Plastic-free packaging can still outshine the competition on shelf

Environmental sustainability is a growing consideration for designers, brands and printers, as the use of plastics in packaging continues to dominate the media and political agendas.


Packaging is the most common plastics application, accounting for 26% of all plastic use globally.


As well as being used in the most obvious of packaging elements such as trays and cellophane wrapping, it can also be found in the most intricate elements of packaging, including the foils and laminates used to create embellishments and finishes which have a significant part to play in crafting shelf appeal.


The current media and political agenda is shining a light on the sheer volume and scale of the damaging effects the use of plastics is having on our environment.


According to a recent report from WWF, the amount of plastic Britons throw away is set to rise by a fifth by the end of the next decade. If no action is taken, plastic waste will rise from 5.2million tons this year to 6.3million in 2030 and what is disconcerting for our industry is that the majority of this waste – 67% –comes from packaging.


This widespread coverage means brands across multiple market verticals are sticking their head above the parapet and making a meaningful commitment to reducing their harmful impacts.


Where retailers such as Iceland and global brands like Coca-Cola have stolen a march , thousands of others are now following suit, actively looking at ways in which to reduce plastic from all elements of their product packaging.


API Group recently surveyed a cross section of brand managers and designers about their attitudes towards plastics and sustainability in packaging. Almost 90% of those we spoke to believed that sustainability in packaging would be important or very important over the next 12 months – 51.4% believed it to be very important.


The results also revealed that 72.9% see the introduction of sustainable features and packaging to their products as an opportunity for growth, with more than half (51.4%) already creating packaging with sustainable features.



Developing an alternative plastic-free finish


With such conflicting demands placed on brand owners and designers when it comes to packaging and more and more consumers demanding more environmentally friendly products, it’s no surprise that the industry is innovating with a range of plastic-free alternatives.


As a company that empowers brands by delivering the solutions they need to solve complicated problems, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of packaging trends and issues.


Over the past five years API Group has significantly invested in the development of our break through film-free laminate Transmet™ which offers the ability to create a metallic finish on packaging, without sacrificing sustainability.


Transmet™ is API’s class-leading film-free laminate option for paperboard packaging, which has all the benefits of traditional metallised polyester cartonboard laminates, but without the final film content and is recyclable through normal waste streams.


It allows brands to reduce their environmental impact, without compromising on stand-out shelf appeal, which ultimately attracts customers.


The Transmet™ process involves the lamination of a special PET film, which is then removed for recycling, leaving a deposit of aluminium on the surface of the board, creating a desired finish which is 100% recyclable.


Letting sustainability shine


Just because packaging is sustainable it doesn’t mean its end result has to be any less impactful.


In addition to its green credentials, the benefits of Transmet™ also include a high level of gloss finish, no risk of delamination and it is flexible enough to be used to ‘metalise’ thin paper without curling – making it an effective solution across a wide range of applications.


Pioneered at API’s Amsterdam site in the 1980s, Transmet™ has grown in popularity, driven by increasing demand for a high-quality film-free finish that provides brand owners with a fully recyclable end product but still offers shelf appeal to customers.


We now have a wide range of film-free laminate finishes including Holographic Transmet™ which enables brands to select the laminate style and effect that adds unique visual impact to their product’s packaging.


By adapting our services and combining style with sustainability, we’ve witnessed a surge in brands from across the globe keen to take advantage of the benefits Transmet™ can bring.


As a leader in this field with unrivalled technology and experience, we are fully committed to working with brands and industry bodies in our key market verticals over the next few years to ensure we continue to develop and invest in ecological solutions which deliver.