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SIG announced another industry first for responsible sourcing by purchasing 100 % of the aluminium for SIG aseptic carton packs with certification to the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) standards globally from January 2023. SIG is the only packaging provider to offer aseptic cartons with ASI-certified aluminium and enable customers to include the ASI label on its packs.

SIG has led the way in offering the world’s first packaging materials without an aluminium layer for aseptic cartons since 2010, including a full barrier solution without an aluminium layer launched in 2022. But these are not yet available in all formats and many of SIG’s aseptic carton packs still require an ultra-thin layer of aluminium foil to protect the food inside.

Through ASI certification, SIG is demonstrating its commitment to source aluminium for its packs responsibly. ASI sets leading standards for responsible aluminium production and sourcing, covering a broad range of ethical, environmental and social topics, including specific limits on carbon emissions in the production of aluminium.

By requiring all its aluminium suppliers to meet ASI standards, SIG is helping to improve performance in supply chains and drive lower-carbon aluminium production. This in turn supports reductions in the value chain carbon footprint for SIG and its customers.

Crown Holdings, Inc. announced that its Brazilian subsidiary CROWN Embalagens S.A., plans to build its sixth beverage can plant in Brazil. The new two-line facility will produce two-piece aluminum cans in multiple sizes and have annual capacity of 2.4 billion cans when fully operational. The first line is expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2022, followed by the second line in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The new plant will be located in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil to meet the growing demand in the region for beer and soft drink cans. Crown has been operating in Brazil since 1942 and has a strong presence with two-piece aluminum beverage can plants in Cabreúva (São Paulo State), Estância (Sergipe State), Ponta Grossa (Paraná State), Rio Verde (Goiás State), Teresina (Piaui State) and a beverage end plant in Manaus (Amazonas State). The new plant will expand Crown’s annual production capacity in Brazil to 13.3 billion cans.

“Brazil is an important growth market for us and our partner, Évora S.A. This expansion will help meet the country’s increased demand for beverage cans and demonstrates Crown’s continuing commitment to grow with our customers,” commented Djalma Novaes, President of Crown’s Americas Division. “The aluminum beverage can is perfect for the Brazilian market; it is recyclable and sustainable, is shipped easily and most efficiently preserves the quality of the beverage product for the ultimate consumer.”

South Korea’s Ministry of Environment has recognised the recyclability of Ecolean’s aseptic packages, which rank higher than most other food and drink packaging solutions in the country’s new recyclability grading system.

The absence of aluminium, which is often used for aseptic cartons and other liquid food packaging, means Ecolean’s portfolio ranked ‘good’ in a four-grade scale to determine how easily packages can be recycled.

The announcement follows South Korea’s introduction last December of the Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources, requiring food and beverage packaging to contain labels that show a material’s recyclability grade, thereby encouraging resource efficiency and the use of easy-to-recycle packages.

A nine-month grace period for businesses to comply with the new regulations ends this September.

“The South Korean Ministry of Environment’s grade of the Ecolean packages’ recyclability only confirms that we are on the right path – developing and manufacturing unique packaging solutions that make a difference in the long run,” said Paul Mellbin, Senior Advisor, Ambient Technology at Ecolean.

“As a global producer of lightweight packaging, Ecolean makes it easier for consumers, liquid food brands as well as the environment.”

Aluminium-free packaging

Ecolean’s lightweight portfolio consists of aseptic, flexible packaging made from polyolefins and up to 35 % chalk, which gives the packages their strength, stiffness and smooth surface.

The printed, shaped and fully sealed packages are sterilised using electron beam treatment before shipping to the filling machine at the customer’s site. Prior to opening, filling and sealing in the filling machines, the outer surfaces of the packages are desterilised using a system of 1 % peroxide spray and UV light.

“The fact that our type of sterilisation process is separated from the filling machines and performed at the Ecolean manufacturing plants is quite unique in the industry and something we are very proud of. It makes the process easier for our customers, and that as well as having sustainability in mind when designing our lightweight packaging solutions is key. The confirmed recyclability of our packages in Korea just further adds to the fact that our unique approach is crucial for the beverage, dairy and liquid food industry” Paul Mellbin said.

