Paper bottle breakthrough

Paper bottle breakthrough
Back in the news after a self-imposed hiatus is one of the more intriguing sustainable-packaging initiatives of the past decade.

That would be the paper bottle made by Ecologic Brands. Made popular in a number of categories—wine, pet food, protein powders, and laundry detergent  to name a few—the container consists of a molded-pulp outer shell made from recycled corrugated and old newspapers that can be recycled up to seven times. An inner film polyethylene pouch with spout has been, until now, the inner component that comes in contact with the product, whether liquid, powder, or other. When compared with a rigid plastic container, the pouch reduces plastic use dramatically, says Ecologic. And because the shells can be nested and the pouch can be transported flat to an end user, one truckload of the packaging materials equals nine truckloads of rigid plastic containers.

Now for the new news. Gone is the inner pouch, replaced by a very thin extrusion blow molded liner that is fully recyclable, is made of 80% post-consumer HDPE, and requires 60% less plastic than a traditional shampoo bottle. Perhaps even more significant is the elimination of the side flange, thus the elimination of glue. Now in place are interlocking patterns to bind the two shells together, an approach far more robust and reliable, says Ecologic’s Julie Corbett.

Ecologic worked through this “reinvention” of itself and its technology with a boost from New York-based L’Oreal USA. In fact, Ecologic is manufacturing the bottle in a closed-loop process whereby the paper shells are made from paper and corrugated waste from a L’Oreal’ distribution center, where five tons of waste—or what used to be waste—are generated each week. The bottles are now on their way into the marketplace as part of a new line from L’Oreal called Seed Phytonutrients. Go here to learn more, including this claim from Seed Phytonutrients: “We craft natural-origin hair, face, and body care products in the first ever shower-friendly post-consmer recycled paper bottle. Launching Earth Month—April 2018.”

Look for additional coverage of this rather remarkable sustainable packaging story in an upcoming issue of Packaging World.

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