Volpak and Lecta test eco-friendly paper packaging materials

9 July 2024

Volpak, a Coesia company specializing in horizontal form-fill-seal solutions for the packaging industry, and Lecta, a European manufacturer and distributor of specialty papers, have embarked on a collaborative project aimed at testing and validating sustainable materials for packaging applications. 

Lecta recognized the importance of collaborating with Volpak to ensure that these new materials can be effectively utilized on existing packaging machinery. This collaboration aims to bridge the gap between material innovation and practical application, ensuring that eco-friendly papers meet the operational requirements of modern packaging lines.  

The shift towards sustainable packaging is driven by regulatory pressures and consumer demand. A Bain & Company report indicates that 71 percent of European and US consumers prefer sustainable products, particularly those with minimal or recyclable packaging. Additionally, a study by NIQ and McKinsey shows that 92 percent of shoppers consider sustainability an important factor when choosing a brand, emphasizing the growing expectation for eco-friendly packaging. 

By focusing on paper-based packaging, which is recyclable and aligns with circular economy principles, Volpak and Lecta are addressing these consumer preferences.   

Lecta has already introduced barrier products to the market, which are suitable for a variety of packaging applications. These include flow packs, sachets, and wrapping materials, such as butter wrappers. The company combines different barrier properties and heat-sealability to meet specific packaging needs. 

The company has created new functional metallized, uncoated and coated one side papers with barrier properties. These papers are designed to maintain eco-friendly characteristics while providing essential protections, such as barriers against water vapor, grease, oxygen, and alcohol. Notably, these papers are recyclable and can be processed in standard paper recycling circuits, aligning with the principles of a circular economy. 

The primary focus of this joint project is to explore the use of Lecta's sustainable papers in flexible packaging. Potential applications span various sectors. The versatility of these new papers also extends to food service items, including cups, demonstrating their broad applicability. 

Volpak's role in this project involves conducting rigorous tests to assess the performance of these materials in real-world scenarios. These tests are carried out within Volpak's ‘pouch lab’, an internal research and development facility designed to evaluate the machinability and durability of new materials. The pouch lab allows Volpak to simulate actual production conditions, ensuring that the environmentally friendly papers can be seamlessly integrated into existing packaging processes without compromising efficiency or quality. 

The collaboration is structured around a series of phases, beginning with the initial development and testing of the materials. Currently, both companies are engaged in extensive trials involving actual products to evaluate the effectiveness of the new papers. These tests are crucial for identifying any potential improvements and obtaining the necessary certifications for commercial use. 

Lecta's product, innovation, and factory teams are dedicated to expanding the range of barrier products and enhancing their performance. Simultaneously, Volpak is leveraging its technical expertise and market insights to ensure that these materials meet the high standards required for packaging applications.  

Source: Labels & Labelling