Greiner Packaging, which has a manufacturing operation at Dungannon in County Tyrone, has successfully developed Project Snap, which, after a period of testing, sees the production of sustainable yogurt multi-packs made from polypropylene.
Over the past two years, following requests from UK retailers, Greiner Packaging has replaced yogurt multi-packs made from polystyrene (PS) with polypropylene (PP).
The company said ‘Project Snap’ has now successfully recreated the ‘snap’ which consumers love.
Yogurt multi-packs have traditionally been made from polystyrene (PS), but there is currently no PS recycling stream in the UK and supermarkets have focused on removing all PS products.
Seeking to deliver a sustainable alternative, in February 2018 Greiner Packaging’s factory in Dungannon began trials using polypropylene (PP), and was first in the UK to recreate a functional multi-pack in PP.
One of the advantages of PS was its ability to deliver a really effective ‘break’ which was initially difficult to achieve with PP.
Leading UK retailer Tesco was one of the first customers to move from PS multi-packs to PP multi-packs, but consumers were disappointed that packs made from the new material did not ‘snap’ in the same way as the previous PS packs.
In July 2020, Greiner Packaging began ‘Project Snap’ to develop and improve PP multi-pack breakability.
By October 2020, the first successful filling trials of the latest PP four-pack had begun, and the new improved yogurt 100g four-packs are now on-shelf.
Multi-pack development from PS to PP has taken considerable investment, but has been achieved faster than originally expected, with ‘Project Snap’ delivering the final part of the story.
“Over the past two and a half years, Greiner Packaging in Dungannon has invested heavily in delivering these multi-packs made from PP and then further engineering to give the same satisfying ‘snap’ as their predecessors,” said Greiner Packaging UK & Ireland chief executive Philip Woolsey.
Greiner Packaging is currently heavily involved in work on the use of recycled materials such as r-PET, r-PS, and r-PP for the food industry, with a view to utilising greater quantities of recycled material in the manufacture of its plastic products in the future.
A holistic approach, together with the search for different material options, should lead to quick results, irrespective of whether an issue relates to new material-specific process innovations or particular food approvals.
“The next step, for PP yogurt multi-packs, will be to manufacture them using recycled PP,” Mr Woolsey added.
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