For our next Sustainability Awards 2020 finalist interview, we talk with Tubex about Blue Tube Evo - its tube made of 95% post-consumer recycled aluminium.

Congratulations on being selected by the international judging panel as a Sustainability Awards 2020 finalist! Could you please introduce your successful entry and what’s innovative about it?

TUBEX has been manufacturing aluminium tubes for more than 70 years. As the global leader in aluminium tube packaging, we understand that we have a responsibility to the planet – and that we can lead by example. Our mission is to develop products with the lowest possible environmental impact and to drive a circular economy.

The Blue Tube Evo is the most recent TUBEX product to fulfil this mission. We designed it using an innovative and future-focused eco-design approach. It’s an aluminium tube made of 95% post-consumer recycled aluminium, manufactured in an optimized production process and using up to 15% less material.

Combined with a highly carbon-sensitive production across our supply chain, this means that the Blue Tube Evo has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a standard aluminium tube. Its new material properties also allow consumers to use almost every drop of the product. This optimal emptying reduces both waste and the environmental impact caused by product remaining in the tube. 

In early October, we received the results of the latest life cycle assessment for the Blue Tube Evo compared to standard aluminium tubes. This LCA conforms to ISO standards 14040 and 14044 for public disclosure and has been critically reviewed by independent experts. It showed that the Blue Tube Evo emits up to 70% less CO2 than standard tubes, and up to 3% less than ABL tubes.

What are the environmental challenges in packaging that your entry addresses, and what impact do you hope it will make?

Climate change is affecting us all, and the environmental impacts of different packaging solutions are becoming better known. Consumers, retailers, and producers are increasingly seeking functional packaging solutions that are kind to the environment. In addition, legislation is pushing manufacturers to focus on recyclability and achieving a circular economy.

A wave of new packaging solutions has arrived on the market recently and it can be hard to know which is the best choice. We believe that simply using recycled material, for instance, doesn’t go far enough.

The Blue Tube Evo fulfils three Rs for maximum sustainability: it is infinitely recyclable, reduces material use, and is made of 100% recycled (re-used) aluminium. We’re proud of that.

But, when we were developing the Blue Tube Evo, our primary focus was on providing customers with a solution that shows how much carbon they save by choosing our tube. By prioritising low emissions and a circular economy, we are confident that we can help our customers to achieve their goal of reducing the carbon footprint of their tube packaging.

I’d like to ask you about the broader picture beyond your successful entry. ‘Sustainability’ in packaging is multi-dimensional – both in terms of objectives and challenges. Could you comment on the most important roadblocks you identify from your position in the value chain, and the kinds of solutions you would like to see addressing them (e.g. areas of technological innovation, collaboration, regulation)?

As a company with a history spanning more than seven decades, TUBEX Aluminium Tubes has developed strong bonds with customers and suppliers all over the world. They know they can rely on us for our integrity and for the respect we show the environment and the individuals who work for us. We believe this is a key factor for a successful value chain.

We’re also about to launch a corporate social responsibility programme entitled “Embracing the Future” and we recently signed up to the UN Global Compact. By driving sustainable development and innovation both within our company and across the communities in which we operate, we are working hard to secure the long-term success of our products while protecting both people and the planet.

With the Blue Tube Evo, we are creating a positive future for TUBEX Aluminium Tubes and all of our customers. It’s about reassessing our relationship with resources and nature. Our tubes radically reduce carbon emissions and drive the circular economy to give consumers the environmentally-conscious packaging that they are increasingly seeking out.

We take a forward-looking approach to our packaging solutions and we’ve built our operations on trust, integrity and respect. That puts us – and everyone we work with – in a great position today and allows us to be excited about tomorrow.