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New SIG carton cuts CO2 from dairy packaging

By Guy Montague-Jones , 27-Aug-2010
Last updated the 27-Aug-2010 at 13:34 GMT

SIG Combibloc has launched a new 1-litre aseptic carton pack for long-life milk products that shaves 28 per cent off the carbon footprint of its standard packs.

The new EcoPlus format has a new composite structure made with more than 80 per cent wood fibre, which gives it a higher content of renewable raw material.

Life cycle comparison

According to an independent life cycle analysis, the new carton pack reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 28 per cent compared to a conventional SIG carton of the same format.

This assessment, delivered by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Germany, extended from the acquisition and processing of raw materials to the carton sleeves leaving SIG production plants.

SIG said the special unprocessed form of cardboard used gives rigidity and protects the contents from potential light damage. A new, ultra-thin polyamide layer was added as a barrier technology as well as thin internal and external layers of polyethylene to keep out moisture.

Availability and plans

Initially, SIG said the EcoPlus carton will be used in the long-life milk and dairy segments. The first customer to offer the new carton is Milch-Union Hocheifel – a major European manufacturer of long-life dairy products. The German company plans to use the EcoPlus carton for its range of UHT milk products.

For the time being the EcoPlus will only be available for the combibloc Slimline (1,000ml) but SIG plans to adapt format to other products in due course. The concept will also be expanded to include aseptic carton packs for non-carbonated juice products.

The EcoPlus carton packs can be processed using the standard filling machines from SIG – all that is required is a one-off adjustment to the filling machine parameters.

News of the EcoPlus innovation comes on the back of the announcement at the start of the year that SIG had achieved certification for a continuous chain of custody (CoC) at all its production sites world-wide and become one of the first firms in Europe to market aseptic cartons bearing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Mix label.

In 2009 the company, which specializes in carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food, achieved a turnover of €1.2bn. It is part of the New Zealand based Rank Group.

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