Ecolean increased its footprint in South Korea last year with Yakult selecting its Air Aseptic range for two new launches in the country.

“The Ecolean package is the perfect fit for us, since it is lightweight and flexible, yet extremely durable. We have already seen a huge interest from consumers,” Jeonghyeon Hong, Marketing Manager, Yakult Korea, said.

The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) will make grants available in 2021 to Material Recovery Facilities (MRF) for aluminum can capture equipment, which will ensure used beverage cans (UBC) are accurately sorted, sold and recycled. Capturing and recycling aluminum cans provides a positive environmental and economic impact as metal recycles forever and UBCs are typically made into new cans.

Aluminum beverage cans currently provide critical revenue to MRFs. A CMI-funded study concluded that without the revenue from UBCs, most MRFs, which are vital to the U.S. recycling system since they sort single stream recyclables, would not be able to operate.  But, while UBCs are typically the most valuable commodity in the residential recycling stream, up to 25 percent of UBCs are missorted at a typical MRF. These missorted cans can be captured with the right equipment, which would pay for itself with the additional revenue.

Directly funded by aluminum beverage can manufacturers Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings, the grant program will provide clear examples of the efficacy and revenue impact that additional aluminum can capture equipment can have for a MRF.  The results are expected to encourage more MRFs to invest in additional aluminum can capture equipment.  Further, Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings are exploring additional recycling programs that they, along with other partners, can implement to leverage additional aluminum can capture equipment in MRFs.

“With this new grant program, the aluminum beverage can industry is demonstrating its commitment to building on the industry’s leading beverage packaging recycling rates,” said CMI Vice President of Sustainability Scott Breen. “Capturing these missorted cans will result in significant additional revenue for recyclers and deliver significant carbon emissions reductions from greater use of recycled aluminum.”

Ball Corporation announced that it has earned the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) certification for all 23 of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) beverage can plants. This accomplishment is a major sustainability milestone for the company and Ball is the first beverage can manufacturer to meet ASI’s environmental, social and governance principles.

The certification accompanies a commitment to significant carbon reductions by Ball, which is now covering all of its operations in the European Union, Serbia and the UK with renewable energy. Ball previously announced agreements for 100 % renewable energy covering all of its North America operations by 2021.

“We’re extremely proud to be the first aluminium beverage can manufacturer to achieve ASI certification,” said Ron Lewis, President, Ball Beverage Packaging, EMEA. “With their infinite recyclability, aluminium cans are the fastest growing beverage packaging type in Europe. As consumers seek more environmentally friendly products, they can have confidence in aluminium’s strong sustainability credentials such as responsible sourcing. The certification, combined with our renewable energy investments, demonstrates Ball’s commitment to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.”

ASI is a multi-stakeholder initiative that provides assurance of responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium throughout its value chain. As consumers demand greater sustainability across packaged goods, the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative’s scheme aims to do for aluminium what the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) did for paper and wood, making sustainability performance a mainstream, visible issue.

Ball has achieved both ASI’s Performance, and Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard certifications.

The ASI Performance Standard is a measure of how much effort Ball is making across its plants to assess, manage and disclose its environmental, social and governance impacts. These include issues such as life-cycle thinking, recycling, greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste management, biodiversity, business integrity and the human rights of both workers and local communities.

The ASI CoC Standard sets out requirements for the creation of a Chain of Custody for material that is produced and processed through the value chain. In Ball’s case, it links verified practices – certified under the ASI Performance Standard – from mining and remelting to casting, rolling, can manufacturing and filling.

“We’re responding to a greater desire from consumers, across Europe and around the world, for genuinely sustainable and infinitely recyclable packaging solutions,” said Kathleen Pitre, Chief Commercial and Sustainability Officer, Ball Corporation. “We’re working closely with our beverage customers to help them deliver on their sustainability commitments including on responsible sourcing practices. Ball is proud of our achievements in getting certified.”

