Sleeve/bottle combo facilitates recycling

Multi-material packages aren't usually thought of as being recyclable. However, a new type of dual-material sleeve pack, developed in Europe, was designed with recycling precisely in mind.

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Once the consumer uses the product, the paperboard sleeve can be popped off and the thin-walled bottle-which can be polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride-can be rolled up to a fifth of its volume. Both components can then be separately recycled; there are no glues or adhesives. French garden care products maker Profertyl switched to the package-now available in the U.S. from Filpac (Chestnut Hill, MA)-two seasons ago in an effort to develop a more environmentally friendly image for its plant food product line. By itself, the high-density PE bottle weighs only 18 g versus Profertyl's previous 40-g PVC container. The paperboard sleeves, made of recycled stock printed offset in four or five colors, lock over side lugs molded into the bottle to provide ample structural support to the bottles throughout distribution. After the 500-mL containers are injection blow molded, sleeves are semi-automatically applied by the molder, which licenses the concept and uses sleeve applicating equipment from Filpac. Profertyl says the new package, which carries about a 5% upcharge over the old, was cheaper than other environmentally friendly alternatives, and it didn't require modification to filling lines. Sales of the new pack didn't change after the switch, the company reports.

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