Spotlighting packaging excellence

Alex Rivers reports on the 2024 edition of Paris Packaging Week, speaking to participants of this year’s Aerosol and Dispensing Forum (ADF) and Packaging of Perfume Cosmetics and Design (PCD) exhibition

All images in this feature courtesy of Bell Publishing unless stated otherwise

The 2024 edition of Paris Packaging Week, which took place on 17 and 18 January at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, once more showcased the excellence of the aerosol & dispensing, beauty, drinks and luxury products sectors across the four sections of ADF, PCD, PLD and Packaging Première. This year’s exhibition, conferences and awards highlighted concepts of AI, recycling, net zero operations and evolving consumer demand.

Trends & sustainability

One major can maker with a strong presence at the show was of course Ball Corporation. CanTech International met with Jay Billings, president of the company’s aerosol packaging division, to discuss the latest in the company’s sustainability goals and achievements, and the future of aerosols.

In April 2023, Ball’s aerosol division became ASI certified. On this, Billings commented, “The tenets of ASI value are ensuring that the aluminium is being made under proper standards, ensuring that, throughout the entirety of the custody of control, we’re doing the best job that we possibly can of being stewards of the environment. By committing to ASI, we feel we are continuing to push the industry toward a more sustainable standard. We encourage everyone to become ASI certified and to pursue the same type of work we’re doing today.”

This work means that the company has a clear outlook for the sustainable future of aerosols. “We’ve publicly stated that we want to achieve a 90 per cent recycling rate around the world and to use 90 per cent recycled content in our products,” Billings said. “We’re not quite there yet from a technology or capability standpoint, but we believe that by having that goal, it’ll help us get there. Currently, we are focused on the re:generation aerosol product, which is ASI certified and 50 per cent recycled content. By continuing along this path, we can significantly cut the CO2 associated with our products.

“With the re:generation can, we’ve eliminated 95 per cent of the CO2 versus a standard aerosol can. That makes a huge difference for our customers and for our industry.”

Jay Billings & Alex Rivers. Image: Ball Corporation

The Ball re:generation can was introduced in 2023, and Billings commented that Ball is “excited to continue to build on the momentum” of the product offering into 2024.

Discussing customer demand and trends, Billings added, “We see strong demand all over the world, in the regions where we participate, which include South America, North America, the US, Mexico, both eastern and western Europe and India.

“When we rebounded out of Covid, personal care products really picked up at a rapid pace. Since then, there have been some markets that have been stronger than others. But what we found is that our customers are experiencing a lot of success by utilising some of the technology that we’ve been able to bring to the market. One of the trends we believe is going to be increasingly important is graphic innovation as our customers continue to be enthusiastic about what we can do to help them differentiate their products on shelf.

“The Ball Eyeris printing process is a high definition lithography technology, one that we’ve been utilising in our beverage business for several years that allows us to achieve a much higher resolution and colour differentiation compared to a standard printing process.”

When asked about consumer perception of aerosol recyclability, Billings remarked that “There are markets which recycle aerosol cans extremely well, for example Brazil, France, Germany and the Nordics to name a few. We have a lot to learn from what they’re doing in those specific markets and we can work on applying this elsewhere around the world.

“Ball is engaged with Alupro in the UK and with CMI in the US. In both cases, what we’re doing is studying where the gaps are in the overall supply chain and in consumer knowledge and understanding, asking, ‘is it a gap in infrastructure? Is it a gap in technology and capability? That way, we can solve the right problem. “It’s important for us to participate as leaders in that market, but we can’t do it by ourselves.

We need other can makers to be a part of it, along with marketers and municipalities, the latter especially because that ultimately is where the recycling decisions and capabilities are brought to the market.”

Billings commented that the transformation of Paris Packaging Week from his initial paricipation 15 years ago, to now, is “extraordinary.” He said that the “quality of the participants, both in terms of companies who have booths and are exhibiting, and those who are attending on the customer and supplier side, is excellent.

“It’s the best opportunity we have to showcase our capabilities to the broadest number of people as quickly as possible. I’m eager to meet with our customers and to meet with our suppliers to build on some relationships that are already established and to establish some new ones.

“I’m also always eager to learn new information from the speaker presentations, which helps to further maximise our time here.”

ADF Talks

Laurence Joly, business
development at Intpact, addresses the ADF Talks audience

Ball also held a presence at the Global Aerosol and Dispensing Summit, which saw a panel involving the company’s sustainability director, Predrog Ozmo; Alcoa’s director of global marketing, Shelley Ranii; and Unilever’s aerosol can technology and capability manager, Philip Jagger. The panel discussed the decarbonisation of the aluminium value chain, with a highlight on working together to achieve sustainability goals.

Ranii stressed that more funding needs to be made available for low carbon aluminium. She reminded the audience that there is not enough primary aluminium available worldwide for all aluminium products to be made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium content.

Ozmo noted Ball’s holistic approach to decarbonisation, highlighting the company’s wish to “minimise the reliance on offsetting” – at least for the time being – and focus instead on more impactful reductions in terms of electricity and heat in the company’s operations. Ozmo stated that the biggest levers in achieving the goals laid out in Ball’s Climate Transition Plan are lightweighting, sourcing low carbon aluminium and focusing on circularity, which involves pushing to improve recycling rates.

