DS Smith has partnered with packaging automation specialist Krones to create ECO Carrier, a fibre-based alternative to shrink wrap to package PET multipack bottles.

ECO Carrier is apparently compatible with Krones’ mechanisation system for its LitePac Top range, designed to fit into existing production lines ‘for minimum disruption and maximum efficiency’. It is particularly suited to a bottle range from 1L to 1.5L in a multipack function of 2x2 or 3x2, and uses corrugated board clips to hold the bottles together.

DS Smith claims that the Eco Carrier was designed in line with its Circular Design Metrics, and suggests that the packaging results in 100% recyclability, as well as a carbon footprint reduction of 71% in comparison to plastic shrink-wrap. It also hopes to utilise 100% renewable sources.

“Our customers and consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions to replace problem plastic while integrating seamlessly with their production lines,” said Marc Chiron, Sales, Marketing & Innovation Director, Packaging at DS Smith. “Through our work with Krones, we are able to help our customers reduce their plastic usage, increase recyclability, and transition to the circular economy by providing fully-recyclable fibre-based alternatives through an easy-to-implement solution.”

Wolfgang Huber, head of Order Center and Assembly, Packaging Technology at Krones, added: “Our collaboration with DS Smith represents our shared sustainability ambitions, which seek to provide products that align with consumers’ increasing desire for climate- and environment-friendly lifestyles.

As a turnkey supplier with customers in ever corner of the world, we have the expertise, the technologies, and the reach to contribute substantially to the complex sustainability challenges of today and tomorrow by making use of proven and state of the art packaging machinery made by Krones.”

Krones has also collaborated with Mondi in the creation of Hug&Hold, another shrink wrap replacement made of kraft paper. Similar initiatives include the collaboration between Graphic Packaging International and Estrella to replace its annual 99 tonnes of shrink wrap with paperboard alternatives; and Smurfit Kappa’s TopClip, which was launched to package Royal Grolsch’s beer cans.

A recent trial run by DS Smith experimented with paper packaging produced from natural elements such as seaweed, cocoa shells, straw, and daisies.