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Reducing average weight of CPET trays

23 November 2010

''Improved production processes and clever design'' help Danish manufacturer of plastics food / ready meal containers meet five-year environmental objective

Danish food packaging manufacturer Faerch Plast has reduced the weight of its CPET (crystalline polyethylene) containers by an average 11% since 2008. This puts the company on target to meetits environmental objective of ‘achieving a general weight reduction of produced items of 30%’ by 2013.

Joe Iannidinardo, MD of Faerch Plast’s UK division comments: “Clever design together with improved production processes has helped us reduce the weight of our packaging without compromising performance, quality or food safety. Using less material during the manufacturing process has enabled us to further reduce our carbon footprint and produce less waste.

He concludes: “We'll continue to collaborate closely with customers to develop innovative, hygienic and effective packaging that protects and preserves food products but which uses less material and is kinder to the environment. It's this ongoing research and development work that will ensure we achieve the 30% target in a few years’ time.”

Faerch Plast also attributes the weight reduction to on-going changes to tooling design. Producing CPET trays is different to the normal thermoforming process. The soft pre-formed container has to be transferred from a hot to a cold mould. Making the pack thicker always helped with this process.

Over the years, however, Faerch Plast has developed techniques that make it possible to safely and easily handle much thinner trays. It used to be normal for CPET trays to be manufactured from 800 or 900 micron sheet. Today, 500 or 600 micron is normal.

In addition, tray and tooling designs have been adapted to allow better control of material distributionmeaning areas in the trays that were traditionally thinner and weaker are now less so. Thermoforming tools are usually developed for an optimum thickness and while they work okay for other gauges, they always perform best with the specific thickness that they were designed for.

In 2007, Faerch Plast established a set of seven objectives for the following five years, aimed at ‘achieving positive results through the optimisation of environmental conditions’.

Environmental concerns remain a top priority for the company which aims to minimise the negative impact its production processes and packaging products may have on the planet. Faerch Plast recently published its Green Accounts for the 14th consecutive yearafter being audited by PriceWaterhouseCooper.

As a result, Faerch Plast’s state-of-the-art production facility in Denmark is fully geared towards reducing energy consumption, minimising emissions and exceeding environmental standards.

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