Amcor Rigid Plastics, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging, has won the WorldStar 2015 Packaging Awards for its industry’s highest heat-set polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container.
The new 500ml bottle sets a new benchmark for heat-set PET containers, said Amcor, enabling manufacturers to achieve aseptic filling packaging weights without the prohibitive investment, while offering a more eco-friendly option.
The new product has been initially launched in Central America with future plans calling for distribution throughout the entire Latin America region.
Compared to a standard 500ml heat-set PET container weighing about 34g, the new bottle is just 22g, or approximately 30% lighter. The material reduction increases the bottle’s recyclability and reduces the energy needed for its production.
As said, greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 26%, energy use is reduced by 23%, and water consumption is decreased by 24%. The new container also results in a 26% reduction in the amount of waste that could potentially end up in a landfill.
Currently, aseptic filling applications allow for lightweight bottling, however those systems are capital intensive. Amcor’s new innovative approach to hot-fill packaging, which doesn’t need capital investment in aseptic filling lines, will change the beverage packaging industry, especially for emerging markets, according to Carlos Londono, Senior/Group Lead Designer for Amcor Rigid Plastics.
To ensure the lightweight bottle able to withstand intense vacuum absorption, Amcor applied its VAB technology to the base and ERGO technology to the body. The VAB base is a light weighted diaphragm – like structure that aids in the cooling process by helping to absorb vacuum.
“The structure of the bottle had to be designed to provide both function and aesthetics when absorbing the vacuum,” explained Jeff Klok, Senior Industrial Designer for Amcor Rigid Plastics. “Pushing the boundaries of conventional weights, we found that the light weight of the package was ultimately the biggest challenge.”
Previous containers in Latin America have typically been more robust and rigid, making them harder to squeeze.
“This wasn’t going to be an option for us,” said Mr Klok. “Rather than trying to force rigidity, we embraced the flexibility.”
The Amcor design offers a sleek ergonomic form with oppositional hand grips that flex under pressure. This feature, in combination with grooved finger-holds and a sports cap closure, creates a highly functional squeeze bottle that utilizes the flexibility made available by lightweight for rapid rehydration.
Along with the ultra-lightweight container, Amcor and Bericap developed the industry’s lightest 33mm tamper-evident finish/closure for hot fill, weighing in at just 3.7g. Amcor believes the unique finish will become a new standard for hot-fill bottles due to the 7.9g reduction in weight compared to the standard 38mm ALCOA.
This new finish led to the creation of a Bericap closure with a built-in seal that eliminates rubber liners or induction seal foils, thus reducing overall materials use. The Bericap closure is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) instead of polypropylene (PP) like the previous caps, which is more widely accepted than PP in recycle streams.
The absence of any other barrier materials such as ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or paper/foil also increases recyclability.
Sponsored by the World Packaging Organization (WPO), the WorldStar 2015 Packaging Awards is one of the most prestigious competitions in the global packaging industry. The 2015 competition received 264 entries from 37 countries around the world.
All the winning entries will be recognized during a ceremony at Ipack-Ima 2015, taking place in Milan, Italy from May 19-23.