NICOLA: You mentioned a downside of PET-MET packaging is that it's non-recyclable. When we consider coming EU sustainability legislation, as well as sustainability pledges made by many brands and retailers, what is the future for PET-MET? And what are the alternatives?
KURT: You're correct, while PET-MET offers a strong barrier for nut products, it does not answer the increasing sustainability demands of consumers, brands and legislation. In order to bring more sustainable solutions to the nuts and dried fruits space, Amcor has developed a range of recycle-ready specifications that provide the right protection and brand presentation for nuts producers.
NICOLA: How can nuts producers compare recyclable vs. non-recyclable bags and pouches?
KURT: Which packaging is collected and sorted for recycling varies by country and sometimes by city, but what we see across Europe is a move away from PET and Alu based structures. This is because there is no recycling stream today for PET-based bags and pouches. The alternatives use different materials, such as PE and PP, which do fit existing recycling streams. Our team works to understand the different recycling infrastructures available across Europe and we have developed a portfolio of more sustainable packaging which includes: mixed PO, full PP, full PE and paper structures.
NICOLA: Material selection is a large part of the decision-making process, but other factors such as filling, transportation handling and the seal are also important considerations.
KURT: They are. You can never guarantee 100% exclusion of oxygen in the pack. Oxygen can be introduced by choosing the wrong packaging material of course, but it can also be a result of not optimising the filling machine settings or heavy handling during transport, in-store and after purchase.
The packaging material can have an extremely high barrier, but if you have lots of leakers in your seals, this is not bringing the required benefit. This is where there's a huge benefit to working with technical experts, like our Field Technical Services team, who can help you set up your filling machine parameters for proper sealing to avoid air leaks.