New Alliance Aims to Standardize Sustainability in Flexible Packaging

One of the few perennial snags with flexible film packaging has been limited recycling options and participation. These plastics are generally not recycled to make new food packaging materials, and other recycling possibilities still need to be researched. Unification in testing and designations for recyclability are what the new coalition, Global Plastics Outreach Alliance, aims to resolve.

Three plastics recycling groups have partnered in the coalition: The European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP), Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) and The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). Their goal, according to Packaging World, is to globally simplify plastics recycling protocols for a streamlined process that benefits everyone.

Existing Testing and Design Protocols Vary

All of the groups included in the coalition have developed plastics recycling design and testing protocols. They help determine what is recyclable and how to go about it. The problem does not lie in a lack of research and development, but in protocol consistency around the world.

APR president, Steve Alexander, tells Plastics Technology Online, that the differences between protocols have created a complicated testing process with more steps than should be necessary.

“Differences between our protocols may require a company to conduct three separate tests to achieve the same recyclability designation. We hope to clarify those differences and align all segments of our testing protocols.”

Global Protocols Promote Recycling Innovation

There is no shortage of research and testing in plastics recycling. With every link in the supply chain more committed to sustainability goals, not to mention consumer demand, more manufacturers have committed to developing testing protocols. However, the differences from one organization to the next, says Alexander, require as many as three different recyclability testing processes just to achieve the same designation.

PRE president, Ton Emans, says the coalition should fill a void in the plastics recycling industry. With the “tremendous amount of work done” to improve recyclability, now the industry needs a “coordinated voice.”

EPBP representative, Andreas Christel, says the industry needs simplification. The fewer complications that engineers and designers face, the more innovation can flourish.

Flexible packaging

Unification reduces the possibility of error, speeds up the process, and keeps everyone in the chain on the same page.

Plastics Testing Should Become Streamlined and Reduce Costs

With APR, PRE, and EPBP working together, the future of plastics recycling should become much simpler. Without the coalition, innovation would continue and protocols would evolve. However, they could grow further apart, creating more challenges and unnecessary steps across the industry instead of fewer hurdles.

APR communications director, Kara Pochiro, explained to Plastics Recycling Update that currently, all of the processes are “very similar.” By aligning now, the organizations can grow stronger and more effective together. Innovation that benefits everyone can be shared across the industry. Testing protocols can be developed as a group and implemented at every link in the chain.

In the future, plastics testing for recyclability should require only one step, says Pochiro. Whether for recycling in the United States, the European Union or any other participating country, one test makes the process quicker, less costly, and less confusing.

Currently, recyclability in flexible packaging materials is one of the few enduring challenges. It is not that the plastics are not recyclable, but that there are not enough opportunities to do so. Options for manufacturing using recycled flexible materials also requires further research. In this environment, the Global Plastics Outreach Alliance could advance recyclability testing and support sustainability goals in a significant way.

Check out all bag-in-box packaging options available from CDF by Download our Bag-In-Box brochure.

High Pressure Processing and Flexible Packaging: A Perfect Match

Food manufacturers are under a lot of pressure to produce high-quality products with clean ingredient labels.

Many of them are responding by putting the food itself under pressure.

High pressure processing (HPP), sometimes referred to as hydrostatic pressure processing, preserves food by literally squeezing the life out of microorganisms that cause spoilage. This is accomplished by putting the product into flexible packaging, placing the packages in a chamber filled with water, and inducing hydrostatic pressure in the water of between 43,000 and 87,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure produces corresponding pressure inside the package that is lethal to bacteria, spores, and other microscopic life; it also degrades certain enzymes that would otherwise break down the food. The result is a shelf-stable product.

HPP has a significant advantage over retorting (canning), aseptic processing, and other processes for shelf stability. It does not subject the product to heat. This preserves the food closer to its original state, which is especially important for food that probably will be consumed cold, like juices or salsas. It also accomplishes preservation without chemicals, which is important for processors who want to show consumers a simple, short, wholesome-sounding list of ingredients on the package.

