Eric Pavone, the Region Business Director for Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and the Caucasus, at BOBST, speaks about the role technology plays in sustainability
How does technology contribute to sustainability?
Technology innovations in the packaging industry play a central part in sustainability by introducing new solutions that optimize materials and consumables, manufacturing processes, supply chain infrastructure, and end-of-life recycling. New technologies reduce the waste of materials, time, and energy throughout the entire value chain supporting the goal of establishing a true circular economy for packaging.
What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice?
BOBST is leading innovation in sustainable packaging production continually setting new milestones on the journey towards net zero. Together with a number of technology partners, the company has introduced a raft of ground-breaking solutions that satisfy the demand for more environmentally friendly packaging.
One example is the BOBST oneBARRIER family of new alternative and sustainable flexible packaging solutions developed to reduce the use of multi-laminate filmic materials that cannot be recycled. oneBARRIER PrimeCycle is an EVOH- and top-coat-free, high-barrier PE material that has been developed as an alternative to metallised polyester film. A polymer-based mono-material, which is recycle-ready while retaining excellent barrier qualities, oneBARRIER PrimeCycle has been awarded EU-wide certification with a recyclability level of 98% by Institute cyclos-HTP GmbH. Meanwhile, in response to the increasing demand for more fibre-based options as alternatives to plastics, oneBARRIER FibreCycle is a full paper, a mono-material, recycle-ready solution created together with partners Michelman and UPM.
Taking a fully holistic view, BOBST recently presented its “One Complete Solution” – a wide range of different integrated workflows, equipment, and processes combined to demonstrate a fully optimized flexible packaging workflow – from pre-press and flexo plate production through to automatic plate mounting and setting, CI flexo printing, quality control, and solventless lamination – all part of the BOBST portfolio.
But the company’s sustainability efforts go beyond the core materials and equipment to encompass many associated processes. Working in cooperation with DEC-IMPIANTI S.p.A., BOBST has highlighted how to increase the efficiency and sustainability of printing and converting lines with DEC solvent recovery units (SRU). SRUs are used in solvent-based manufacturing processes to control emissions of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) to comply with environmental regulations and directives. Recovering these solvents for direct reuse, at a low cost, can also generate important savings.
Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
Green energy is important; however, it is just one of many aspects that can contribute to the circular economy of packaging. To increase sustainability, every single process must be examined and assessed to find new ways to reduce waste and lower the impact of packaging on the planet.
How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
There are not really specific actions at the local or regional level in this regard, apart from alternating work from home with work in the office. However, Bobst AF&ME is actively encouraging customers to adopt more sustainable solutions and collaborate with a wide range of partners in the industry during roadshows to present solutions such as SRUs from DEC-IMPIANTI S.p.A. (see above) that can help customers reduce their carbon footprint.
What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Waste continues to be a major problem for many converters, which is why high-level quality control is paramount. BOBST ACCUCHECK offers 100% inline inspection at full speed supporting the production of zero-fault packaging. The system is available as an in-line solution for inspecting folding cartons on BOBST folder-gluers and comes as standard on the BOBST DIGITAL MASTER series of All-in-One label printing presses.
What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
BOBST’s transformative technologies are designed to enable converters to meet sustainability goals, but to advance further they must digitalize and connect each of the processes in their business. BOBST CONNECT is a user-centric platform, which can be shared by BOBST equipment to link all steps of the workflow, and improve efficiency, control, and data knowledge to drive quality, productivity, and sustainability across the entire value chain.