Jagger emphasised the complexities of making the whole aerosol and its components sustainable ie the actuator and propellant aspects as well as the can. Again, he stressed that every supplier needs to work collaboratively to achieve decarbonisation.

This was echoed later by Trivium Packaging’s chief sustainability officer, Jenny Wassenaar, who was accompanied by Peipei Yang, sustainable sourcing project manager, on stage. Wassenaar said to businesses present at the show, “you will not be progressing if you’re just in your own sustainability bubble.”

The first stage in Trivium’s three-phased approach to double materiality assessment, which Wassenaar explained as the essential first step toward CSRD (corporate sustainability reporting directive) compliance, is defining which ESG topics to focus on, because one business can’t begin by tackling everything, Wassenaar stated. She commented, “pick your focus area, and work well in it.”

Cosmetic & beauty packaging

This year’s Paris Packaging Week offered the opportunity for CanTech International to head to the PCD exhibition to speak to UK-headquartered Roberts Metal Packaging, which was showcasing its Softline Extreme range of aluminium cosmetic jars, now available in Shallow and Deep variations.

Founded in 1887 by the Roberts brothers in London, the company was originally named Roberts Capsule Stopper Company Ltd, with the main market focus being medical and pharmaceutical. Chris Saunders, who took over in 2004 as the company’s managing director, described how the advent of plastic and associated materials came along during the late 1980s and shifted Roberts’ direction to toiletries, hair and skin care products.

The original Softline Extreme range by Roberts Metal Packaging first existed in tinplate and were used for air gun pellets and “all sorts of random things,” as Saunders noted. The company decided to expand the offering to other markets.

Chris Saunders, MD at Roberts Metal Packaging, speaks to Alex Rivers at thre company’s stand

“At the time, they were just interrupted thread. They were very basic, so we changed them and made them continuously threaded. There were probably only four tins in that range to start with, but it has evolved due to customer demand for different sizing. “By 2020, the range had almost got out of hand, which is why we decided to do a relaunch and split it out into the deeper and shallower structures, to have a clearer focus in our product catalogue.

“The updated range are continuously threaded, have EP liners, are fully recyclable and are suitable for anything from body butters, hair care products, lip balms and solid perfumes. Customers have also used them for dry food, spices and herbs in the food sector, so they’re very versatile,” said Saunders.

The containers are of course reusable, but metal’s biggest asset is its infinite recyclability, which is a message Saunders noted as crucial. Roberts Metal Packaging is a member of the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) in the UK and uses this working relationship to ensure the messages Roberts’ gives out to customers about metal are “accurate and align with the rest of the industry.” The company also uses a sustainability consultant and is investing in “early stages of being able to take Roberts to net zero,” Saunders commented.

Innovation Awards

The ADF Innovation Awards were announced on the afternoon of 18 January, chosen by a jury comprised of representatives from the likes of L’Oréal, Unilever International, Procter & Gamble, Henkel and Coty.

The ADF Sustainable Innovation Award went to Germany-based Tubex, for its Minimalist spray head, which is made up of mostly aluminium and designed to substitute as much plastic in this component as possible. A certificate in this category was awarded to Beiersdorf, for the Nivea Deo Spray. Another certificate went to the CFPA and BPA-NI for steel mounting cups by ArcelorMittal.

In the Personal Care category, Kao Corporation was awarded for the PureOra36500 Creamy Toothpaste. A certificate was awarded to DTS Europe, for the SAGE Azalea Flow Control, and two certificates went to Tubex for the Nivea pearl & beauty aerosol and the Refill machine concept by Respray Solutions.

The Household Award was presented to Reckitt, for the Lysol Air Sanitiser aerosol.

In the Industrial & Technical Application category, xtracan took home a win for its monoblock steel can for the Förch TF60 product for industrial and technical applications.

Concept of the year went to Kao Germany for the Kao Salon Colour Wizard. A certificate was awarded to Tubex for its Rainbow can decoration concept, which uses a new type of ink that reflects light to display multiple colours.

Envases Group took home the newly created FEA Aerosol Technology of the Year award

A new category for this year’s ADF Innovation Awards was the FEA Aerosol Technology of the Year. This was presented to Envases Group for its work on the Paco Rabanne Shimmer Bomb. This aerosol can for the beauty and cosmetics industry features a 360-degree metallised effect created by hot stamping technology, and was applauded by the jury for its technical excellence and aesthetic appeal.

Alain D’Haesse, jury president of the ADF Innovation Awards, commented, “The trend is sustainability across all categories of products and criteria. It’s clear to see this trend or movement is coming, even if it is not in the mainstream of the market. The direction is clear.

“I’d like to thank all of those who submitted an entry. It’s fantastic to see people challenging themselves and getting something reviewed by their peers. That made for a high standard of competition, and the competition was fierce.

“The winners can be particularly proud of what they achieved and it will hopefully energise development departments,” D’Haesse concluded.

Paris Packaging Week is set to return in 2025, to take place during the later dates of 28 and 29 January.

This feature article is restricted to logged-in paid subscribers.

Login or subscribe now to view this exclusive content.

Related content

Leave a reply

CanTech International