GSK takes a shine to filmless, 'green' holography

A new holographic converting process combined with metallic ink results in recyclable cartons for Aquafresh that dazzle on shelf.

Hp 19049 Aquafresh
A new carton for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare's 6-oz Aquafresh White & Shine toothpaste shimmers with a subtle holographic rainbow effect with a heavy emphasis on the green end of the spectrum. Through the use of new printing technology, the carton is as easy to recycle as a toss into the Blue Bin—something that most holographic packages cannot claim.

“Traditional holographic packaging contains a laminated layer of metallized polyester that does not remove easily from the paperboard, making recycling very difficult,” says Michael J. Larocca, packaging development manager for GSK Consumer Healthcare. “This package has no polyester or metal content. As a result, there is no impact to typical paperboard recycling streams.”

The new SBS Aquafresh White & Shine pack was introduced on store shelves in early summer, utilizing HoloBrite™ filmless holographic technology combined with metallic ink from Henkel North America. HoloBrite technology, from The Specialized Packaging Group (SPG), is a process that applies a holographic effect in-line, combined with a MiraFoil metallic coating from Henkel. This eliminates the laminated layer of metallized polyester typically associated with holographic effects and results in a smooth, shiny surface that glimmers with rainbow bands.

Larocca states, “The packaging was changed for the existing White & Shine product because the company was interested in developing a more environmentally friendly package that was aesthetically comparable and lower in cost to produce than a traditional holographic carton. In addition, SPG performed extensive testing before selecting the HoloBrite and metallic-ink combination.”

The process benefits also extend beyond the carton's recyclability. As Larocca explains, the elimination of several manufacturing steps results in cost-savings and reduced lead times.

--By Anne Marie Mohan, contributing editor
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