“High pressure processing equipment has allowed our company to provide clean labels to consumers,” Mike Durbin, manager of engineering and plant maintenance for juice producer Evolution Fresh, said in a trade show panel discussion reported in Packaging World magazine.

Minimally processed products with clean labels are especially important in categories like baby food. That is why Johnny Kien, who launched Keen Bean Baby Blends (after founding Green Carrot Juice Co.), chose HPP to process his line of baby food with ingredients like goji, acai, hemp hearts, and chickpeas.

Flexible packaging“It is time to start serving our little ones real food,” Kien told Food Processing magazine. “Our product is as close to homemade, mama- (or dada-) fresh as possible, with the convenience of a spout pouch.”

The technology has been around for about 30 years, with pureed avocados being the first commercialized HPP product. Most foods processed with HPP are at least semi-fluid, such as dips, salsas, and “wet” salads like coleslaw. However, the technology has expanded to solid foods like deli meats. Because the pressure comes equally from all sides, it can treat a whole piece of food without causing damage.

HPP must be done in flexible packaging; rigid packages would not be able to transmit pressure internally. Much of the processing is done in pouches intended for individual sale, but HPP is also done in bulk flexible packaging. This is seen most often in foodservice, where, for example, smoothies in an HPP bag-in-box could be loaded into a dispenser, and in delis and other ready-to-eat areas in supermarkets, for items like bulk wet salads.

By the same token, ingredient processors can use HPP to ship minimally processed, shelf-stable ingredients to their food manufacturing customers. Being able to ship and store high-quality products and ingredients without refrigeration opens up an exciting new dimension for food processors and their suppliers.

Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more about flexible packaging options today!

Factors to Consider When Making the Switch from Rigid to Flexible Packaging

The 2016 State of the Flexible Packaging Industry report showed continued, steady growth, making flexible packaging one of the fastest growing segments available in America. The Flexible Packaging Association says flexible materials grew at a rate of about 2.2 percent for $31 billion in sales that year.

Why should that matter to you? Because in the U.S. and around the world, flexible materials are not just growing in popularity, they are becoming one of the most technologically advanced options you can buy.

Chances are, you have at least considered whether or not you should transition from rigid or semi-rigid containers to flexible options. Before you make the switch, here are a few factors to ponder.

Is There a Flexible Solution for Your Product?

Perhaps the most important factor in deciding whether or not to switch to flexible packaging is whether it will work for you. If the product that you manufacture cannot be safely, easily, and affordably contained, the discussion is probably over.

Fortunately, there is an enormous array of flexible packaging solutions for everything from fresh foods to hazardous materials.

  • IBC liners use multiple layers.
  • Metallized polyester creates a safe water vapor and oxygen barrier.
  • LLDPE films offer crack resistance and durability in a general purpose film.
  • Co-extruded nylon is strong and guards against abrasion damage.
  • UN-certified materials protect the product and the environment.

Through laminating technology, you are not limited to one film only. Combining films lets you customize to meet the needs of the product, the filling machinery, handling practices, environmental factors, storage limitations, and end-user preferences.

Flexible packaging

Your transportation partner might love you for switching from heavy, fragile glass to light, durable flexible packaging.

Can Your Supply Chain Handle a New Packaging Material?

Switching to flexible materials affects not just your business but everyone else’s in the supply chain from the transportation company to the end user. If you switch packing to flexible materials, are your supply chain partners equipped to handle the change?

Flexible packaging is usually easier to handle, not more difficult. It is less prone to breakage and it is much more lightweight than glass, metal, or rigid plastics. Because flexible materials hold more with less, the same product volume takes up less space. There are fewer transportation vehicles needed and less space in storage.

Flexible packaging also helps keep costs down for everyone involved. In fact, cost reduction is one of the most attractive and universal benefits. Packaging Strategies reports that over time, the smaller, lighter qualities could translate to big savings in fuel costs, handling, storage, and product loss.

What are Your Green Manufacturing Goals?

