The Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) presented four 2011 Sustainability Awards on Sunday, March 20, 2011, at an Awards Banquet during its annual Management Meeting, March 20-23, 2011, at The Boulders Resort, Carefree, AZ.
Winners include Celplast Metallized Products, Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Menges Roller Co., Wauconda, Illinois; Mitsubishi Polyester Film Inc., Greer, South Carolina; and Taghleef Industries LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Now in its third year, the Sustainability Competition recognizes equipment, materials or processes that reduce environmental impact, minimize energy usage or waste, and/or increase recycling. It’s part of a larger awards program that includes Technology of the Year and Vacuum Metallized or Coated Product of the Year competitions.
Cel-Met and O2 Barrier metallized sealants from Cel-Plast permit downgauging of approximately 25% without compromising the barrier properties or performance of the barrier laminate. The Cel-Met sealant replaces metallized oriented polypropylene to reduce a three-ply structure to two plies while providing an oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of 4.0 cubic centimeters per 100 square inches per day and a water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) of 0.08 grams per 100 square inches per day. The O2 Barrier sealant replaces metallized polyethylene terephthalate to convert a three-ply structure to a two-ply and provides even higher barrier properties: 0.04 cubic centimeters per 100 square inches per day OTR and 0.05 grams per 100 square inches per day WVTR. Eliminating the need for a second pass in the lamination process also conserves adhesive and reduces energy requirements 31% for solvent-based structures and 11% for solvent-less. Carbon dioxide emissions also drop: 34% for solvent-based laminating and 30% for solvent-less. Applications include stand-up and peg-display pouches.
The judges noted the metallized sealants reduce steps in the process and achieve a significant source reduction. “It’s a new way of looking at structures and definitely a step in the right direction,” concluded one member of the panel.
The Tiger-Max thermoplastic urethane roller covering from Menges Roller Co. is a recyclable replacement for the rubber traditionally found on rollers that help move flexible material through converting and packaging machines. The elastomeric covering also offers excellent chemical resistance, superior load-bearing, and better cut and abrasion resistance. Unlike rubber roller coverings that typically end up in a landfill at the end of their life cycle, the thermoplastic material can be recycled into new coverings.
The judges predict the Tiger-Max roller covering will cut costs and benefit converters and anyone else that runs roller-equipped machines. Members of the panel also noted the potential for reducing the amount of material sent to landfills.
To increase recycling of silicone-treated polyester liner material used as a carrier for pressure-sensitive labels, Mitsubishi Polyester Film has established a closed-loop recovery and recycling system. This liner-to-liner recycling process produces Reprocess™ Sustainable Liners with recycled content and diverts spent liner material from landfills and export for use in low-end applications. A cradle-to-gate analysis by a third-party evaluator shows the Cumulative Energy Demand for the production of 1 kilogram of PET chip from recovered spent liner is 92% less than for the production of 1 kilogram of virgin chip. The carbon footprint is smaller too, 74% less. Mitsubishi expects to recover several million pounds of spent liner material the first year and significantly reduce its carbon footprint as well as landfill costs for customers.
Judges view this liner-to-liner closed-loop recycling system as vastly superior to the fate that currently befalls spent liner: landfill or shipment to China for recycling into low-end products. “This is creating a market for spent material,” they concluded.
A flower sleeve made of heat-sealable Nativia™ NZSS biaxially oriented polylactic acid (PLA) film from Taghleef is derived from a renewable source, corn. The compostable material, produced at Taghleef’s facility in San Giorgio Di Nogaro, Italy, not only protects the flowers during transport and handling, but also presents an eye-catching appearance. Compared to petroleum-based polymers, PLA offers a smaller carbon footprint due to the lower energy requirements of the production process and the carbon dioxide absorbed by the corn as it grows.
The crystal clear front and metallized back of the PLA flower sleeve captured the judges’ attention. The panel also liked the renewable source and compostable nature of the film, which can be disposed of with the flowers.
The judging panel for the Sustainability Awards Competition included Vince DiTrolio, vice president/owner of DiTrolio Flexographic Institute, Broadview, Illinois; Travis Funk, senior packaging engineer, Diageo, Norwalk, Connecticut; Jeffrey T. Weber, research principal, Kraft Foods, Glenview, Illinois; Stan Kopecky, principal, SJK Packaging Associates, Prospect Heights, Illinois; Pat Reynolds, editor-in-chief, Packaging World magazine, Chicago, Illinois; and Yolanda Simonsis, associate publisher/editor, Paper, Film & Foil Converter magazine, Chicago, Illinois. AIMCAL Awards Committee Chair Steve Sedlak, sales manager for ESK, Ceradyne, Inc., Costa Mesa, California, moderated the judging session.
AIMCAL represents converters of metallized, coated, and laminated flexible substrates and their suppliers. The international nonprofit trade association also includes a CEMA Division focused on the interests of converting equipment manufacturers. The group is headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA. Membership information is available on-line at www.aimcal.org