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Dow Award Finalists Reduce Waste, Increase Recyclability

These innovative packaging solutions bring uncanny and never-before-seen solutions to food and beverage, health and hygiene, agriculture, and other industries.

The list of Diamond Winners recognized by Dow’s 2021 Packaging Innovation Awards, revealed earlier this year in 2022, features solutions in design, sustainability, user experience, and increased product shelf life.
The list of Diamond Winners recognized by Dow’s 2021 Packaging Innovation Awards, revealed earlier this year in 2022, features solutions in design, sustainability, user experience, and increased product shelf life.

The Dow Packaging Innovation Awards have been highly sought after these last 30 years by start-ups and well-established companies alike. The list of Diamond Winners recognized by Dow’s 2021 Packaging Innovation Awards, revealed earlier this year in 2022, features solutions in design, sustainability, user experience, and increased product shelf life.  

“With these entries I’ve seen how we are entering a new phase, or next generation, of sustainable solutions, which I like to call responsible solutions. We have seen it this year, especially with the Diamond winner, creating a solution with the consumer’s actionability in mind,” says David Luttenberger, CPP, global packaging director for Mintel Group, Ltd and judge for the 2021 Dow Awards.

Entries came from companies around the globe with a wide range of packaging solutions for the food and beverage, health and hygiene, personal care, industrial, and agriculture industries. With over 320 entries to evaluate, the judges awarded ten Diamond Winners, 13 Gold Winners, and 13 Silver Winners. –Melissa Griffen

Diamond Award Winner

Brookfarm’s curbside recyclable, high-barrier stand-up pouch by O F Packaging

Diamond WinnerMuesli and granola brand Brookfarm challenged O F Packaging to create a high-barrier packaging structure to protect its product, but still be recyclable through curbside recycling schemes.

According to the company, flexible packaging is typically not easy to recognize by material recovery equipment, and hand-picking such materials becomes difficult. In addition, up until 2020, the only way for consumers to recycle flexible packaging was to collect it and drop it into an assigned bin at a store that participates in a suitable program.

After 12 months of testing by O F Packaging and its partners at PREP Design and Results Group, the Diamond Award Winning Roll ‘n’ Recycle® packaging became a reality, allowing consumers to transform the empty, 100% polyethylene packaging into a 3D shape suitable for their home recycling bin.

With the knowledge of how Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) work, the companies concluded that consumers could be part of the solution by rolling the semi-rigid plastic pouches into a 3D shape to prevent them from travelling to Mixed Paper at the 2D/3D separation process. This was originally verified at the SKM Recycling MRF in Melbourne, Australia in 2017.

The Roll ‘n' Recycle program has been trademark-registered in Australia, the European Union, the U.S., New Zealand, South Korea, and China.

Instructions on the package prompt the consumers to roll the empty semi-rigid granola pouch gets into a cylinder, and then the product label takes on a second life as a sticker to keep the new shape of the packaging. The rolled-up pouch can then be dropped into the recycling bin ready for curbside pickup.

Diamond Finalists

ITC Savlon’s pump-less handwash packaging

85 Apac Pumpless Pichkiao Pack 1The COVID-19 pandemic led to lots of product shortages around the world, including the pumps vital to handwash packaging. To overcome this shortage, ITC Savlon introduced a pump-less handwash pack, a first-of-its-kind handwash pack format that the company says is reusable, refillable, and easy to use and carry.

Designed for better squeezability, the product pack is easy to use. Due to its capillary action, consumers do not need to tilt the bottle. Reusability of the bottle and the pump-less design brings in a new format in the category and redefines optimization, the company says.

The packaging is entirely plastic, without a metal spring or glass ball hindering the pump’s recyclability. Beyond function and sustainable properties, the pump tends to be the most expensive part of the pack to produce in handwash packs, so eliminating it will deliver a price the consumer will love. 

Mavuno Bora hermetic bags by Packaging Industries Limited

153 Mavuno Bora Bag With LinerEffectively storing grain is an ever-increasing challenge in Kenya, especially as over 1.5 million Kenyans face hunger. Seasonal fluctuations in weather patterns cause instability of food production, coupled with the change of crop prices, directly impacting farmers’ earnings and savings.

Farmers have traditionally turned to silos and drums to store their produce, with assistance from pesticides. But these are only temporary solutions for storage for a few weeks before an infestation embedded within the produce destroys the harvest.

Crop prices are often lowest right after harvest, increasing substantially in the months afterwards. Farmers often sell their maize at low prices immediately after harvest to reduce the risk of losing their crop to infestation, due to a lack of appropriate and reliable storage solutions. After exhausting their yields, they buy maize for consumption later in the season at higher prices.