Does your business have green goals? Many companies do, but there is a point where you might hit a wall. Rigid containers can only offer so much toward lowering your carbon footprint. Flexible materials are designed for it.

Unfortunately, when some people think “flexible,” they think “plastics that do not degrade.” It is time to put that notion to bed. Flexible materials are incredibly green and Earth-friendly. Here are just a few of the numerous reasons why:

  • Fewer raw materials
  • Significantly less packaging waste
  • Smaller dimensions
  • Fewer transportation vehicles
  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Fewer carbon emissions
  • Smaller storage areas with less reliance on fossil fuels for conditioning
  • Longer shelf life at room temperature
  • Recyclability (in some, but not all, cases)

If there is room to improve your green manufacturing practices, flexible packaging might be the answer for which you are looking.

No matter what product you manufacture, freshness is vital. Dry goods go stale, fresh foods spoil, and food-borne illnesses put everyone at risk. For foods, better freshness protection by way of improved packaging means less food waste and a lower risk of people getting sick.

One of the most relevant examples today is fresh food and water delivery to people who are desperate for it, such as those who have survived a natural disaster and people living in poverty-stricken areas. Some films also go from refrigeration to heat for cooking without the need for a skillet, pot, or utensils.

Flexible materials offer a longer shelf life, protection against contamination, UV resistance, and many other benefits under extreme conditions. Imagine how they can perform for you.

If you are committed to rigid packaging because it is familiar, think of the humble butter wrapper. It is flexible and it has been around for generations. Flexible materials have expanded beyond the feed sacks and sugar bags of 100 years ago because they work and showed great potential. Food manufacturers around the world are moving toward flexible film packaging now because it works better.

If you are on the verge of making the switch from rigid containers to flexible packaging, we can help. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure for more information.

Top Trends in Flexible Food and Beverage Packaging

Flexible packaging is evolving almost as fast as films roll off the machinery. For the food and beverage industry, this means more choices, more solutions, and packaging that can adapt quickly to the tighter and more ecologically-aware needs of everyone in the supply chain.

Trends in flexible packaging lean toward creating better solutions. What are the current pain points in food manufacturing and how can the industry help solve them? Flexible materials are already known for certain characteristics, such as strength and lighter weight in a comparatively compact size. The horizon promises improvements on those and other fronts.

Advancing Film Technology Works for More Products

Food manufacturers that previously resisted the switch to flexible packaging have more reasons to revisit it. Flexible films and manufacturing technologies are advancing quickly with more and better materials available.

Film packaging manufacturers offer a variety of simple and complex films for different products. For more challenging food products, laminated films combine the benefits of two or more materials, such as oxygen and water vapor barriers. With custom packaging dimensions, you get a solution that is not standard but tailored to the manufacturer’s needs and the product’s requirements. Canadian Packaging says this dynamic nature is what makes flexible packaging poised for more industry growth.

Research and Innovation Make Recyclability a Growing Option

One of the initial concerns about flexible packaging is becoming less of an issue all the time. Recyclability was a stumbling block for some materials and the manufacturers that might have used them. That is changing with a push for more eco-friendly flexible packaging choices and research exploring alternative materials.

In the meantime, recyclability is already happening for non-food products. The flexible packaging that contains jams or dry cereals for a food manufacturer today may contain fertilizer tomorrow. Packaging Digest  notes that recyclability depends in large part on these factors:

  • Designs that make recycling easier
  • Improved recyclable materials collection
  • Better materials sorting
  • More variety in products that use recycled flexible films
  • New technologies
Flexible packaging

Metallized films upgrade flexible packaging to resist moisture, oxygen, and other contaminants.

Better Film Barriers Mean Less Spoilage and Loss

At the consumer level, there is a growing demand for fresh, convenient foods with lighter, stronger, and smaller packaging. Plastics Today suggests that meeting this demand determines whether or not food manufacturers can stay competitive.

