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Innovative New Sustainable Packaging Materials at PACK EXPO

PMG editors fanned out across PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2023 in search of packaging innovation. Here's what they found in Sustainable Packing Materials.

RyPax and CelluComp
RyPax and CelluComp

Sustainable Packaging wasn't the only area of interest at PACK EXPO. Click the links that follow to read more about innovations in:  Cartoning  |  Case and Tray Packing  |  Coding and Marking  |  Conveyors and Material Handling  |  Inspection and Detection  |  Labeling  |  Form/Fill/Seal  |  Food Processing & Packaging  |  Robotics  |  Pharma  |  Controls

When it came to suppliers of packaging materials at PACK EXPO, the focus from an innovation perspective was pretty clearly on sustainability. Fiber-based containers, expanded use of PCR, bio-based solutions, monomaterials that simplify recycling, and “green” developments in e-commerce were all front and center. Grouping these things into neat categories is difficult, so here they are in a somewhat—but we hope not entirely random—order.

First up: a fiber-based bottle now being developed for product categories including beverage, beauty, health, medicine, and food. Behind this notable development are two firms with considerable experience in sustainable materials. One is molded fiber packaging producer RyPax—the international division of The Wing Fat Printing Co., Ltd.--with offices and production facilities across the U.S., Macau, and China. The other is Scotland-based CelluComp, whose proprietary microfibrillated cellulose product known as CurranR is made from the waste stream of root vegetables, primarily sugar beets. A quick look at what each firm brings to the table helps clarify what this ambitious fiber-based bottle development is all about.

The molded fiber that RyPax makes is a step or two up from the everyday molded-pulp egg carton. First, RyPax containers are fully recyclable and biodegradable, and they’re only made from materials sourced from responsible green suppliers. Often enough, the source materials are things like fast-growing bagasse and bamboo. Second, egg cartons are usually made on high-speed rotary pulpers followed by a drying process, and only then is the material pressed and formed in a secondary step. The resulting product does not have a smooth cosmetic finish—but then again, if the package being made is an egg carton, who cares how smooth the finish is? RyPax technology , on the other hand, is an inline process, as drying, finishing, and molding is all done inline. The resulting product is smooth, clean, and attractive enough for the high-end electronics, pharmaceutical, and health and beauty applications that RyPax specializes in.

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