The Mavuno Bora hermetic bags are Kenyan-manufactured and designed to protect the contents from infestation, stop mold growth, eliminate infestation embedded within the produce, and preserve the harvest for up to two years. The polypropylene woven sac comes with a high barrier hermetic liner that preserves the grain and dried agricultural produce with minimal loss in quality, allowing farmers to store their produce without the use of chemicals and pesticides and ensuring food security through the seasons.

The bag is made with high-performance polymers, making it extremely strong and durable. The flexible storage bag can also be reused for up to three seasons, making it a cost-effective and easily accessible option for farmers.

Farmers must ensure the closure is tied correctly by twisting and tying with a cable tie or elastic band so there is limited air inside the bag, providing the required environment for ideal long-term storage. It is the act of correctly closing the bag that would ensure the preservation of the produce.

The Mavuno Bora hermetic bag is also designed to maintain germination quality of the grains inside and preserve the aroma and flavors of the produce. The bags are available from Packaging Industries Limited. 

Colgate Elixir, a solution for waste reduction in toothpaste

159 Naa Colgate Elixir 1Consumers and packaging manufacturers alike have been constantly faced with the challenge of how to get the most use out of a tube of toothpaste, which is why Colgate has decided to turn their toothpaste tube on its head, literally, by creating a new ‘cap side down’ bottle for Colgate Elixir Toothpaste. 

The PET bottle provides the same excellent barrier properties you’d usually get from aluminum lined tubes, whilst allowing the package to be recyclable. The clear PET bottle with LiquiGlide technology is designed to let people see how much toothpaste is left and enjoy it to the last drop. The ultra-precise nozzle provides accurate dispensing on the brush with less mess and less waste.

   Read Packaging World’s full coverage of this technology. 

Sustainable McDonald's sundae cup and lid by Huhtamaki

179 Huhtamäki Helsinki 2020 Highres 24 No Mcd Lid New 6x5cmHow can you replace brand-iconic packaging and help the environment? McDonald’s took on the challenge of replacing its brand-iconic packaging with a more sustainable solution, turning to Huhtamaki and HAVI to update their non-renewable ice cream sundae packaging. 

The solution Huhtamaki and HAVI provided is in line with the restaurant’s global sustainability goals and supports consumer preferences. But it’s not just sustainability that was at the forefront of the development. Product performance was also a key criterion; the restaurant operator perspective as well as the consumer’s sensory and taste perception were deciding factors in the choice of material.

The innovative solution was, perhaps surprisingly, wood fibers from sustainably managed forests. The fiber-based cup and lid are fully plant-based and made from 100% renewable resources and are fully recyclable and compostable—containing no plastic coatings—whilst also providing the insulating effect needed from ice cream packaging. 

WestRock CanCollar sustainable canned beverage solution for AB InBev

239 Naa Sustainable Canned Beverage Coke And Pepsi 1At the outset of the sustainability movement, plastic rings used to hold beverage multipacks were among the first pack formats to draw the ire of environmentalists. Plastic rings still carry consumer perceptions of being difficult to recycle and posing risks to wildlife of not properly disposed of. 

AB InBev and WestRock came together to find an alternative that would still provide the durability required of plastic rings. What they came up with is a 100% paperboard CanCollar family of packaging to eliminate the need for plastic rings, instead it uses a robust “toothed” design to keep the cans in place.

These environmentally friendly rings are designed to be durable enough that the packages don’t need any glue to hold them in place. The CanCollar packaging family can help beverage brands reach their sustainability goals, communicate their environmental stance to consumers, and reduce the use of virgin plastics. It’s a win for brands and a win for wildlife, according to the companies.

Stay tuned for an upcoming issue of Packaging World in which we will have details of the WestRock paperboard technology, its Fortuna multipack carrier application machinery installed at the packaging at an AB InBev Corona/Modelo facility, and details on the company’s recent acquisition of Grupo Gondi, a paperboard converter and supplier partner in the project.

Leak-proof, environmentally friendly hand sanitizer sachet from T.H.E.M.

245 Naa Hand Sanitizer Packet 1Hand sanitizer does a great job of keeping our hands free from germs, but the packaging isn’t always robust enough to stop a 70% alcohol product from losing its efficacy over time, or to prevent bottle caps from accidentally opening and leaking into your bag or pocket.

Co-packing company T.H.E.M. custom-engineered an ultra-lightweight, zero-head space sachet proven to withstand temperatures of 40°C for 252 days (equates to a three-year shelf-life) with no loss of product efficacy, and which also exhibits extraordinary burst strengths of greater than 450 lbs—meaning it can withstand dizzying high-altitude pressures and will never leak in a pocket or purse.

The entire product was conceived and optimized by the same team, leveraging the specific properties of the materials, product formulation, and form-fill-seal machine. The package is produced on Sanko stick machine lines, the only machines, according to the T.H.E.M., capable of producing this specific product format.

