Raising awareness

The substitution of plastic by paper does not stop with flow bags, and Rovema GmbH from Fernwald is accordingly working on public education. In a white paper, the machine manufacturer summarises the advantages and disadvantages of the choice of packaging materials from a technical point of view.

For some time – and not just since the current sustainability debate – the central Hessen company has been looking into ways of reducing consumption of energy and packaging materials. What is new, however, is the broader approach of transferring the ideas of the recycling industry even more strongly to the world of packaging.

“As a manufacturer of packaging machines for flexible packaging, it makes sense to replace the packaging materials usually based on petroleum with new alternative packaging materials. Paper is one option, but not the only one. This results in a multitude of questions for our customers on the application of the principle. Our current whitepaper is intended to help clarify the debate, which can become complex, particularly with regard to sustainability and product safety,” emphasizes Peter Lökös, Vice President Sales at Rovema GmbH.

However, very few of the participants in these discussions have any awareness of the consequences of switching to paper packaging. Often no paper solution is possible for technical reasons, e.g. achieve food safety or creating a barrier, and if there is one, it still involves higher costs or a reduced shelf life.

Converting existing plants for paper applications is not an easy task, and replacing plastic with paper is also not easy from a product point of view. This very complex topic has been on the minds of the flow bag manufacturer for some time. Rovema is making detailed information publicly available at FachPack 2019. Converting a packaging machine from plastic to a paper packaging material can in practice cover the full range of possible actions: Depending on the machine design (e.g. machine age or installed technology) and the objective of the packaging material substitution, no action may be needed in certain cases, and a paper packaging material can be processed directly on the existing machine with a new formula (machine setting). However, it may also be that retrofitting a machine makes no sense, due to the design or for economic reasons. The specialists from Fernwald near Giessen analyse different options with the customer. The white paper “Packaging with paper” is available for download at https://www.rovema.com/ingenieurswesen/verpacken-mit-papier, and offers an initial balanced decision-making aid.

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