Mondi is working with its partners to phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) in white goods packaging and implement its corrugated Snug&Strong solution – an alternative expected to enhance recyclability and meet legislative requirements while lowering damage and return costs.

Material and design experts at Mondi have set their sights on high-performance, corrugated solutions for white goods and electronic equipment. Although EPS material has been the standard solution thus far, it is prone to crumbling, creating additional costs from product damage and returns – yet switching to paper-based solutions has often been considered too expensive to undertake on a wider scale.

However, increasing mandates for extended producer responsibility (EPR) are being introduced, including those in the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation; this is hoped to make a transition into paper packaging economically viable.

Additionally, it is said that over 40% of plastic debris found on beaches in Asia stems from EPS and its resultant microplastics. In response to these environmental impacts, bans, levies, and increased disposal fees are being introduced, with Mondi anticipating the continued development of such legislation going forward.

Legislative action has been taken to crack down on EPS in such areas as Fiji, the Philippines, and certain regions in the United States, while bans have also been gaining traction in the wider Caribbean region and the European Union.

Mondi also gestures towards ongoing negotiations for the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution, in which international governments are developing new policy measures to tackle the environmental hazards of hard-to-recycle plastics.

The company suggests its own corrugated packaging portfolio as a potential solution. This includes a range of corrugated boxes made with recycled fibres – a route expected to bring the industry one step closer to a circular economy, as it is reported that Europe offers an 82.5% recycling rate for paper-based packaging.

Mondi’s Snug&Strong corrugated solution – described by the company as recyclable, efficient, and sustainable – has involved a team of experts working alongside customers to tailor the material to existing production lines and packaging requirements. They have worked to create plans to phase out EPS components over time and develop recyclable, multi-material packaging concepts.

Custom-fit and entirely paper-based, the industrial packaging solution hopes to streamline the supply chain and ease complexity, as well as provide enhanced protection, improve packaging processes, and guide brands towards more environmentally friendly packaging practices. Snug&Strong apparently takes up less space than EPS packaging as it is delivered flat, meaning it is cheaper to store and transport and easier to handle.

Mondi hopes to help manufacturers optimize and automate their packaging processes while embracing fully recyclable, fit-for-purpose packaging solutions that adhere to existing and upcoming legislation, as well as rising consumer demand for sustainable packaging.

The news comes after Mondi’s work alongside wind, railway, and industrial application manufacturer NKE to develop an offset-printed box for wind power components.

DS Smith Tecnicarton has also launched its MAX lamination technology in the hopes of increasing the viability of reusable and fully recyclable corrugated cardboard transport packaging.

In another development intending to keep electronic products from breaking, this time on the production line itself, Meech International’s high-accuracy ionizing bar is designed to prevent damage from electrostatic discharge in RFID tag manufacturing and other applications.

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