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Bursting Black Balloons

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					Bursting Black Balloons
by Michael B Halley FAIP




T
             he Victorian Government pays for a series of advertisements about reduction of
             Greenhouse Gas emissions on prime time television. Any source of emission is shown as
             inflating black balloons until a number supposedly equal to the mass of gas are in the roof
             space.

             Members of the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) and the Australian Pulp and
Paper Industry Technical Association (APPITA) recently attended a joint meeting to listen to experts
put forward considerations on the topic Sustainability of Paper in the Packaging Industry. They learnt
(but may not yet know it) that one tonne of paper made from recycled material bursts eight million black
balloons and this can occur seven times in the life cycle of paper. (For the long-term viability of the
manufacture of recycled paper and packaging, the stream of material must have new fibres introduced to
maintain appropriate specifications for the finished product and it has been determined that seven cycles
is the maximum..)

Catherine Rae Sustainability Analyst at Amcor, Angela Nicholls Sustainability Manger at Visy and Jim
Rowntree Business Development Manager-Australasia at Bunzl Food Processor Supplies were the
assembled experts who collectively convinced most that paper is sustainable in the packaging industry.

Catherine Rae ‘drew the short straw’ and lead the discussion with the statement: - ‘Packaging often
equates with waste but the opposite is true’ and asked the question is packaging a victim of a throw away
society that has made it the evil enemy. Packaging is vital in the supply chain as it protects the product
from spoilage or mechanical damage placing consumables into the sales area ready for consumption.
She went onto say that in a typical package of food the energy expended to make the package is around
10% of that needed to produce the food.

Cautionary advice to the effect that unless the packaging Industry tells the sustainability story consumers
will only see rubbish. (And hear rubbish from ill-informed commentators) Consumer demands can make
the task difficult as the want easy opening, tamper evident and informative packages. There are five
domains of sustainability, the environment, the community, the work place, the market place and the
economy.

So to have a sustainable package a balancing act is required and will entail considering lower energy and
water use, green energy, recycled content, safer operations, and selection of material fit for purpose. Can
light weighting help, can functionality be increased, have you designed for optimum spatial use and shelf-
life need consideration. Life cycle analysis is one test as is the carbon footprint and both for the inputs
and the finished package.

There were five questions left on the table by Catherine before she handed over to Angela Nicholls: -
• Why make a change?
• Where can we improve?
• What options are there?
• Who will be impacted?
• How can we avoid conflicts?

Angela Nicholls also challenged the assembly by asking if paper packaging is sustainable in Australia
and went onto advise where Visy is attacking the issues arising. On the basis that almost everything you
touch will have been touched by packaging before you it has to be sustainable or we return to the cracker
barrel era!

Visy Vision is to continue along the recycling path that it has beaten across the country. Annual
collections are around 2 million tonnes of which half is paper that goes back through the process and
is seven times sustainable. Visy supports the environment and healthy communities in many ways both
overtly and covertly but publicly reports its Carbon Footprint and eco-efficient packaging developments.
Ms Nicholls encourages readers to visit the Visy web site (www.visy.com.au) and read the Environmental
Round Table a legacy of the late Richard Pratt.


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Bursting Black Balloons
by Michael B Halley FAIP




The dead rubbers on the ground from the burst black balloons are calculated (by the writer) as under: -
• One tonne of CO2e equals 20k balloons
• One tonne of recycled paper emits 1.66 tonne of CO2e
• One tonne of paper placed in landfill emits 2.076 tonne of methane
• 400 tonnes of CO2e are abated
• 400 x 20K = 8 million

Sustainable packaging is truly a balancing act for we now have 8 million pieces of material that may not
be recyclable, but it may not emit methane if land filled.
As a major investment in its commitment to sustainable manufacturing, Visy has built a plantation pine
Kraft pulp & paper mill at Tumut in New South Wales. Completed in 2001, the mill adheres to the highest
environmental standards producing up to 320,000 tonnes of unbleached Kraft paper per year.

Raw materials are local plantation timber sawmill residues and pulp wood materials from softwood
plantation, supplemented by domestic and commercial wastepaper collected mainly throughout the
eastern states of Australia. A large proportion of the energy used in the mill is ‘green’ energy, generated
on-site using greenhouse friendly, bio-mass fuel such as bark and wood waste. It is amongst the lowest
users of water of any similar mill in the world making paper with 4100 litres per tonne against the world
average of 15,000 litres.

The best way to keep paper sustainable in packaging according to Angela Nicholls is to use more paper.
Visy has converted snack foods from flexible packages into paperboard and produces envelopes and
stationery that is seen by many as a badge of pride.

Jim Rowntree supported the two paper people as does his company’s products that assist in keeping
paper packaging sustainable. Bunzl Food Processor Supplies is the Australasian representative of Payne
the manufacturer of tear tapes in England.

Jim with graphics and samples to support his talk walked us through the products available and
explained fully on the Payne web site www.payne-worldwide.com/tear-tape.htm and repeated here:

 Payne is recognised globally as the leading manufacturer and supplier of pressure sensitive tear
 tape. Our range not only provides the convenience of easy opening of packaging, it is also the ideal
 medium to carry branding & communication messages or brand protection technology from Payne
 Security.

 Easy Opening Solutions
 Supastrip® offers easy opening for flexible packaging in the following sectors: tobacco,
 confectionery, food products, pharmaceuticals, stationery, CDs, DVDs and many others.
 Vaktape™Plus brings the benefits of easy opening to hermetically sealed packs without
 compromising seal integrity and pack freshness.
 Rippatape™ offers a means of easy opening for paper and board products including corrugated
 cases, fibreboard cartons, envelopes and papersacks.


 Branding & Communications offer two solutions in one tape - easy opening and brand
 enhancement for use on flexible packaging in the following sectors: tobacco, confectionery, food
 products, pharmaceuticals, magnetics, stationery and many others. This is supported by our in-
 house design studio available to assist with artwork design and origination.

 Application Systems
 All our tear tape products are supported by a range of tear tape dispensers and application systems
 for retrofit to most types of packaging wrappers and corrugators.


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Bursting Black Balloons
by Michael B Halley FAIP




The message from Jim Rowntree was that tear tapes can improve the functionality of paper packaging
and after the capital to install the applicator is amortised the additional cost to a package is usually in the
zero-zero X percentage of a cent.

Advantages beyond sustainability from the application of tear tapes are cleaner edges for shelf ready
cartons in grocery retailing and additional strength of boxes that do not need to be perforated. At the
retailers knifes are not required and for the consumer easy opening means less packaging rage! That
alone should assist in keeping paper packaging sustainable.

A spirited question time ensued from which was gleaned that manufacturers need to have social
responsibility and act as a visible member of the community. The question which packaging is least
sustainable had mixed support. On the one hand it was explained that laminates because they are so
light simply end up in the landfill stream whist the other suggested that light weighting may be the least
cost. Answering the question about the 40% of PET that goes to landfill Angela Nicholls suggested that
‘dirty MRF’ or mining landfills was one consideration.

The poignant message there is that consumers cause pollution and affect sustainability of packaging and
at the same time (to quote Susan Rae) makes packaging the evil enemy.

Jim Wood on behalf of APPITA and Ralph Moyle on behalf of AIP thanked and gifted the presenters
leading to audience applause for a question well answered.




                                                                                  Michael B Halley FAIP
                                                                                  Australian Institute of Packaging
                                                                                  www.aipack.com.au




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