Colegate Calls for Recyclable Packaging

Colegate-Palmolive has recently announced new commitments to recyclable packaging. In particular, the company has spoken out against the increasing adoption of non-recyclable flexible packaging.

More and more products are now being sold in flexible, non-recyclable plastic packets. Raisins were once commonly packaged in little cardboard boxes, but now they use flexible packaging. Likewise, drinks traditionally come in bottles, which are usually made of glass or PET, or else in aluminium cans. All of these can be economically recycled. But now, some products such as Capri Sun, which is immensely popular with children around the world, come in flexible packaging that is difficult or impossible to recycle. All in all, 2012 saw sales of products in such flexible packaging reach levels of over US$26 billion in the US alone.

So what has made companies invest in the formers, forming tubes and other packaging machine accessories necessary to completely change their packaging to a non-recyclable option?

Cost, of course, could be one factor. Flexible packaging is often cheaper to produce, offsetting that initial investment in new forming sets and packaging machine accessories. Nonetheless, it is surprising in these days of environmental awareness and increasing corporate responsibility to see such a large shift away from recyclable materials.

However, some companies may have made the change with genuinely good eco-intentions. In the short term, manufacturing this packaging generates lower levels of emissions and uses less material. However, while this makes sense in the short-term, the fact that these products cannot be easily recycled offsets the initial advantages. There are few disposal options available except for incineration or landfill, and then the manufacturing process for new packaging begins again from scratch.

Indeed, misguided views on the eco credentials of flexible packaging are making their way to the very heart of the packaging industry. In a recent interview, green design advisor and sustainability architect William McDonough said “I see packaging awards being given to these pouches as more efficient containers of, say, a cereal.” He then pointed out that this product, traditionally placed in an easily-recycled cardboard box, is now “wrapped in seven plastics with undefined inks and metallized polymers. It doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it because you could never recycle it… And yet it’s being put forward as a more efficient package.”

Now Colegate have taken their stance against this non-recyclable packaging, they seem to mean business. For three out of four product categories in the company’s portfolio, they have committed to making all packaging recyclable by 2020. For their remaining product category, oral care, they are working on development of a recyclable toothpaste tube, or a new kind of recyclable packaging to serve the same purpose, so that the remaining products can follow suit.

Packaging trends 2014: Predictions

With 2014 still in its infancy, now is the right time to consider what the year ahead holds for the packaging industry. Expert predictions have indicated some interesting potential developments, so it’s important to take note of these ideas and plan accordingly, in order to ensure that you are a leader in your industry. Taking advantage of advanced predictions in terms of machinery, health and safety, and the environment are just some of the considerations when studying the upcoming trends over the next 12 months.


Environmental considerations

More and more people are tuning in to the importance of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and the need for materials to be recyclable and sustainable. For a growing number of people, sustainability is cited as an integral factor when they choose which products to buy or use. This rise in awareness and interest in sustainability is reflected across all business sectors, and it is therefore becoming increasingly important for packaging manufacturers to focus on environmental issues. In terms of packaging, one way to become more environmentally friendly is to reduce packaging sizes to as small as possible. As a result, formers and machinery like forming collars and similar pieces of packaging machinery need to be able to manage and cope with reductions on package sizes. Forming tubes and shoulders can, when used correctly, also reduce wastage and aid sustainability.


Health and safety

Concerns over the safety of products continues to loom large within society, and it is therefore important for packaging manufacturers to consider this. In particular, food packaging must be able to provide safe and healthy consumption. As awareness rises regarding diet, people are taking more and more interest in nutritional information. The packaging industry has recognised this by incorporating key nutritional details on packaging. Meanwhile, demand grows for smaller portion sizes, and many packaging companies are now looking to include such products, for example 100 calorie snack packs. Reducing pack sizes again calls for the correct packaging machine accessories, machinery and equipment such as forming tubes and forming collars.



As brands grow, they not only look for localised growth, but in maintaining a global presence with a recognisable character. As a result, design is as important as ever in terms of packaging. While slight changes to packaging design may continue to occur to match localised tastes and trends, consistency is becoming more and more key to keep up with the demand for instantly recognisable brands. Creating packaging that includes colour, shape, and logos (along with layout) can be important to establishing and developing a recognisable brand.


Retail relationships

The demand for packaging from the retail sector continues to grow. Many retailers are now looking to provide own brand alternatives to established brands, and as a result require professional and engaging packaging. Manufacturers therefore have an onus upon them to justify the premium prices that they command. In order to cope with the demand of high quality packaging from retail groups, packaging machine accessories and machinery must be correct. Forming tubes and forming collars are a vital step in offering structural improvements to retailers through packaging.