IFCA seminar discusses plastic pollution

The Indian Flexible Packaging & Folding Carton Manufacturers Association’s (IFCA) organized a seminar discussing technology for sustainability in consumer packaging at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai on 28 September 2018. This seminar was hosted alongside PackEx 2018 exhibition.

12 Oct 2018 | By Abhishek Muralidharan

The day-long conference shed light on pressing issues faced by the flexible packaging players and deliberated on the sustainable alternative of plastic packaging, up streaming of supply-chain, implementation of EPR and the merits of the circular economy. 

Speaking on building efficient recycling infrastructure, Edward Kosior, managing director, Nextek, said, "PET bottles are completely recyclable but putting a PVC label on the bottle makes it a challenge for the recyclers. Also, the degradable bags being used now are oxodegrdable, which are more harmful to the ocean bags and can be detected by a fast test by Nextek.” 

Kosior stressed on the need to end the dig-use-discard era and recover the materials the manufacturers make so, that it can be recycled. 

According to Kosior, the recycling multi-layer packaging is the most challenging part. The case in point is barrier films, which have not been created from the point of view of recycling. There should be large recycling operations for the big four resins which are LDPE, PP, HDPE and PET.

 Edward Kosior, managing director, Nextek

The recycling activity should be 70 percent of the packaging production. He mentioned that the energy recovery is the main end-of-life strategy which may surprise many people hoping that “bio-plastics” might just happily disappear without further efforts.

“There is a need to design the entire recycling process and final cease the inundating the ocean with plastics. This means re-cycling operation investments by resin manufacturers and brand owners,” Kosior added.

Suresh Gupta, chairman, Huhtamaki PPL in his keynote speech addressed the issue of waste management. “Today what is ‘Plastic Waste Management’ will become ‘Packaging Waste Management’ and finally turn into ‘Solid Waste Management’.”

Suresh Gupta, chairman, Huhtamaki PP

“The quality of the society can be judged by the quality packaging, a good society consumes without damaging the environment. We should adapt to a simple statement that is business with purpose, as it affects the billions of people, it should raise the standards for the existing human race,” added Gupta.

Ramaiah Muthusubramanian of Unilever said, "Levers will move from linear to a circular economy. The strategy is to educate the consumer, enable EPR models and collection infrastructure, and also enable recycling and recovery infrastructure."

Ranjan Sinha, general manager corporate-QA, Parksons Packaging spoke about gable top cartons, which are 100% BPA free. No synthetic adhesives are used during the manufacturing of these cartons and the inks used are low migration inks, he said.

Sinha added, "Cost of packaging and processing is 40% of the rates in Europe, along with the skilled labour and the available resources in India. Therefore India is an attractive investment destination."

According to Sinha, The paperboard for acquired for gable top cartons are sourced only from responsibly managed forests which are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and is 100 percent renewable. 

Ramesh Ramchandran, associate director, PepsiCo, said “We must evolve our packaging materials and upstream supply-chain. Shipping less air into the chips packets have numerous benefits such as it improves the overall supply chain density.”

Ramesh Ramchandran , associate director, PepsiCo

He also emphasised on the vitality of bioplastics. The industrial compostable chip bag is comparable in feel, noise and performance to PepsiCo's current bags and certified to be industrially compostable by TUV Austria. The new Danimer resins that are blends of biopolymers and mineral filler give the bag its white exterior and can be processed in blown film lines for improved ergonomics.

"Government regulations will play a key role in how we roll out various packaging technologies in different regions," added Ramchandran.

Jayachandran Nair, business head, flexible laminates for India, Middle East and Africa at Henkel Adhesive, spoke about the ultra-low monomer LA 3712/6222 which focused on the food safety utilizing primary aromatic amines (PAA). According to Nair, PAA influences food safety in packaging which is scrutinised extensively.

Nair said, “Authorities are expected to set lower specific migration limits for primary aromatic amines (PAA) in the near future.”