With improved films and metalized materials with innovative packaging and filling technology, manufacturers can respond to market demand with packaging that:

  • Resists UV damage
  • Resists oxygen and water vapor infiltration
  • Resists oil transfer
  • Extends room temperature shelf life
  • Resists temperature extremes between freezing, refrigeration, thawing, and cooking

Green Guidelines Become More Attainable

Green practices demand packaging that is less of a burden on the environment. Downsizing with flexible materials helps manufacturers meet stricter guidelines and reduce the carbon footprint of everyone in the supply chain.

Firstly, flexible packaging is smaller than comparable rigid packaging so it needs fewer raw materials. Secondly, manufacturing is much faster so fewer emissions result from the manufacturing process.

Canadian Packaging says, “Manufacturing 780,000 flexible pouches consumes 87 percent less coal, 74 percent less natural gas, and 64 percent less crude oil in comparison to the manufacturing of rigid clamshell packages.”

The green benefits only grow from there:

  • Less storage space required
  • Less transportation space required
  • Lower carbon emissions from fewer trips to transport more product
  • Less product loss from both improved packaging durability and resistance to spoilage
  • Creative packaging design and taps minimize the need to decant into a secondary container
  • Lighter weight requires less heavy equipment to handle and store
  • For hazardous materials, UN-Certified packaging reduces the likelihood of a spill

The flexible packaging industry growth is supported by its versatility and adaptability. If a product changes, flexible packaging can change to keep up with it much more quickly than rigid packaging. If product use or storage conditions change, flexible materials keep up.

Consumer demand might be a driving force behind research, development, and wider implementation in flexible packaging. However, the benefits for the food manufacturing supply chain cannot be overstated. If you are ready to learn more, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure today!

6 Reasons Flexible Packaging Market Will Reach $202 Billion within Five Years

New research into the flexible packaging industry shows dramatic growth is still ahead. According to Persistence Market Research, Pvt. Ltd., whose press release was listed at PR Newswire, the global market is projected to experience a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 6.7 percent between 2017 and 2022. That is based on an industry analysis period that ran from 2012 to 2016.

The flexible packaging industry is not just hot in America; it is growing around the world. From sachet and pouches to bags, films, and wraps, flexible materials have come a long way since the advent of gum wrappers and sugar bags.

Here are six reasons behind the recent surge in popularity and its projected growth over the next five years.

#1: Flexible Packaging is Cost-Effective

Perhaps the most often cited reason manufacturers prefer flexible packaging is the cost. It requires fewer raw materials than rigid packaging options and the materials cost less. Manufacturing is quick, there is minimal waste, both during production and after use, and it costs less to produce. Over a million Americans work in the flexible packaging industry, so supporting it helps keep jobs stateside.

#2: There Is Growing Variety in Flexible Film Materials

Do you manufacture an unusual or uncommon product that requires a custom packaging shape, size, and transfer resistance? There is a film for that. Check with your packaging partner to learn what is available. If you gradually incorporate flexible materials into your packaging repertoire, you can monitor its performance and measure it against the rigid containers to which you are accustomed. Flexible packaging films range from general use to high-tech. There is also vapor barrier film and specialty materials that make packaging UN-compliant.

#3: It Helps Prevent Contamination and Extends Product Shelf Life

The threat of food contamination not only puts your business at risk, it also endangers the health and well-being of the end user. Flexible packaging films can block UV rays, air, water vapor, and oil transfer. Packaging seals are strong and machined in a continuous seam. They are inspected regularly, and cutting-edge equipment adds data collection to the mix. If there is ever a problem, you can track it to the moment it happened and make a course-correction. Food stays fresher, even on a shelf with no refrigeration.

Flexible packaging

Flexible packaging has something good for everyone in the supply chain.

#4: Flexible Materials are Lighter, Smaller, and Easier to Store

Glass packaging is notoriously heavy. Metal is not much better and in some cases, it is worse. Flexible packaging weighs a fraction of what rigid containers do for the same storage capacity. That is partly because you can store more in a smaller container without sacrificing durability, and it is partly because flexible films weigh less than the same volume of metal, glass, or rigid plastics.

