The current SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19-pandemic has underscored it again: protecting sensitive, vital products remains an important contribution that packaging systems make to sustainability. As well known, damaged, spoiled, or contaminated food and medical products are harmful for both human beings and the environment. With their packaging systems, film manufacturers like Südpack Verpackungen GmbH & Co. KG are aiming to make a system-relevant and sustainable contribution to ensuring a safe supply for the population, during and after the current “corona crisis.”
In the at-times heated debate over plastic packaging, the company says a central aspect is often neglected, which is that when it comes to protecting sensitive and easily spoiled food products like cheese, meat, or sausages, in many cases there are hardly any equivalent alternatives for plastic packaging. “Choosing not to use plastics often means making significant sacrifices in product protection and shelf life,” says Erik Bouts, spokesperson for the senior management of the Südpack Group. Meat products, for example, should have a longer shelf life of up to 25 days—without compromising on quality and hygiene. And Südpack films are meant to deliver similar benefits for many other food products.
Bouts says that plastic and sustainability do not need to be opposites. Rather using plastic in this case would diminish the strong negative impact on the climate budget that the loss of resource-intensive products due to spoilage or damage creates. The company’s films are designed to prevent these types of loss and also serve as a barrier to protect package contents from contamination by bacteria or viruses.
The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture has classified film packaging systems as system-relevant: by ensuring safe transport and helping citizens to plan and set aside provisions, they say film packaging systems are a needed component in providing the population with safe, uncontaminated food products. Consequently, for the past several weeks film production has been running at full speed at Südpack headquarters in Ochsenhausen and its other sites. In some instances, the company has added extra shifts as well as additional safety measures.
Safe packaging for medical products
Film packaging systems have also become important in the Healthcare sector: sterile packaging is required for syringes, bandages, diagnostics, and numerous other healthcare products. Film packaging systems are designed to not only protect against damage but also against contamination with germs.
Südpack Medica manufactures tailor-made film packaging systems for a broad range of medical, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic products—some of which the company reports are being used to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19. In Switzerland, Südpack Medica is a system-relevant KRITIS supplier and member of the Swiss MedTech association.
For the past 30 years, Südpack Medica has manufactured packaging systems in accordance with hygienic standards in ISO 7 and ISO 8-certified clean rooms. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Südpack Medica has further increased its standards and introduced additional measures to ensure e.g. the necessary distance between individual employees. The company is keeping its production sites running at maximum capacity in order to safeguard the availability of urgently needed packaging for medical products.