The European Tube Manufacturers Association (Etma) has announced the winners of its annual Tube of the Year competition, with each category showcasing innovations in design, weight and material reduction, and recyclability.

Etma’s Tube of the Year competition includes categories for aluminium tubes, plastic tubes, laminate tubes, prototypes, and sustainability. With the competition, Etma aims to set global standards for forward-looking and sustainable packaging solutions of the highest quality.

In the aluminium category, the jury voted for the Chanel No5 tubes, which are produced by Tubex Aluminium Tubes for the Chanel Factory 5 Collection that presents gels and lotions in functional containers. Tubex’s winning design for Chanel’s La Crème Corps (150 ml and 20 ml) and Le Gel Douche (20 ml) apparently resemble paint tubes and art supplies, with a matte finish across the tube body and shoulder, and a white octagonal cap.

Etma says there were two winners in the plastic tube category this year. The first is the Caudalie shower gel tube, manufactured by Albéa using its Thin Wall technology with COEX PCR Max and Slight Cap PP, which reportedly offers a lightweight solution with a high post-consumer recycled content. According to Etma, the Caudalie tube achieved its colour shading with mass colour and flexo printing, alongside a matching colour cap, while the surface of the tube is matte with transparent properties.

The other winner in the plastic category is Hoffmann Neopac’s PICEA Wood Tube – which is allegedly made with 95% renewable resources, including 10% spruce wood content sourced from sawdust waste from German joineries and 85% sugar-based content – for a vegan toothpaste range from Liebherr. Etma says that the fine wood flour used in the tube makes its surface feel slightly rough. Alongside this, the tube reportedly offers a 40% better CO2 balance compared to conventional PE tubes with the same barrier function, decoration, food suitability, and recyclability properties.

In the laminate tubes category, Albéa took first place again with its tube produced for La Roche-Posay’s Lipikar Baume AP+M. The next generation tube uses Albéa’s EcoFusion Top, a two-in-one solution that apparently allows for an 80% weight reduction compared to a standard head and cap while being made from HDPE to boost recyclability. The tube also incorporates Metamorphosis, a paper-based solution that the companies claim reduces the plastic content by 60% compared to the old Lipikar packaging.

Hoffman Neopac secured a second victory in the prototypes category with the Polyfoil MMB Monomaterial Barrier Tube, a PP-based tube with a PP closure or applicator that can reportedly be recycled in the PP container recycling stream according to RecyClass certification. The company says that the tube is suited for oxygen-sensitive goods and offers high product protection, while also reducing the CO2 emissions of a 30mm diameter tube by 40%. In addition, the Neopac tubes are apparently available with a high-quality soft-touch coating or with a shiny metallization.

In the sustainability category, Tube 4.0, produced by German manufacturer Linhardt for its customer dm, was nominated by the jury. As part of the Tube 4.0 project, the wall thickness of the plastic tubes for the dm brands Balea, Balea MEN, alverde, SauBär, babylove and Jessa was reduced by 30%, from 0.50 mm to only 0.35 mm, according to the companies. The companies add that the new tubes contain 60% (coex) or 70% (mono) post-consumer recyclate, excluding the closure. The winning alverde Ultra Sensitive Care Shower tube saves 2.9g of primary plastic per tube while offering attractive print aesthetics using Linhardt’s HD printing process, the companies claim.

Gregor Spengler, secretary general of Etma, comments: “Even in challenging times, our member companies are unwavering in their search for even better solutions in design, product protection and the development of new materials and resource-saving packaging solutions. It is fascinating to see how, year after year, the tube delivers new and interesting solutions for a wide range of applications and filling goods and continues to distinguish itself as an all-round packaging material.”

Etma reported that the European tube market remained stable in 2021 despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of tube deliveries exceeding the previous year by just under 1%.