April’s top stories: Crown’s €1.2bn acquisition, Tetra Pak’s bio-based plastic

4 May 2014 (Last Updated May 4th, 2014 18:30)

Crown's €1.2bn acquisition of Mivisa, Tetra Pak's bio-based plastic, Chicago's plastic bag ban, Unilever's new technology to reduce plastic in bottles, and EuroCommerce's concerns over costly plastic bag alternatives. Packaging-gateway.com wraps up the key headlines from April.

April’s top stories: Crown’s €1.2bn acquisition, Tetra Pak’s bio-based plastic

Cans

Crown acquires Spanish food can manufacturer

US-based consumer packaging manufacturer Crown Holdings completed the acquisition of Spanish food can manufacturer Mivisa Envases at a cost of approximately €1.2bn.

Mivisa Envases specialises in producing two and three-piece food cans and ends, from investment funds managed by affiliates of The Blackstone Group and N+1 Mercapital and management.

The agreement was originally announced on 31 October 2013. On 14 April, the European Commission formally approved the acquisition.

Tetra Pak adopts bio-based plastic for carton packaging

Tetra Pak

Food processing and packaging solutions provider Tetra Pak announced that it will use bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) for the carton packages that it produces in Brazil.

Bio-based LDPE is made from sugar cane. In combination with paperboard, the bio-based LDPE will increase the content of renewable materials to as much as 82% in a Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000ml base package.

Coca-Cola Brazil was the first company to use the new packaging for its drinks. It previously sold its Del Valle juices in regular cartons.

Chicago to approve partial ban on plastic bags

The Health and Environment Committee of Chicago City Council gave preliminary approval for a ban on single-use plastic bags in chain stores.

From mid-2015, the bags will be banned for retailers except independent stores and restaurants, who will get another year to eliminate the bags. Groups of three or more locations with the same owner and franchise stores of over 10,000ft² are considered chain stores for the purposes of the ban.

Stores will be able to supply or sell reusable bags, recyclable paper bags or compostable plastic bags, with an option to charge for disposable bags.

Unilever launches technology to reduce plastic in bottles

Multinational consumer goods company Unilever announced the launch of MuCell technology for extrusion blow moulding (EBM), which minimises plastic use by 15%.

The company developed the new packaging technology in collaboration with its packaging suppliers Alpla and MuCell Extrusion.

The technology uses gas injection to create gas bubbles in the middle layer of the bottle wall, reducing the bottle density and the amount of required plastic.

EuroCommerce raises concerns over costly plastic bag alternatives

Plastic bag

European retail and wholesale representative EuroCommerce raised concerns about the effect on profits of EU legislation to replace plastic carrier bags used for fruit and vegetables.

The proposal calls for alternative packaging to plastic bags for fruits, vegetables and other products.

According to EuroCommerce, plastic carrier bags make up only a relatively small share of total waste generated in Europe and retail firms are already carrying out several voluntary measures in an effort to reduce their consumption.

Qatar urges food sellers to follow food packaging guidelines

The Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology released a statement reminding food producers, distributors and vendors that they are required to strictly follow safety guidelines set for food packaging materials.

The organisation said that sellers including restaurants and cafes are not following official guidelines for packaging and serving food. It warned sellers against the use of prohibited materials such as polyethylene bags and newspapers in food packaging.

Previously, the Ministry of Environment in Qatar had banned the use of foam for serving hot food and drinks, and called for new requirements for plastic and paper used as packaging.

UK to introduce plain tobacco packaging

Tobacco Packaging

The UK Government intends to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes in a bid to improve public health and reduce the number of child smokers.

With this move, the government wants tobacco firms to ban branding on cigarette packets and use the space to display only graphic health warnings.

The UK is expected to be the second nation in the world and the first in Europe to launch cigarettes in mandatory plain packaging.

India to ban plastic bottles for packaging of liquid medicine

Plastic bottle

A formal notification in relation to a ban on plastic bottles used to pack liquid medicines, such as paediatric and geriatric drugs, is expected soon from the Union Ministry of Health in India.

The use of PET bottles in the packaging of pharmaceutical liquid orals, suspensions and dry syrups has been found to lead to severe adverse effects on health, including cancer and physical infirmities. The exposure of plastics to high temperature may also result in adverse effects on the drug formulation that may lead to leachability.

In November 2013, the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) recommended a phased ban on the use of plastic or PET items in the packaging of liquid drugs. DTAB says that switching over to these from glass bottles is not based on any scientific studies on possible effects of the packaging on health.