Syntegon and CEFLEX develop ‘Designing for a Circular Economy Guidelines’

CEFLEX aims to establish circular economy for flexible packaging in Europe by 2025

To pave the way to a circular economy, Syntegon Technology contributes its expertise to the European initiative CEFLEX for flexible packaging. Photo - Syntegon

Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, contributes its vast packaging and processing expertise to the European initiative CEFLEX to foster a circular economy for flexible packaging. As a leading consortium of companies and associations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging, CEFLEX aims to establish a collecting, sorting, and reprocessing infrastructure throughout Europe by 2025. With the help of industry partners from all parts of the value chain, CEFLEX has developed dedicated ‘Designing for a Circular Economy Guidelines’ for flexible packaging. After several rounds of input from the consortium, the open consultation on the guideline drafts is finished. They will be launched in spring 2020. 

Commenting on this, Matthias Klauser, project leader and sustainability expert at Syntegon Technology, said, “Sustainable packaging needs to be easily recyclable and processable at the same time. With our long-standing expertise, we can help to pave the way to a circular economy that leaves room for production efficiency.”

Circular economy – the origins

The concept of a circular economy dates back to the mid-1960s when American economists were looking for possibilities to use resources more sustainably. As opposed to linear economies where products are made and then disposed of, circular systems try to restore products, components, or materials by reusing, repairing, or even recycling them.

The concept has evolved ever since, with the European Commission first issuing a circular economy manifesto in 2012, then successfully implementing a Circular Economy Action plan with 54 measures in 2018. The latter saw the adoption of ambitious initiatives, including a directive to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. However, the transition to a circular economy not only requires policymakers to provide the framework. It also relies on the support of key industry players, from material producers to flexible packaging converters, packaging equipment manufacturers, brand owners, and sorting and recycling companies.

Reconciling sustainability and efficiency

Together with some of CEFLEX’s more than 140 industry partners, Syntegon Technology is developing a design guideline for flexible packaging as part of a circular economy roadmap for the whole value chain. “With the guidelines, CEFLEX aims to offer a widely recognized guidance on flexible packaging materials,” Klauser says. “We want to support CEFLEX in reconciling sustainability and efficiency requirements, since not every sustainable packaging material is easy to process efficiently.”

Depending on the material, processes such as sealing might take longer, affecting output and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). As a leading provider of processing and packaging equipment, Syntegon Technology supports CEFLEX with in-depth packaging and handling knowledge and advice on the use and machinability of materials. “We see the considerable potential, for instance, in mono-polyolefines and other monomaterials,” Klauser explains. “At the same time, packaging and processing equipment providers will need to adapt their technologies to facilitate the implementation of the guidelines. This includes making new materials processable on existing equipment, as well as developing new machine technologies that are suited for all kinds of materials today and in the future.” 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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