“We are very pleased to award ASI Certification to, Ball Corporation, the world’s largest aluminium can maker and the first in its sector to have achieved this,” said Dr. Fiona Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, Aluminium Stewardship Initiative. “The ASI’s Performance Standard covers critical issues for the entire aluminium value chain. The programme is focused on responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of this important industrial metal. ASI Certification enables the aluminium industry to demonstrate responsibility and provide independent and credible assurance of performance. Supply-chain certification programs like ASI are becoming increasingly important for customers and stakeholders, who seek assurance that companies’ sustainability practices are genuine.”

With 75 % of aluminium ever produced still in use today around the world, the metal has a vital role to play in creating a truly circular economy. Ball is taking a lead on industry efforts to significantly increase the European recycling rate of aluminium beverage cans, currently at 75 %. Recycling aluminium saves 95 % of the energy required for the production of virgin aluminium, and so helps the global community to meet urgent carbon reduction targets.

Ball Corporation launches infinitely recyclable aluminum bottle line

Ball Corporation is launching a new impact extruded aluminium bottle line that provides a circular solution to plastic pollution. In the hands of our sustainability, innovation and product design experts, aluminum is taking shape as a new bottle – the Infinity Aluminum Bottle – that is designed to be made again. Available in various shapes and sizes, this impact extruded aluminum bottle can be customized for numerous food and beverage products. Unlike other substrates in these categories, such as plastic shampoo bottles or jars for cosmetics, Ball’s aluminium bottles are infinitely recyclable, and can be turned into other aluminum products over and over again.

“Plastic waste that ends up in the natural environment has led to more public discussion about packaging, its life cycle and recyclability,” said Jason Galley, director of innovation and sustainability, Ball Corporation. “Consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly solutions for packaging their everyday products. We combined our product design and sustainable aluminium packaging expertise to develop another truly circular packaging solution – the Infinity Aluminum Bottle.”

Ball’s new impact extruded product line is suitable for packaging almost any liquid. The innovative aluminum bottles are available in a range of sizes and formats, and are customizable for various products. Ideal categories for the Infinity Bottles include shampoos and conditioners, soaps, body creams, spirits, energy shots, yogurt, dressings, syrups, condiments and more. The bottles are available with a re-closable threaded cap that allows consumers to twist the top on and off.

An infinitely recyclable package

The Infinity Aluminum Bottle line features all of the sustainability credentials of aluminum. Like Ball’s aluminum beverage cans, cups and Alumi-Tek® bottles, the impact extruded aluminum bottle is monomaterial – it consists of only one material and can be easily sorted and recycled. In fact, aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing quality. Aluminum also retains its value throughout the recycling process, so it can be kept in circulation indefinitely without becoming waste and ending up in the ocean or in landfills. In fact, 75 percent of aluminum ever produced (since 1888) is still in use today.1 After use, an aluminum bottle can be recycled and returned as a new packaging format in just 60 days. It can also be recycled to take on a new life as another aluminum product, such as consumer electronics or a bicycle. Other substrates achieve much lower recycling rates and, if recycled, are in many cases down-cycled and eventually become waste.

Lightweight product with endless branding options

In addition to strong recycling credentials, aluminum bottles have a number of other advantages that help improve resource efficiency and enable circularity. For example, aluminum is lightweight, which saves energy in transportation. Once bottles are ready for design, they can be branded without the use of sleeves or labels. Even the most creative and complex designs can be printed on aluminum using the full circumference of the bottle. Ball’s innovative high-definition printing and graphic design technologies such as Eyeris® HD printing, UV light reactive ink, Matte & Gloss, or Tactile printing help

1Source: The Aluminum Association

Frost & Sullivan’s latest analysis, Global Food and Beverage (F&B) Packaging Market, Forecast to 2030, reveals that the need to reduce material usage and develop more sustainable, durable and lighter-weight packaging solutions with lower production costs are key drivers supporting steady market development. Utilizing innovative packaging materials, advancing processing and additives through technological improvements and an uptick in eCommerce distribution will further augment market expansion. While revenue is expected to increase modestly, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.2 % from 2018 to 2030, unit shipment by weight is set to decrease in the short term due to a sustained drive for lighter-weight packaging.

