The future tightly packed – Huhtamaki Shrink Sleeves

The future tightly packed – Huhtamaki Shrink Sleeves

Huhtamaki is on its way to becoming the market leader in the production of sustainable shrink sleeves and is ready to meet the future challenges in the dairy processing industry. Shrink sleeves have become very popular and established themselves on a large scale as standard packaging in the food and non-food sectors, from flavored milk and juices to detergents and many more applications.

The advantages of shrink sleeves compared to classic wrap-around labels are considerable: one convincing argument are the versatile marketing possibilities, because the shrink sleeves offer a full-surface bottle decoration regardless of the
bottle shape. Marketing experts thus have a larger surface area available for product advertising, with complex designs, additional information or competitions.

Another very important aspect is the tamper-evident closure: the band protects the entire bottle, including the cap, and is visible proof that the bottle has not been opened. The ring around the closure is perforated for easy opening.

Shrink sleeves have long been at odds with our modern view of sustainability and recyclability. The reason for this is that they are made of a different material than the bottles, which makes separation more difficult. In the recycling stream the bottle is marked as „not recyclable“, ends up on the landfill or is incinerated. This has become an important issue in the beverage industry, as plastic bottles are actually considered to be one of the best forms of recyclable post-consumer waste.

Huhtamaki, as one of the leading manufacturers of shrink sleeves in Europe, has worked intensively on this challenge and has closely cooperated with one of the largest polypropylene manufacturers in the world – Taghleef Industries. The cooperation with the company enables us to offer so-called „floating sleeves“. These sleeves have a density of less than 1g/cm², which means they float on water. During the recycling process the sleeved bottle is crushed in a water bath – the bottle
parts sink to the bottom, while the sleeve parts float on the surface and can be easily separated from those of the bottle.

This innovation has attracted the attention of many beverage producers. Including that of the Gropper dairy, which focuses mainly on supplying large retail chains in Europe under its own brand names.

In cooperation with the dairy, we have already launched a wide range of dairy products for environmentally conscious consumers – the empty bottles are fully recycled into new bottles.

Among the first partners to use the recyclable solution, is vly, one of the most innovative companies in the field of milk alternatives. It is obvious that a company that launches healthy plant-based and environmentally friendly drinks, should care
about the environmental ecological aspects of its products, including the bottles. Therefore, all the packaging of the bottled milk alternatives are 100% recyclable and Huhtamaki is a proud partner and supporter of this project.

However, our story does not end with the introduction of the floating shrink sleeves: the next challenge in the coming years is the conversion of all white bottles containing dairy products to transparent bottles, as required by EU regulation.

The reason for this is that the transparent bottle is much better recyclable than the colored one, thus increasing the usability of the recyclate. On the other hand, without the white pigmentation of the bottle, the product loses its protection from light, which can lead to faster product deterioration and greater food waste.

Here, too, Huhtamaki is striving to be one of the first on the market to offer a solution – white, fully recyclable shrink sleeves that do not compromise on product protection or marketing. Of course, they still follow our company‘s main goal: protecting food, people and the planet.

For more information, please contact us at any time. We are very happy to offer you a customized solution.