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Plasticizers and the future of sustainable packaging: the benefits of SOPURE®

Sustainable packaging as a key element of brand reputation

The latest progress report from The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment once again pointed out that the way plastics are used significantly affects climate change, loss of natural heritage and pollution.
The latter particularly affects the oceans, where tons of plastic is dumped each year. The growing awareness of multinational corporations and the desire to solidify their brand reputation is pushing market giants, particularly those in the food and beverage industry, to safeguard the future of our planet and protect human health.
In 2020, companies adhering to the Global Commitment reduced their use of so-called "problematic" and non-recyclable small-format materials and secondary packaging.
The material most commonly identified by companies as having been reduced or phased out over the past year was PVC.
About 38% of companies, which have or had PVC in their portfolio, have concrete plans to phase out this material.
Companies in the beverage industry have been pushing more sustainable, PVC-free solutions for product packaging for several years.
PepsiCola has switched all SodaStream containers from single-use plastic containers to metal containers.
Pernod Ricard, a global co-leader in the wine industry, has replaced polyvinylchloride caps with aluminum caps for new bottles in its Beefeater alcohol line with a total plastics reduction of 410 tons.
PVC has been subject to restrictions in several European Union countries, especially in the case of some products dedicated to children (rattles, teething rings, pacifiers, and bottle teats) (CHEJ), as well as in the United States, Japan, Iceland, South Korea, and Norway.
In addition, the share of packaging made from reusable plastic, easily recyclable packaging, or packaging made from compostable plastic has increased. This share is at 65 percent of the total, at the expense of other types of materials such as EPS (expanded polystyrene) or PVC.
This push for sustainability in packaging, already developed in recent years in the beverage sector, has extended significantly to the food industry as well (and as we shall see, particularly in the baby food sector).
This is why Pelliconi, who’s been an innovator in the beverage sector for decades and is now a pioneer in the use of PVC-free packaging for baby food, has joined the global sustainability challenge shared by food-safety and environmentally conscious consumers.

PVC-free packaging: the positive trend in the food & beverage industry

Large food & beverage companies such as Danone and Nestlé are introducing reusable, recyclable or 66-67% compostable packaging design. Both giants plan to invest $1.06 billion and $2.2 billion by 2025, respectively.
In particular, Danone has improved its recyclability rate by reducing the use of polystyrene.
Mars Incorporated, meanwhile, has reduced PVC use by 17 percent to a total of 108 tons.
Feinkost Dittmann, the first company to bring to market glass jars with PVC-free twist-off closures, has processed millions of PVC-free gaskets in recent years, demonstrating the effectiveness of these sustainable solutions even with fatty and greasy foods.
Initiatives to recycle and reduce plastic in food packaging include the exponential growth of reusable bags, the spread of food dispensers, and the sale of products such as fruits and vegetables in special plastic-free containers.
The sustainability aspect is closely linked to brand reputation: publicly committing to limiting the use of plastic can only benefit multinational food corporations that have taken action to protect the environment.
The driver of change is also (and especially) in the baby food sector, particularly in glass jar caps.
For some time now we have seen a strong trend toward the elimination of PVC from packaging, particularly food caps. This is because the cap itself can contain phthalates, ESBO, bisphenol A (BPA), and plastic substances in amounts attested to be between 35 and 40 percent, with a relatively low presence of a polymer base (60 percent) .
While playing an important role in the performance of the closure, all of these substances can cause potential migration of unsafe substances into food, especially if the food has high percentages of fat.

SOPURE®: The future of baby food jar capsules.

Research has shown that there are few other materials perfectly capable of replacing PVC while ensuring optimal food preservation and safety. Offering safer food, especially in the baby food sector, is actually an added value, as companies such as DM and Rossmann, which use PVC-free packaging for their baby food, have well understood.
SOPURE® closures from Pelliconi are a clear example of the evolution of sustainable packaging. SOPURE® does not contain PVC, plasticizers and other additives that can migrate into food.
Its liner meets the criteria of EU Directive 10/2011 and PIM, which sets an overall migration limit of less than 60 mg/Kg of substances in food.
SOPURE® is particularly resistant to thermal stress (pasteurization and sterilization processes) and can safely store food for long periods, especially baby food in glass jars.
Characterized by a liner composed of more than 95 percent polymer base, SOPURE® does not contain additives such as plasticizers (e.g., phthalates or adipates), thermal stabilizers (ESBO), which can leach into food.

Technical specifications and advantages of SOPURE®

Since October 2020, Pelliconi has introduced a high-tech production line with a current production capacity of about 40,000 pieces per hour and 300 mln per year.
Laboratory analyses conducted on SOPURE® regarding migration in 80-mL glass containers with 51-mm closures have shown that this revolutionary closure remains well below the stated global migration limit of 60 mg/Kg, even over the long term. Due to its chemical composition, the overall migration rate is lower than that of PVC and is due only to the migration of the lubricant, which remains constant over time.
In addition, the force required to open the capsule is low, the effort is less than 26 pounds per inch, even after months and after, hot filling, pasteurization, or sterilization processes.
SOPURE® is environmentally friendly in that it allows a much easier disposal process and makes it suitable for incineration. When burned in an incinerator, it does not release toxic gases such as dioxins into the atmosphere.
The green benefits of SOPURE® also extend to the compound manufacturing process: less than 38 percent of CO2 is released into the environment (according to a study by Modern Plastic India), further confirming the ecological footprint of a solution like SOPURE®.

SOPURE® is the ideal solution to meet the needs of the baby food market, where the focus on food safety and quality, especially the prevention of its contamination, is in line with the environmental policies of supranational organizations.
SOPURE® is also a guarantee for all mothers, who can be sure that the baby food is sealed in a way that protects children's health.
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