The zero-head space technology results in an environmentally friendly 60% reduction in material vs a comparable sized sachet containing 1.2 ml of product. It is designed to open easily with tear notches on both edges.

Kleenex collective packaging by Kimberly-Clark de Mexico

256 Laa Kleenex Collective Pack 1The Kleenex collective soap packaging has been redesigned, and what once consisted of individually plastic wrapped soap bars, housed in a secondary packaging of coated recycled paperboard, is now a unique box in solid bleached sulphate with hot melt glued closures.

This design not only removes the need for secondary packaging but also reduces the number of steps the consumer must take to grab their soap and get their hands and body squeaky clean.

The packaging redesign has also improved recyclability and allowed for 11% more product per pallet, resulting in a more efficient distribution and a greater reduction in environmental footprint.

GSK’s plastic-free, recyclable secondary packaging toothbrush launch

296 Naa Toothbrush Plastic Free Package 1Traditional toothbrush packaging is not widely recycled, not because the packaging isn’t recyclable, but because existing material recovery facilities either cannot sort them or have difficulties removing labels and cardboard backing. 

GSK’s disruptive solution with Westrock is to seal NatraLock paperboard to a cellulose, starch-based tray, creating 100% bio-based blister packaging that can be recycled alongside paper products.

Also, by avoiding any costly changes to assembly machinery, the company assured that the product costs didn’t need to rise, helping combat the common assumption that sustainable goods cost more.

Smarties confectionery recyclable paper packaging by Nestlé

322 50874222901 1e8805c5b3 K 1Each year, Nestle is removing over 250 million plastic packs by Smarties switching to paper packaging. This adds up to a lot of packaging. In line with the company’s 2025 packaging commitment, Smarties set themselves the challenge of being the first confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging, resulting in a massive amount of plastic removal. This was a global endeavor, involving hundreds of collaborators, to ensure that the paper could run efficiently and effectively on automatic high-speed packing lines, whilst upholding the same Smarties quality that kids, and adults, love.

   Check out Packaging World’s full coverage of this technology.   

Gold Award Winners

  • Low carbon green mailer packaging technology by Boxtalk Media Limited and Huizhou University
  • SBP Dupla Ação multi-functional swivel cap, made in collaboration by Reckitt Benckiser, The Ideas, Brasilata, Aptar, and Promáquina
  • Recyclable matt polyethylene stand-up pouch by Microplast-Coldeplast
  • Three-dimensional molded pouch by Toyo Seikan Co., Ltd. and NatureLab. Co., Ltd.
  • Veja Power Nature, a recyclable multipurpose product, made in collaboration by Reckitt Benckiser, Alpla, Gualapack, and Flexoprint
  • Laser engraved recycled water bottle, made in collaboration by Valgroup and Danone Waters Brazil, Bendito Design, Moldintec, and Mirvi
  • Circular economy pouch packaging for Zero Co. by O F Packaging and Arne Studio
  • Universal electronics cardboard blister packaging for remote controls by STI and Vlastuin CDI
  • Sambazon açaí bowl 100% compostable packaging by Fuseneo, Inc.
  • The recyclable retort pouch, AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable, by Amcor
  • Mondi Consumer Packaging’s recyclable functional barrier paper to protect Les Crudettes salad range
  • kpNext™ R1, PET recyclable blister film by kp
  • Yerba maté Salus 100% recyclable packaging by Molinos Rio de la Plata and Bolsapel

Silver Award Winners

  • Compostable wax pods for cleaning concentrates by etee and Diatom Consulting
  • YompBoxTM COOL, an inflatable insulated protective packaging for cold chain made by YompBox and AirxenBox
  • Plasma barrier for agrochemicals packaging by Unipac and Syngenta Proteção de Cultivos
  • Colgate Recyclable Tube by Colgate-Palmolive
  • Natrellis dual ovenable fiber packaging made in collaboration by Sonoco Products Company, Tellus Products, and LLC
  • NetRoll® REC60, an industrial stretch film by HIPAC SPA
  • Nescafé Protect Proslim™, a recyclable alu-foil free instant coffee stick by Huhtamaki and Nestlé Thai
  • flatBowl compostable sugarcane food packaging by
  • The Garnier Men Shampoo Color project, packaging colorant and developer in one sachet, by L’Oréal India Pvt Ltd and Huhtamaki India Ltd
  • Reycled PP ‘Green Bags’ by Texplast Industries Limited
  • EcoLamHighPlus, a high barrier mono PE laminate by Constantia Flexibles
  • ProActive Recyclable® Paper Mailer with water resistance by ProAmpac
  • Recyclable polyethylene pouches by Constantia Flexibles India
   E-Commerce Companies Explore Reusable and Refillable Container Solutions


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