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Pragmatic Approaches

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: June 22, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

Dan Abramowicz, executive vice president, Crown Packaging Technology; and Kate Achelpohl, director, member communications, PMMI, talk about increased demands for sustainable innovation in packaging from both consumers and retailers.

  • Retailers are playing as large a role as consumers in driving the evolution of sustainability in packaging.
  • The sustainable attributes of a package can be a factor in the purchase decisions of consumers.
  • Many strides made in sustainable manufacturing have resulted from companies employing good economics.
  • There are tremendous cost savings to be found within any company’s operations if it starts asking questions about how it operates.
  • Certainly, innovation undertaken to comply with a regulatory issue helps to improve brand loyalty.

GCI: What have been your efforts toward sustainability, in terms of both production and products offered?

Dan Abramowicz: We pay a great deal of attention to reducing metal, eliminating spoilage and increasing efficiency. These efforts help to promote sustainability through material and energy savings while also reducing costs for customers.

Crown was one of the first companies in the U.S. to initiate a recycling program and it played a leadership role in establishing European Metal Packaging (EMPAC), an organization that brings together producers of rigid metal packaging and raw materials suppliers along with their national associations to promote the benefits of metal packaging and recycling efforts across Europe.

Additionally, we cannot overlook the inherent sustainability benefits of steel that are evident in both Crown’s aerosol containers and specialty packaging. Steel is the most commonly recycled material in the world. Steel containers are recycled at a rate of 62% in the U.S., which helps save 70% of the energy required for primary production. Metal is also infinitely recyclable. Unlike many other materials, recycled steel never degrades in quality and remains identical to virgin steel. A steel cosmetics container can be melted down and used for the manufacture of cars, food cans or another decorative container.