#5: It Is One of the Most Versatile Packaging Choices on the Market

If your product changes or you decide to store more or less product than before, switching to a new rigid container could take weeks or months of change orders and manufacturing. That is not the case with flexible packaging. The films used in manufacturing are light, thin, and easy to manipulate. By reprogramming with new dimensions, you can change the size and shape of your packaging without significant downtime.

#6: Manufacturers, Retailers, and Consumers Prefer it

There is a lot to be said for making people happy. Flexible packaging does just that. It is the packaging of choice for consumers and retailers for many of the same reasons manufacturers prefer it. Transportation partners also appreciate the benefits. Smaller containers mean more product fits in one shipment than with traditional rigid packaging. Because flexible films are quite durable, there is much less risk of breakage, product loss, and messes to clean up.

The packaging industry is experiencing a revolution. Flexible materials have been around for generations, but modern flexible films take it to places it has never been. With projected growth over the next five years approaching seven percent annually, who knows what possibilities might arrive in the future? There is only one way to find out. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure and learn why the market is taking off like a rocket.

Download Our Corporate Brochure

How Do UN Hazardous Transport Regulations Compare to US Shipping Standards?

Whether shipping within the United States or abroad, hazardous materials or HAZMAT goods are a special case. Procedural norms for handling them can be complicated, especially when more than one country is involved.

UN Model Regulations guide the international transport of hazardous goods. While not a global rule of law, they are widely accepted. They also serve as a guide for developing and implementing regulations closer to home.

UN Certified Packaging Brings Continuity to Hazardous Materials Handling

One of the first steps in safely handling hazardous materials is classifying them. Is the material a flammable liquid or solid? Is it a gas or an explosive? The UN Regulation Model for dangerous goods has several classifications and they all require special packaging.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the same HAZMAT classifications as the UN  requirements. That is due in part to the need for consistency in handling dangerous materials, whether it is a domestic or international shipment. It is also because UN classifications are accurate. There is little reason to overcomplicate matters.

DOT Rules Apply Across Every Regulated Mode of Transportation

In the U.S. and many countries around the world, the predictable rules for hazardous goods are in effect for every regulated mode of materials transport. Lion Technology explains that whether it is by rail, air, vessel, or motor vehicle, hazardous materials transported within, out of, or through America are equally subject to regulation.

Many rules are the same from one American mode to the next, but each one is subject to special rules as well. As for international transportation, standards such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) take precedence. Again, they are all rooted in or very similar to UN Model Regulations.

UN certified packaging

Some HAZMAT containers have an expiration date.

UN Model Rules are Sometimes More Stringent

Just because HAZMAT packaging is safe inside the United States does not mean it is deemed safe for international transport. Daniel Stoehr of Daniels Training Services writes at New Pig that a good example is the plastic drum container.

In some ways, domestic and international regulations are the same. Stoehr offers these as examples:

  • The packaging must be officially authorized for containing the material.
  • The shipper has determined that the packaging meets general HAZMAT packing rules.
  • The packaging must be clearly labeled with its UN standard classification.

For certain HAZMAT packaging, such as plastic drums, additional DOT or UN requirements apply:

  • Suitable materials and strength for its intended use.
  • No recycled materials allowed without explicit permission.
  • UV protection acceptable if it does not compromise packaging integrity.
  • Every point in the packaging must meet strength standards.
  • Acceptable, standard size openings for filling, emptying, and venting.
  • Secure closure for removable head containers.
  • Within the maximum capacity and net mass dimensions.

For international transport, there is another regulation to meet. Packaging for hazardous materials may only be used within five years after the manufacture date.

The UN Model Regulations were developed by the Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Although they were created and issued as recommendations, the scope of research and level of subject matter expertise of the committee makes the regulations universally valuable. That is why the United States, as well as countries around the world, have created similar domestic rules.

Modeling domestic HAZMAT transport rules after UN specifications brings uniformity to industries that manufacture, package, transport, and store hazardous materials. DOT rules might not be identical in every instance, but they are quite similar.

