PaperBarrier Seal, by Coveris Flexibles (Germany) and Brigl & Bergmeister (Austria), is a fully recyclable, sustainably sourced packaging material that the companies say offers the same functionality and product safety as existing packaging alternatives, whilst minimizing both packaging and product waste. This solution has been nominated in the ‘Renewables’ category of our pre-commercialized Sustainability Awards.

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PaperBarrier Seal

You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2022. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarize your entry PaperBarrier Seal, in less than 50 words?

PaperBarrier Seal is an innovative paper-based packaging material that offers the same product protection as plastic alternatives while being more environmentally friendly. Thanks to its unique paper coating, the material enables sealability whilst still remaining fully recyclable in existing paper streams. Additionally, the solution ensures comparable production efficiencies as standard packaging solutions.

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.

There are two main directions that have been driving the development of alternative, more environmentally friendly packaging materials: the need to replace hard-to-recycle material and the interest in improving barrier functionality to paper. The reason behind these trends is the consumer pressure on using natural packaging materials and the shift in global sustainability focus from user-friendly features (like easy opening, reclosed functionality, etc.) to fully recyclable materials.

 At Coveris we believe the first stage of this evolution was the conversion to mono materials packaging. The next stage focuses on adding more paper-based solutions to the sustainable plastics that we offer. PaperBarrier Seal is a perfect example, offering protection against oxygen, vapor and aroma, while maintaining 100% recyclability.

When and how do you intend to launch/commercialize this innovation?

The PaperBarrier Seal solution was officially launched to the market in September 2021, during the last FachPack show, so it is already ready to sell. At the moment Coveris team is in the final stages of testing the product with selected customers. We predict that the product will be dispatched to the market shelves in Q3 2022.

You’re shortlisted for the ‘Renewables’ category. What do you see as the key demands, challenges and opportunities in relation to renewables in packaging?

Following the market’s demand and global packaging directives, renewable materials can address the key packaging challenges thanks to their recyclability. For example, by decreasing the number of packaging waste landing in landfills, which has been the case until now for nearly 38,5% of the generated waste in the EU only.[1] However, the ongoing climate change will impact the availability of natural resources, which in turn can affect the capacity of renewable materials. There is still the question of barrier properties – as of now, renewable materials are not able to provide the same level of product protection for some food products like flexible films. To recap, renewables pose exciting opportunities for a sustainable packaging future, but they will not completely replace other packaging materials.