“With rising concerns around plastic pollution and stringent government regulations, manufacturers are seeking alternatives to plastic packaging. This is resulting in an uptick in use of paper and aluminum-based packaging or other non-plastic materials such as biodegradable foods or resin,” said Christopher Shanahan, Global Director, Chemicals, Materials and Nutrition, Frost & Sullivan. “Paper and aluminum are both recycled at high rates and are seen as viable alternatives to plastic with biodegradable plastic films becoming more common as new degradable resin is adopted.”

To differentiate themselves in a well-established, highly consolidated, and competitive market, packaging material suppliers are focusing on specific products such as flexible materials, rigid plastics, and coatings for sachets and pouches. Minimizing packaging costs is a priority so there is strong competition among manufacturers to provide the most cost-effective solutions to customers, including eco-friendly, lightweight products.

“Although manufacturers have already reduced the thickness of bottles and other packaging, they are now looking toward further down gauging and design improvements to make packaging more cost-effective,” observed Shanahan. “For instance, designs such as droplet-shaped bottles have been shown to increase volumes without expanding the package weight.”

F&B vendors can make the most of key opportunities in the market by:

  • Exploring environment-friendly sources of plastics, such a plastic derived from corn, or natural products such as banana leaves.
  • Creating novel packaging solutions with advanced materials.
  • Utilizing the same type of packaging material across several applications to reduce production and processing costs.
  • Exploring emerging markets such as APAC, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • Reducing material and transportation costs by decreasing the thickness of packaging materials.

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Food and Beverage Packaging Market, Forecast to 2030, explores the factors and trends that have shaped the food and beverage packing landscape, the challenges that lie ahead, and the opportunities that can be tapped. The market is analyzed in terms of different packaging material segments, including flexible materials, rigid plastics, glass, metal, and other packaging materials used for containers and closures.

First market launch in Belgium

SIG is making aseptic cartons with ASI-certified aluminium foil available to consumers for the first time in partnership with B-Better®, a start-up brand from Unilever’s Future Platform.

Responsible aluminium sourcing

The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) standard is designed to enhance traceability and responsibility in the aluminium supply chain. SIG is promoting responsible sourcing throughout the value chain by using aluminium from ASI-certified sources for the ultra-thin layer of foil in its packs.

ASI certification adds value for customers by further enhancing the sustainability credentials of their packaging in the eyes of consumers. Customers can now choose to include the ASI logo on their packs alongside the FSCTM logo for responsibly-sourced paper board which has been available on any SIG pack since 2016.

The first market launch for SIG’s ASI-certified cartons will be in Belgium by the B-Better brand.

SIG’s commitment to responsible sourcing is part of the company’s bold ambition to go Way Beyond Good by putting more into the environment and society than it takes out.

SIG is the first in the industry to enable customers to demonstrate their commitment to responsible aluminium sourcing using the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) certification.

Added value through responsible sourcing

SIG offers the world’s first aseptic carton packs that use foil certified to the ASI standard. This add value for customers, brands and retailers by promoting responsible sourcing throughout the value chain – from suppliers all the way through to consumers.

SIG customers also have the option to include the ASI label on packs to show consumers that SIG sources responsibly the aluminium it uses in the cartons – in the same way they can already include the FSCTM label on any SIG pack to show that the liquid paper board comes from responsible sources.

First certification for responsible aluminium

SIG was the first in the industry – and one of the first companies in the world – to achieve certification to the ASI Performance Standard Material Stewardship Principle at the corporate level, together with the ASI Chain of Custody certification for its production site in Austria. The company has now extended ASI Chain of Custody certification to all its carton sleeve production sites in Europe.

The ASI certification enables companies to audit the aluminium supply chain against strict standards on a broad range of ethical, environmental and social topics. Previously, there was no such certification available to certify the ultra-thin layer of aluminium foil used in SIG packs. SIG’s ASI Chain of Custody certification has made it possible for the ASI Standard to be put into practice for the first time in aseptic carton packs.

Europe-wide ASI certification is an important step towards SIG’s target to source 100 % of its key materials from certified sources as part of its ambition to go Way Beyond Good for the environment and society.