Remaining compliant with UN-certified packaging standards requires working with a supplier that is innately knowledgeable with product and packaging classifications and the testing required to remain compliant. Having passed rigorous testing, CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box allows you to transport a wide array of goods domestically and internationally. Download this data sheet to learn more about CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box packaging and how it will help you keep your business moving.

Yes! Read the UN-Certified Bag-in-Box Data Sheet

Exploring the Role of Antimicrobial Agents in Flexible Packaging

Whether it happens on your watch or in the hands of the end user, spoilage is waste. It wastes money, food, and the time that it takes to start over again from scratch. If you want to really dig in, spoilage wastes crops, farm worker labor, packaging materials, and transportation costs. Antimicrobial agents could be a solution.

In flexible packaging, antimicrobial agents help control food waste by preventing the growth of bacteria. That, in turn, extends shelf life. It is an emerging idea that could take product freshness to places you never imagined.

Natural Antimicrobial Agents Help Control Contamination

Flexible packaging already offers a superior barrier that protects fresh foods from contamination. It is strong, so it does not carry the same breakage risks as packaging such as glass. The wide range of film choices on the market gives food manufacturers options for protecting acidic juices, oily salad dressings, and dry goods such as cereals, all of which have properties that can degrade or break some types of packaging.

The addition of natural antimicrobial agents enhances the durable and protective characteristics of flexible packaging. Instead of a barrier that only blocks UV rays and moisture, it also prevents bacteria from ruining the food inside.

Natural antimicrobials fall into the “GRAS” or Generally Recognized as Safe category for food additives. MDPI explains that depending on the packaging and the food it contains, they may include these and other agents:

  • Enzymes
  • Organic acids
  • Bacteriocins
  • Essential oils
Flexible packaging

Antimicrobial agents take shelf life from days or weeks to months or years.

The Benefits of Antimicrobial Agents in Flexible Packaging Go Beyond the Ordinary

Food contamination has a far-reaching effect that puts everyone from the food manufacturer to the consumer at risk. Not only do contaminants threaten the health of the end-user, an outbreak of food-borne illness can destroy the reputation and ultimately the business of the manufacturer.

Food-safe antimicrobial agents keep fresh food fresh longer, but that is really the narrow view. Edition Truth says the combination of flexible materials and antimicrobials could benefit everyone in the supply chain in other ways.

When food is less vulnerable to spoilage, more people have access to healthy foods. In disaster-stricken locations such as post-hurricane Puerto Rico, food delivery is more problematic than anyone predicted. Flexible packaging with antimicrobial agents could put healthier foods into the hands of people who have no ability to shop for it locally.

Here are just a few more benefits:

  • Eliminate or reduce the need for cold storage
  • Protect a vast range of products from pharmaceuticals to juices to ready-to-eat foods
  • Open up a broader range of transportation options through less breakage and smaller containers
  • Make distribution possible to farther-reaching parts of the country and the world where safe food is scarce

Consumers rely on safe, fresh food that will not spoil quickly or cause harm. Antimicrobial agents in flexible packaging are an emerging possibility that help food manufacturers, packers, transportation companies, and others in the supply chain provide it. The more the possibilities are studied and the more that the packaging industry learns, the better you can meet the needs of your company, your workers, and the family who opens a juice container at the breakfast table.

If you need better food packaging options, advancing technology in flexible materials could be the answer. Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

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Ensuring Compliance with UN Transport Standards in the Chemical Industry

UN certified packaging

Anyone who doubts that flexible intermediate bulk containers can safely be used in any kind of application should check out their use for hazardous materials.

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) and bag-in-box packaging are regularly used to ship hazardous materials under United Nations regulations. These regulations set out certain performance standards for various classifications of hazards.

