This year’s annual EUROSAC Congress “Paper sacks – the natural commitment” was held in Malta from 24 to 25 May 2018.

It provided a forum to discuss the circular economy approach of the European paper sack and sack kraft paper industry, recent market developments as well as the activities of the association, and customer needs in the food sector. Moreover, the latest innovations were honoured with the EUROSAC Grand Prix Award. The Austria-based company Mondi received the trophy for its packaging solution “MailerBAG”.

After moderate growth of 0.2% in 2017, the beginning of 2018 was promising for the European paper sack industry: It recorded a growth of 3.1% in deliveries of paper sacks in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2017.

Natural commitment to the circular economy 

Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General for Environment, gave an update on the “EU Plastics Strategy”. It was introduced by a short video message from Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fishery, who welcomed the discussions of the congress as a contribution to make the transition to a circular economy a reality and encouraged the participants to innovate. The audience also received an overview on the industry’s European policy issues and the ongoing research and communication activities, that aim at improving the performance of paper sacks to meet the challenges of the future, for example in terms of customer demands, industry 4.0 and environmental issues related to the circular economy. 

Focusing on the food industry’s needs 

The food sector is one of the areas in which the European paper sack industry will particularly show its commitment to customer needs in 2018. The European Cocoa Association and the European Dairy Association informed the participants about the developments and challenges in each specific market as well as their individual packaging needs. “Along with the encouragement from the EU, these valuable insights give us new fuel for innovation,” said Rob Franken, the newly elected president of EUROSAC. “The source of our advancement as an industry is the continuous efforts of our members who support the process of making paper sacks even more successful.”

EUROSAC Grand Prix Award 2018

The innovative power of the paper sack industry was showcased at the EUROSAC Grand Prix Award ceremony. It honours the industry’s most creative advancements of the past year. Among five great innovations, Mondi was awarded the EUROSAC Grand Prix 2018 trophy for its sustainable packaging solution “MailerBAG” (formerly named Boomerang) for courier express shipments. “It brings a positive effect to many people and, at the same time, demonstrates the further potential of industrial bags,” explained jury president Mikko Rautiainen.  

Varied entries

dy-pack presented Foody, a dust-proof and watertight paper sack with a high barrier film for valuable food powders. With Foody, there is no contact between paper and product. It allows filling of products with a high fat and moisture content as well as pastes and creams on all existing open-mouth filling machines at high production speeds. Due to the high flexibility in production and subsequently wide availability of such sacks, planning cycles and delivery times can be reduced. The sack provides good recyclability due to the easy separation of the film.

HAVER & BOECKER introduced The Intelligent Aeration. The system controls the various aeration positions during the filling process automatically. It ensures that there is only as little air as necessary in the sack and the product. This results in an easier operation as no manual pressure adjustments are necessary. At the same time, the system reduces operating costs and tearing rates and enables a cleaner filling.

HP introduced the advantages of a Digitally Printed Bag with the example of the South Korean company Seejong. With the HP PageWide T400S press, Seejong can economically produce digitally printed liners on short and medium runs with great visual appeal. The possibility to create different versions – whether language, seasonal or special promotions – allows for even more differentiation from the competition without any waste or having to hold any stock. 

BioPinch by Mondi is a biodegradable and compostable paper-based pinch bottom sack for pet food. It consists of one or more layers of paper as an outer ply and an inner ply of biodegradable PLA coating that allows the sack to be sealed without compromising its compostability and functions as an excellent grease and oil barrier. The sack has good tear resistance and offers an increased printable area for better branding.

And last but not least, the winner:With MailerBAG, Mondi introduced a bag that minimises logistics costs, accelerates the packaging processes in the logistics centres of the e-commerce industry and offers high-end branding opportunities. It is made of one ply high-performance sack kraft paper with a double adhesive strip with a release liner on the flap allowing the end consumer to reuse the bag to return any unwanted items hassle-free.