Bag-in-Box Containers: 5 Things You Need to Know

Sustainability in packaging cuts across the entire supply and manufacturing chains. This means that every step in the process must contribute to the sustainability of the finished product, while providing the benefits brand owners want.

Why Flexible Packaging Matters

One of the primary goals of brand owners and food packaging suppliers is zero food waste. To attain that goal requires the use of advanced flexible packaging technology. Bag-in-Box technology is becoming increasingly popular  for liquids such as wine, juices, and other liquid consumer products, as well as for food products such as ice cream and other dairy items.

Flexible plastic packaging for Bag-in-Box applications comes in a variety of thicknesses depending on the requirements of the brand owner, the food producers’ fill lines, and polymer materials to meet specifications. To help food to be more shelf-stable and to last longer when refrigerated after opening, barrier packaging is one of the newest technologies used for flexible packaging applications for food.

Barrier film is a multi-layer film consisting of co-extruded polymer materials such as high-barrier Nylon (Nylon 6 or Nylon 66)/EVOH and PET (polyethylene)/oriented Nylon. Nylon offers excellent clarity and stiffness, and provides a good oxygen and aroma barrier.

Bag-in-Box Makes the Grade

CDF’s Bag-in-Box, a combination of a fiberboard box encasing a polymer inner bag, has proven to be an ideal solution for many food packaging applications. Here are five things you need to know about this packaging:

1. Protection and Lightweight Properties:  Bag-in-Box offers high levels of protection for the contents, both food and beverage, during transportation, while the lighter weight of the packaging combination reduces overall weight of the shipment, saving on fuel costs and lowering the carbon footprint.

2. Food Waste Reduction:  The multi-material barrier layers keep food fresher longer, thus helping to reduce food waste, and are FDA-approved for food contact.

3. Certified as Safe: Bag-in-box flexible packaging offers additional safety for food products. For instance, CDF recently passed the rigorous testing requirements for the design of its Bag-in-Box, receiving the UN Certification for its 20 Liter packaging.

4. Greater Sustainability:  The plastic bag in the Bag-in-Box packaging is sustainable in many other ways as well. Plastic file is energy-efficient to produce. At end-of-life, the Bag-in-Box can be completely recycled through both the fiberboard and the appropriate polymer recycling streams, including the injection molded dispensing nozzles found in liquid dispensing Bag-in-Box applications.

5. Security: Bag-in-box packaging can offer additional security for food contents. For example, with CDF’s Smart Seal Technology, the contents of the Bag-in-Box are secure whether a pillow or form-fit bag is used.

Bag-in-box

CDF’s Bag-in-box packaging makes the grade for sustainability.

Reaping the Rewards of Bag-in-Box Packaging

Flexible bags, which are easily accommodated by automated fill lines, help manufacturers reduce food waste while offering sustainability through end-of-life package recycling. This makes bag-in-box packaging an ideal choice for brand owners and food and beverage producers alike.

With more than 40 years of experience in packaging design and manufacturing, using the latest state-of-the-art polymer processing/extrusion machinery, CDF is a total solutions packaging provider with the know-how to give you the latest technology combined with CDF’s innovative approach to customer challenges. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more.

Exploring the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Circular Economy

What kind of spin can flexible packaging put on the “circular economy”?

For years, sustainability has become an increasingly important aspect of packaging. The latest significant development in sustainability has been the concept of the circular economy. As applied to packaging, simply put, this involves planning every aspect of packaging—materials, design, conversion techniques, distribution, use and recovery—with an eye toward minimizing consumption of materials and energy, and maximizing reuse. To be truly effective, a circular economy requires participation by everyone in the supply chain, including: packaging materials suppliers, converters, product manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and recyclers.

Challenges for Flexible Packaging

With flexible packaging, especially for food, users face a unique set of challenges in participating in the circular economy.

One of the biggest such challenges is that in most cases, truly closed-loop recycling—i.e., making food packaging into more food packaging—is not an option. With few exceptions, Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit recycled material from being used in food-contact packaging.

Even if recycled material could be used for food, flexible packaging has some inherent disadvantages. Many flexible films used for food consist of multiple layers of different polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH). Recycling different polymers together is impossible when, as often happens, they have incompatible molecular structures. Also, most recycling centers are not set up to process flexible packaging; their machinery can only handle rigid plastics.

IBC and Bag-in-Box Contribute to Circular Economy

However, bulk flexible packaging, such as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and bag-in-box, has a big advantage when it comes to the circular economy—and its manufacturers and users are in a position to minimize or overcome its disadvantages.

A major aspect of the circular economy is energy consumption. A big part of that is minimizing fuel used for transportation, by cutting down on distances—and weight. The latter is an ongoing, inherent advantage of bulk flexible packaging. It is lighter and takes up less space than almost all rigid bulk packaging alternatives, meaning that more product can be delivered per tankload of fuel. And because it is almost always one-way packaging, there are no transportation return costs.

IBCs are used almost exclusively for industrial applications. In the food sector, this means delivering bulk loads of liquid, semi-viscous, or powdered ingredients to food processing plants. (Bag-in-box often is also used this way, to deliver smaller loads.) This means the supply and return chains can be more tightly controlled than with consumer products. It is therefore easier for suppliers and their industrial customers to make sure that used flexible packaging gets collected and delivered to a recycling facility that is equipped to handle it.

Environmentally friendly food packaging

When the flexible material is monolayer, or consists of multiple layers that are chemically compatible, recycling is relatively straightforward. Even some film structures that comprise incompatible materials can be processed with a “compatibilizer” chemical such as DuPont’s Fusabond.

Because of FDA regulations, most resin recycled from flexible material cannot be processed into material intended for food contact. However, it will be available for non-food end uses such as shipping bags, sacks of fertilizer and other farming/gardening materials, newspaper bags, etc. This does not quite close the circle perfectly, but it comes much closer to the “circular economy” model than simply landfilling the discarded material.

For more information about smart flexible packaging choices, download our Bag-In-Box brochure today.