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Volpak and Lecta Test Eco-Friendly Paper-Based Packaging Materials

Volpak, a Coesia company, specialized in horizontal form-fill-seal solutions for the packaging industry, and Lecta, a premier European manufacturer and distributor of specialty papers, have embarked on a collaborative project aimed at testing and validating sustainable materials for packaging applications.

Origins and Objectives of the Partnership

The partnership between Volpak and Lecta originated from a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability. With the packaging industry moving towards more environmentally friendly solutions, it is essential for manufacturers to adapt and innovate. Lecta, with its expertise in specialty papers, recognized the importance of collaborating with Volpak to ensure that these new materials can
be effectively utilized on existing packaging machinery. This collaboration aims to bridge the gap between material innovation and practical application, ensuring that eco-friendly papers meet the operational requirements of modern packaging lines.

Sustainability and Market Trends

The shift towards sustainable packaging is being driven by both regulatory pressures and consumer demand. According to a Bain & Company report, 71% of European consumers and a similar percentage of US consumers express a preference for purchasing sustainable products, with many favoring products that use minimal or recyclable packaging (Bain). Additionally, a study by NIQ and
McKinsey found that 92% of shoppers consider sustainability an important factor when choosing a brand, highlighting the growing consumer expectation for ecofriendly packaging solutions (NIQ).

By focusing on paper-based packaging, which is recyclable and aligns with circular economy principles, Volpak and Lecta are addressing these consumer preferences and contributing to a reduction in the environmental impact of packaging.

Development of Eco-Friendly Papers

Lecta has already introduced barrier products to the market, which are suitablefor a variety of packaging applications. These include flow  packs, sachets, and wrapping materials, such as butter wrappers. The company continues to innovate, combining different barrier properties and heat-sealability to meet specific packaging needs.

Lecta has been at the forefront of developing specialty and graphic papers that cater to diverse industrial needs. The company has leveraged its technological know-how and production capabilities to create new functional metallized, uncoated and coated one side papers with barrier properties. These papers are designed to maintain eco-friendly characteristics while providing essential protections, such as barriers against water vapor, grease, oxygen, and alcohol. Notably, these papers are recyclable and can be processed in standard paper recycling circuits, aligning with the principles of a circular economy.

Applications and Potential Markets

The primary focus of this joint project is to explore the use of Lecta’s sustainable papers in flexible packaging. Potential applications span various sectors. The versatility of these new papers also extends to food service items, including cups, demonstrating their broad applicability.

Testing at Volpak's Pouch Lab

Volpak's role in this project involves conducting rigorous tests to assess the performance of these materials in real-world scenarios. These tests are carried out within Volpak's "pouch lab," an internal research and development facility designed to evaluate the machinability and durability of new materials. The pouch lab allows Volpak to simulate actual production conditions, ensuring that the environmentally friendly papers can be seamlessly integrated into existing packaging processes without compromising efficiency or quality.

Project Timelines and Ongoing Testing

The collaboration is structured around a series of phases, beginning with the initial development and testing of the materials. Currently, both companies are engaged in extensive trials involving actual products to evaluate the effectiveness of the new papers. These tests are crucial for identifying any potential improvements and obtaining the necessary certifications for commercial use.

Volpak and Lecta are committed to a continuous process of innovation. Lecta’s product, innovation, and factory teams are dedicated to expanding the range of barrier products and enhancing their performance. Simultaneously, Volpak is leveraging its technical expertise and market insights to ensure that these materials meet the high standards required for packaging applications.