Ahead of the Sustainability Awards taking place in November, we spoke to Amcor as part of our Finalist Interview series about its Quantum lightweighting technology for PET bottles, nominated in the pre-commercialized Climate category.
You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2023. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry, in less than 50 words?
Amcor’s Quantum premium lightweight finish technology for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles eliminates more than 50% of the material and weight in the finish of the bottle, reducing manufacturing costs and lowering carbon emissions with limited investment.
Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about your project and/or about its impact on packaging sustainability.
Quantum is an example of an innovation with a direct positive environmental impact. With traditional lightweighting techniques, weight and material is removed from the base or body of the bottle. By removing more than 50% of the material and weight from the finish, rather than the base or body, Quantum compliments common lightweighting techniques delivering additional reductions in manufacturing costs and greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in energy savings and lower carbon emissions compared to traditionally lightweighted bottles.
Additionally, as Quantum technology can be applied to current bottle sizes and accepts the same closures brands are using today, we’re offering this innovation to customers in a way that minimizes their investment. As customers and consumers continue looking for ways to support the circular economy and eliminate waste, Quantum helps companies meet sustainability goals, supports source reduction, and reduces material waste and packaging weight creating a lighter, sustainable packaging option with potential cost savings.
When and how do you intend to launch/commercialize this innovation?
We are currently partnering with a strategic spirits customer to commercialize Quantum in 2024. The two-step Quantum technology is applicable to nearly all two-step blow moulded packaging from water to spirits and every market segment in-between, potentially expanding our preform library exponentially.
We have two sizable opportunities lined up that we expect will land on shelves in 2024 and a pipeline that will keep us busy for a few years. We anticipate brands in the food or dairy space will find this technology particularly appealing.
You’re shortlisted for the Climate category. What do you see as the key demands and challenges in relation to reducing the carbon footprint of packaging and packaged goods?
Amcor is continuously dedicated to designing more sustainable packaging. Packaging that is increasingly lighter weight, recyclable, reusable and made with recycled content. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in demand for bottles made with post-consumer recycled resin (PCR). Several reports and studies demonstrate that consumers crave more environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging.
Younger generations are particularly known for their interest in environmental issues and are looking for packaging design that demonstrates a brand’s commitment to supporting positive environmental change. In our case, we’ve seen a substantial growth in demand for both recycled PET (rPET) and PCR with an increased emphasis on reducing GHG [Greenhouse Gases]. Our customers are beginning to recognize that the math is very straight forward - significant weight reductions in packaging provide a direct path to reaching aggressive GHG reduction goals.
What do you think are the main opportunities in this area or what future innovations do you predict in this area?
As demand for PCR increases with mandate legislation, recyclable packaging, recycling infrastructure and consumer education around recycling will have to catch up to these needs. Consumers are hungry for clarity, providing an enormous opportunity to innovate toward our shared goals around sustainability.
The winners of the Sustainability Awards 2023 will be announced at the Sustainable Packaging Summit, which takes place in Amsterdam on 14-15 November. The Summit mobilizes leaders of the FMCG value chain, policymakers, NGOs, recyclers and investors to collaborate, remove barriers and identify opportunities on the road to sustainable transformation.
To learn more or register, visit https://www.packagingsummit.earth/amsterdam2023/.
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