In the latest of our interview series with the finalists of the Sustainability Awards 2022, we catch up with Siegwerk and learn more about their UniNATURE inks, which are shortlisted in the Renewable Materials category.

You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2022. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry, the UniNATURE packaging inks formulated with a high bio-renewable content in less than 50 words?

UniNATURE inks contribute to defossilization by partially replacing fossil carbon with biorenewable carbon. Natural and conventional resins, from bio-sourced monomers, are combined so customers can use UniNATURE inks without process adjustments. UniNATURE inks also benefit from improved ink stability and lower VOC content.

Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about the packaging inks and about their impact on packaging sustainability.

The ease of implementation of the product and equivalent resistances of the inks are key innovations of UniNATURE inks. No required adjustment of existing processes (e.g. speed and colour matching) or use of additional products such as OPV’s allow customers to quickly and simply change to this more sustainable ink system. The range incorporates up to 50% renewable carbon content – up to nine times more compared to standard water-based inks. The range provides an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional inks without impacting the recyclability of paper and board packaging, and also contributes to reducing microplastics in inks.

How has your innovation been received?

UniNATURE inks have been well-received by our customers and are already implemented at several key customers who confirm the benefits of the series. Paper is being explored by brand owners as a viable alternative to plastic for many packaging applications. UniNATURE meets the needs of brand owners and packaging converters by providing sustainable water-based inks and coatings for paper and board applications.

You’re shortlisted for the Renewable Materials category. What do you see as the key demands, challenges and opportunities in relation to renewable materials in packaging?

Solutions which can provide scientifically proven increases in renewable content at comparable price levels are demanded by customers. Opportunities to further de-fossilize, reduce microplastics and reduce transportation volumes through higher dilution rates are under development. Applications where high resistances are required, and increasing the biorenewable content of pigments remains challenging.

The winners of this Sustainability Awards category will be announced at a dinner taking place at the Sustainable Packaging Summit in Lisbon on 13th-14th September 2022. To attend the ceremony, register here.