Michelman India & Vishal Containers develop recyclable edible oil pouches

Vishal Containers shows new recyclable edible oil pouches in US trade shows

Shailesh Nema Michelman India
Shailesh Nema, vice president and managing director of Michelman India

Ahmedabad-based flexible packaging solutions provider Vishal Container has collaborated with Michelman India to produce recyclable edible oil pouches. Vishal Containers presented its Circupack range of sustainable flexible packaging solutions at the Petfood Forum Kansas City which was held from 22-24 September and at Packexpo Las Vegas which took place from 27-29 September. It also showcased its recyclable store drop-off program pre-qualified packaging solutions using barrier coating technology and EB curing.

Talking about this collaboration Shailesh Nema, vice president and managing director of Michelman India said that the solution is primarily meant for edible oil pouches but can certainly be replicated for other end applications as well. “The industry had been looking for a replacement of nylon and EVOH in polyethylene-based edible oil pouches as these hinder the recycling process of PE laminates. They became a necessary evil because edible oil requires a moderate oxygen barrier and the Nylon/EVOH contributes to that,” he said.

“We discussed our oxygen barrier coating as a replacement to that structure with several edible oil manufacturers and packaging converters and Vishal containers liked the idea. We took exhaustive trials of the new structure using our coating at the Michelman Innovation Centre for Coating (MICC) in Mumbai and subsequently at Vishal Containers,” Nema added.

He said that the solution needed to be approved at multiple stages – including the packaging lines of the edible oil manufacturers and the process took almost two years for Michelman to attain full acceptability from some of the edible oil brands.

Nema explained that Vishal Containers were very collaborative in their approach and were equally passionate about providing green flexible packaging solutions. “Once the initial studies were done at our MICC, Vishal Containers invested in their production and resources to conduct multiple trials and motivated the edible oil manufacturers to try these solutions,” he said.

According to Nema, the solution lies in its simplicity where only two PE layers can be adjoined with an O2 barrier coating. “Michelman always looks forward to collaborating with entities who share our common passion, which is providing sustainable solutions to the industry.”

Indian packaging industry sees rapid recovery

The Indian economy has seen a significant recovery since the second lockdown was lifted in the middle of this year. According to Nema, the Indian packaging industry too has seen a sharp bounce back. “The business is recovering quite fast and the current business volumes are at pre-covid levels. Some of the segments of the industry had seen exceptional growth during the pandemic and lockdown and those segments are now normalizing in terms of business volumes,” he said

Nema is bullish about the prospects for the next 12 months given there is no third Covid-19 wave in India. “We believe that the recovery will continue and the industry will see double-digit growth in the coming year. We are already seeing investments and expansion projects by leading players in the packaging industry and it is also well supported by the consumption trends,” Nema said.

Compostable solutions from Michelman

For packaging converters looking for compostable solutions, Michelman has announced the certification of three high-performance products.

The three PFAS-free coatings, Michem Coat 2000, Michem Coat 525, and Hydraban 8000, have recently complied with the specifications established by the American Society for Testing and Materials standards ASTM D6400 and D6868 per the terms and conditions of Biodegradable Products Institute’s (BPI) certification program for compostable products.

These products have had biodegradation and ecotoxicity testing in order to receive BPI certification. This testing means that Michelman BPI-certified coatings are proven to biodegrade in an industrial compost environment and can be used in quantities typical for the applications they are designed for with minimal limitations.

The newly developed Michem Coat 2000 and Michem Coat 525 are functional coatings that provide maximum oil and grease performance in fiber-based food service applications. Hydraban 8000 is a water-resistant paper coating with excellent glue-ability and printability used for food packaging.

Michelman’s portfolio of compostable coatings is currently available only in North America, with global development underway.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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