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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Nike, Britvic Using Recycled Drink Containers, Wood Fiber to Revolutionize Packaging

The development of innovative packaging solutions continues to help brands reduce impact and drive future growth.

The development of innovative packaging solutions continues to help brands reduce impact and drive future growth.

Making good on its commitment to create products from waste materials and create a closed-loop future, NIKE has partnered with Taiwanese architect, engineer and CEO of Miniwiz — a company dedicated to upcycling post-consumer and industrial waste — Arthur Huang to design its Air Max packaging with recycled drink containers and lids.

The box, which can also double as a backpack, is produced from a single process Polypropylene with no added chemicals. The modular design allows it to be used as a stackable, interlocking component of a product display or storage system.

“These are all intentional features and qualities which revolve around the intent every Miniwiz product — reducing the impact on the environment in every way it can,” said Huang. “In this case, we’re adding features and efficiency to an existing product (shoe boxes) and by re-using non-virgin materials in a sustainable and responsible way.”

“We love Flyknit as a technology,” said Huang. “It gives designers a new canvas to create cool, while lowering environmental impact. We want to be associated with that and are glad that we are a part of this revolution.”

Meanwhile, Innovate UK and Natural Resources (2000) Ltd have joined forces with soft drink manufacturer Britvic, to develop packaging derived from sustainably sourced wood fiber materials.

The company focused much of its 2016 R&D efforts on advancing the wood fiber packaging technology. The research process into fiber and pulp has provided essential information for Britvic to further explore alternative packaging solutions going forward.

“We understand that packaging and environmental impact of waste is a major concern and we’re committed to working collaboratively with others to explore innovative solutions,” said Clive Hooper, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Britvic. “The wood fiber bottle is a great example of what potentially can be done and its development has provided great insight into what will and won’t work in terms of quality standards and mass production in the future. We’re now working hard to take our learnings from the fiber bottle to investigate fiber-based sustainable packaging materials further.

In addition to investment in R&D, Britvic is currently half way through a £240 million supply chain investment program to maximize efficiency across its manufacturing sites, reduce waste and improve its environmental footprint.

As part of this program, £25 million was invested at the Leeds plant, which employs over 200 people, to create a new high-speed bottling line, resulting in a 22 percent reduction in water use and a 45 percent reduction in energy consumption relative to production volumes. The upgrades have also allowed the Pepsi bottler to access the latest in packaging technology, allowing Britvic to blow and fill lighter bottles, thereby reducing the amount of plastic packaging needed per year by 155 tons, the equivalent of over ten double decker buses.