused on using 15% of recycled plastic in this entire range. Thanks to this bottle, it has made significant progress in recycling solutions and the recycling of the plastic material used.

On the one hand, Knauf Industries talked about its latest innovations in expanded polystyrene (EPS) and expanded polypropylene (EPP). They introduced two sustainable alternatives that are gaining ground in the food-contact plastic packaging value chain due to their high performance and recyclability. In this respect, innovations like compartment systems with EPP modular partitions that make possible to have two different temperatures in one packaging. Thus, one box can contain fresh food (at 2 ºC) and frozen food (a -18 ºC) at the same time. Thanks to this, cold packaging can be easily distributed optimising both economic and environmental costs and making distribution more flexible. On the other hand, Enplater Group introduced its developments in more eco-friendly films, sheets and trays.

Comexi discussed the challenge of sustainability through the developments of products that combine taking care of the environment and aesthetics. They exhibited packages with visual effects such as transparent windows and paper touch effects as a sustainable alternative to attract consumers. On the other hand, Cadel Deinking talked about the use of recycled material as a replacement for virgin resins and presented their bags for automatic packaging, which are 50% made of deinked recycled plastic. In this way, the company offers an added value to post-consumer materials.

Furthermore, SP Group talked about PE HB ECO packages made of recyclable material with a polyethylene-based structure and high barrier properties. They are remarkable due to their capacity to withstand thermal treatments such as pasteurisation, hot filling and microwaves. It is also characterised by their high transparency. All these solutions are very interesting for a large number of foodstuffs.

Klöckner Pentaplast introduced, among other developments, an rPET recyclable tray made of at least 95% of recycled material, which reduces the carbon footprint and obtains, with minimum weight, maximum resistance.

In the MeetingPack exhibition area, we were also able to see the first oxygen-barrier PVOH coating to be applied in the printing and lamination process of flexible structures, shown by Artibal, which has been developed within the COAT4PACK project in conjunction with ITC and Plásticos Romero. These new packages replace co-extruded EVOH structures with more sustainable ones. In particular, it has been achieved to reduce both the manufacturing process and the thickness of the multilayer barrier structure. For that purpose, oxygen barrier coatings have been developed to be applied by means of printing technologies that allow the lightening of the structures of food packages in comparison with the multilayer EVOH structures.

Leading industry companies such as Unilever and AMC Juice talked about their Circular Economy strategies and how they are addressing the challenge of reducing, reusing and recycling their innovations, introducing their key developments.

Lastly, AIMPLAS and AINIA introduced two projects in which they are participating. On the one hand, the NIASAFE project, focused on analysing, monitoring and minimising the migration of Non-Intentionally Added Substances (NIAS) to food-contact packaging and, on the other hand, the REFUCOAT project, which is focused on developing new materials to package food in a more sustainable way. Within this project, barrier coatings are being developed, as well as bioplastics to be used in films and trays as an alternative to the current aluminium-based structures.

In this edition, MeetingPack has the support of the following sponsors: Knauf Industries and Enplater Group (Gold sponsors), Polyram, Kuraray, Plásticos Romero, Mitsui Chemicals, Zwick-Roell, Systech Illinois, Bemis and Hinojosa (Silver sponsors) and Mondi, Grupalia Pack, TPL and UBE (Bronze sponsors), as well as the support of food companies, associations and bodies such as Acesur, Angulas Aguinaga, Carretilla, Coren, DCOOP, GAC, Hero, I+DEA (Grupo Cerealto Siro Foods), Noel, Ecoembes, Fundación Plastic Sense, ANAIP, Cicloplast, ATEF, Embalaje Flexible España, ASOBIOCOM, AVEP, FEDACOVA, REDIT and PACKNET. Mass media such as Packaging Europe, EPPM, Eurocarne, Futurenviro, Plast21, Gestores de Residuos, Retema, Revolve, Cárnica 2000 and Tecnopack participated as media partners.