These hazard classifications include:

Class 4.1: Flammable solids, self-reactive substances, and desensitized explosives

Class 4.2: Substances liable to spontaneous combustion

Class 4.3: Substances that emit flammable gases when they come in contact with water

Class 5.1: Substances that oxidize

Class 5.2: Organic Peroxides

Class 6.1: Toxic substances

Class 8: Corrosive substances

Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles

According to UN regulations, FIBCs and bag-in-box can only be used for free-flowing solids in designated UN bulk bags. To earn the designation of “UN Bulk Bag,” a flexible bag must meet some rigorous performance standards while filled to 95 percent capacity. These include:

  1. Vibration: 60-minute vibration test
  2. Top Lift: Lifted from top and/or side and maintain 6:1 load for 5 minutes (i.e., a bag must be able to sit atop another bag one-sixth its weight without damaging the lighter bag)
  3. Stacking: 24-hour stacking test with no content loss
  4. Drop: No content loss at three different drop heights
  5. Topple: Toppled on any part of top without content loss
  6. Righting: FIBC on its side, lifted into the upright position, without damage to the bag
  7. Tear resistance: Knife cut cannot spread more than 25 percent of initial length

UN certified packagingThe Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) recommends several best practices when FIBCs are used for hazardous materials. They should only be cleaned or subjected to otherwise routine maintenance; repaired or remanufactured FIBCs should not be used for hazardous materials.

“After routine maintenance, it is the recommendation of this Code that reuse for hazardous materials be restricted to the same product and the same prior filler,” RIPA’s guidelines state. “This will help minimize or eliminate concerns about the possible cross-contamination of a lading.”

Using FIBCs and bag-in-box for hazardous materials present many of the same advantages as in any application. Because they can be evacuated faster and more completely than most rigid bulk containers, residue is greatly reduced, which becomes an even bigger concern when hazardous materials are being handled. One-time use of FIBCs and bag-in-box eliminates the danger of cross-contamination. The frames of FIBCs can be folded flat and shipped back up the supply chain, for greater ongoing transport efficiency.

CDF’s UN Certifed Bag-in-Box Options

Bag-in-box is the ideal packaging solution for chemical, food, beverage, and cosmetic applications. CDF offers both form-fit and pillow styles to accommodate your packaging needs.

CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box meets all UN requirements and is certified by a third-party lab following the Department of Transportation guidelines. Our 20-liter UN certified bag-in-box provides the highest levels of protection for transporting hazardous products requiring class II and III packaging. The 20-liter bag-in-box packaging endured four rigorous performance tests. The tests include drop, stacking, vibration, and cobb water absorption.

Having passed rigorous testing, CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box allows you to transport a wide array of goods domestically and internationally. Download this data sheet to learn more about CDF’s UN-certified bag-in-box packaging and how it will help you keep your business moving.

Yes! Read the UN-Certified Bag-in-Box Data Sheet

Top Trends in Transparent Barrier Films for Flexible Packaging

Generally speaking, flexible bulk packaging for industrial-use food ingredients has not been known for transparency, for a couple of reasons.

The technical reason is that, until recently, it was hard (if not impossible) to make flexible film with the right barrier qualities. The marketing reason is that there was no marketing reason, at least when it came to bulk ingredient deliveries to food plants.

Treating Food Manufacturers Like Consumers

The appeal of flexible packaging for consumer applications is that it allows consumers to see the product while they make up their minds whether to buy. That obviously is not a factor in bulk ingredients that get purchased sight unseen and shipped to a plant in a flexible intermediate bulk container or bag-in-box.

Flexible packagingHowever, industry suppliers and players are seeing through the conventional thinking on transparency, so to speak. It turns out that technical advances in film construction can give transparent flexible film the barrier qualities and recyclability needed to rival opaque film. When that is the case, why not treat food plant personnel like consumers? Why not give them the reassurance and satisfaction of being able to eyeball bulk ingredients coming into the food plant to confirm visually that they have the right color and internal consistency?

Transparent Food Packaging Films Market Anticipating Growth

Overall, sales of transparent food packaging films will grow by about 6 percent a year, according to market research firm Technavio. Such film protects food as well as rigid packaging while letting consumers see it, without the expense, weight, and fragility of glass.

Film producers are using polymer additives that allow them to maintain transparency while achieving barrier properties as good as those of aluminum foil, Technavio analyst Shakti Jakhar told Packaging Strategies.

