Companies, such as Nestlé, are looking for ways to decrease their carbon footprint. As a company that produces it food in packages, Nestlé's is committed to improving the environmental performance of their packaging. By 2017, their goal is to avoid the use of at least 100,000 tonnes of packaging materials. Smithers Pira recently spoke with Dr. Lionel Spack, Manager of Packaging Chemical Safety at Nestlé ahead of his March presentation at Specialty Papers Europe.
Smithers Pira: What are some of the big challenges in terms of safety of packaging materials that will hold up to the performance you expect and have the look and feel of your brand at the same time?
Dr. Lionel Spack: The new coating for metal packaging will most likely be the main challenge of the next 3-4 years. The coating without any bisphenol A, thus non epoxy based, are less studied, more sensitive and should be adapted for each kind of food product. Therefore, the development and follow-up will take more time, research and resources than the old standard one. As the coating are in direct contact with food, the safety & compliance is of paramount importance.
Smithers Pira: One of Nestlé's big commitments is to the Environmental Performance of packaging. Can you explain some of the challenges with developing more environmentally safe solutions?
Dr. Lionel Spack: There is a clear difference between what a customer feel is good for environment and the scientific reality. For example people think that recycled board is better than virgin as less trees are cut. In fact, when placed in the context of life cycled assessment or safety of consumers, then the recycled board does not appear so friendly. I’m not a sustainability manager, but the main challenges of my colleagues who have to promote other sources than petrol based polymer, are the availability of the resources and the prices. We work already on some topics, where non petroleum based polymer could be used as commodity. The day sustainable sources of polymers become commodity or standard, the prices will come down.
Smithers Pira: What are you mostly looking forward to hear at Specialty Papers Europe 2016?
Dr. Lionel Spack: In term of packaging safety and compliance the paper and boards do not represent the main sources of issues. However, the absence of European harmonized Regulation specific to paper & board complicate the life of final users. I’m interested to hear other users, paper & board manufacturers and additives for board manufacturers on the topic.