How to Reduce The Waste of Resources via Modern Packaging

In this day and age, packaging has become indispensable in our everyday life, especially in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. There are regulatory frameworks dictating the disposal of production waste and operating materials that have played a major part in waste management. However, it lies in our hands to lessen the burden on the climate. How can we reduce the consumables on a large scale with the help of modern packaging?

VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association advances the interests and encourages member companies in machinery and (post-)printing processes as well as in paper production. Through the “Circular Competence” interview series, the VDMA association members reveal their company preventions and solutions for the path towards a circular economy. In this interview edition, the managing director of Hugo Beck Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG in Dettingen/Erms, Timo Kollmann, was invited to provide insight into minimizing the impact of the ecological footprint of packaging and printing as the representative of the world’s leading company in film and paper packaging technology.

Green Concept and Philosophy of Hugo Beck

Hugo Beck Maschinenbau promotes a recycling and less waste concept in its production, for instance by generating electricity with its own solar power plant. Besides saving energy, the enterprise implements an environmentally friendly painting process by using cleaning systems with solvent recovery. The company’s green concept reflects the employee’s philosophy, as the managing director told VDMA: 

“A good third of our employees now come to work by bike.“

Circular Economy Solutions at Hand

The specialist in film and paper packaging systems can boast about its modern drive technology with energy recovery that contributes to a circular economy by additionally optimising the packaging processes and thus saving consumables. Mr. Kollmann explains further with an example of cucumber packaging: Usually, it takes 40 to 60 micrometres (µm) to make a film in which cucumber is wrapped around. At Hugo Beck, by contrast, they have developed solutions to work with much thinner films, specifically such films that are less than 10 µm thin. The managing director sums up the company’s secret recipe: 

“With the same amount of plastic, four to six times more cucumbers are packed and the unnecessary waste of energy and resources due to the losses is put to an end.“ 

Above all, Hugo Beck’s machines can process not only thinner films, but they also work with films made of up to 80 % recyclable mono-material. With his expertise in packaging, Mr. Kollmann recommends customers: 

“[I]f you invest in cheap drive technology and immature web guiding, you end up paying for it through the additional consumption of film, paper, and energy – and thus pollute the environment. The extra cost of modern technology is usually amortised within the first two years.“

Environmental Awareness Is on The Rise

Just as the circular economy is a global megatrend, so are Hugo Beck’s machines in high demand. Mr. Kollmann is convinced that mechanical engineers, material suppliers and consumers should join hands in order to minimize the ecological footprint of packaging. Furthermore, the managing director discloses the company’s ongoing collaborative research with a university:

“[W]e are developing bio-based coatings from waste from wine production, which make paper water-repellent but still recyclable.“

For Hugo Beck, the food and drug sectors remain a challenging field to develop new approaches whereby the obligatory packaging must be served for safety reasons. 

Can you think of any other indispensable packaging where sustainable solutions need to be implemented? Do not hesitate to share your opinion in the comment section.

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