“Many manufacturers are adding additive agents in polymers to get more moisture and vapor resistance,” Jakhar says. “By doing so, they can replace the requirement of aluminum foil to some extent, which can bring some percentage of sustainability in their business divisions.”

One of the traditional ways to achieve high barrier properties in transparent films has been to use chlorine-based additives. However, this adds to carbon emissions during manufacturing and compromises the film’s recyclability. Innovations in film composition have led to the development of high-barrier transparent film without chlorine, while other innovations in recycling have allowed for eco-friendly disposal of chlorine-added films.

For instance, Enval, a waste-handling firm based in England, has developed a disposal process that involves burning chlorine-laden film in an oxygen-deprived chamber. The resulting residue of liquid carbon and carbon gas can then be used as fuel.

Advantages for Transparency in Bulk Containers

Why would food suppliers consider using transparent packaging for shipment of bulk ingredients to food plants? The answer is simple. Using transparent film for bulk ingredient packaging can help ingredient suppliers show their food plant customers that they have nothing to hide. This small psychological boost may constitute an edge in a highly competitive environment where every edge counts.

Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more about CDF’s fully recyclable bag-in-box options.

Download Our Bag-In-Box Brochure


Preference for Flexible Food Packaging Drives Form-fill-seal Machine Market Growth

What is behind the steady growth in flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machinery? Manufacturer demand, in part. Customer demand plays an important role, as well. For food and beverage manufacturers, bag and pouch flexible packaging is the future.

Whether your business is only beginning to transition to flexible packing or you need to upgrade, here are four considerations for form/fill/seam machines and the films that make flexible packaging a reality.

#1: Form/Fill/Seal Equipment Should Improve on Every Need

Bag and pouch manufacturing accounts for over 43 percent of the global form-fill-seal machine market, according to Transparency Market Research.  With sustained demand for flexible packaging and a predicted increase in the coming years, the industry is entering a phase of quality improvements on all possible fronts.

Flexible packaging affects every link in the supply chain in one way or another. For end-users, freshness and convenience matter. Food manufacturers have more concerns. Machine speed, packaging quality, and cost effectiveness rank high. When one area, such as quality or cost, slips, the whole packaging initiative can suffer.

#2: Smart Machines Extract Data and Make it Accessible 

Today, smart machines do much more than produce a reliable product quickly. Food Processing explains that with the right software, manufacturers can capture valuable data that not only improves packaging quality, but also helps make processes faster with fewer errors.

Flexible packaging

Working with a flexible film manufacturer keeps you tuned into newer materials that can help machines perform better.

Smart machines can track and monitor data from seam seals to RFID tags. Additionally, they make the information available on demand from a smartphone or a computer.

#3: Flexible Films Can Maximize Machine Output and Enhance Packaging Qualify

Cutting-edge machines are only part of the equation for better products, performance, and costs. The flexible films that you choose work in tandem with form-fill-seal machines to help them perform as intended and produce the results that you need.

Better films and machines produce better seals, fewer wrinkles, a cleaner appearance, and ultimately a longer shelf life, says Food Processing. With technological advances in films, you could reduce costs and improve packaging quality at the same time.

#4: New Advances in Flexible Films and Machinery Promote a Stronger Industry

Flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machines are entering a new phase. With the growth trajectory of flexible materials continuing upward and consumer demand increasing, it is not a matter for many food manufacturers of whether to adopt form-fill-seal machinery, but how the next improvements will make business better.

Smart machines are a good indicator of a maturing industry. A larger available variety of flexible films is another. Now, food manufacturers can choose from more machine sizes to handle large and small packaging demands. Machine quality is improving, as well, with less downtime, fewer glitches, and less frequent repairs.

Flexible packaging and form-fill-seal machinery improve on so many food manufacturing pain points, it is no wonder the industry is experiencing consistent and relatively rapid growth. From manufacturer to end user, costs are lower, packing is better, and the quality of food is better longer.

If the array of films has you puzzled, work with a manufacturer who knows the industry now as well as what is on the horizon.  Contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure to learn more about your options.

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