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China cancels meat imports after virus presence on outer packaging

China has reportedly cancelled meat and meat products imports from a number of countries after coronavirus was detected on packaging.

China General Administration of Customs official Bi Kexin was reported by Global Times as saying the virus was found on six samples of taken from shipments of frozen shrimps.

The samples were picked from shipments of three Ecuadorian companies Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila, Empacreci and Empacadora Del Pacifico Sociedad Anonima Edpacif.

They were imported from Ecuador to Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province and Xiamen, East China’s Fujian Province.

On inspection, the outer packaging was contaminated.

However, the frozen shrimp and inner packaging were reportedly tested negative.

A statement by Customs General Administration was quoted by The Business Standard as saying: “After nucleic acid sequence analysis and expert judgement, the test results suggested that the container environment and the outer packaging of the goods of the three companies were at risk of contamination by the new coronavirus, and the companies’ food safety management system was not in order.”

As a result, China suspended imports from 23 meat producers from various countries including Germany, the US, Brazil and the UK.

In response to the development, China has tightened inspection of other imported foods and their packaging.

The University of Hong Kong School of Biomedical Sciences professor Jin Dongyan was quoted by the publication as saying: “China has sufficient evidence that the virus was on the imported shrimp package and it’s reasonable to ban the shrimp imports of the related foreign companies.”

12:27 pm

Amcor: 83% of customers check packaging disposal instructions

Research conducted by global packaging company Amcor has found that 83% customers check on-pack instructions for packaging disposal.

The study was conducted to understand consumer perceptions of sustainability and packaging.

It revealed that customers expect more responsible packaging options from brands amid coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, the survey reveals that consumers are ready to spend extra money for separate products from major brands.

Amcor chief commercial officer Michael Zacka said: “At a time when people are rethinking their choices in light of a global pandemic, we are using our deep expertise and insights to help customers better understand what consumers want, right down to country-level.

“Sustainability is our most exciting growth opportunity and we continue investing in highly sophisticated R&D capabilities.

“Our portfolio has an ever-wider choice of more responsible packaging, from recyclable PET containers made from 100% post-consumer recycled content to unique recyclable flexible pouches and lighter weight paper-based alternatives.”

The research, which involved more than 4,000 participants from different countries, is part of Amcor’s continued industry leadership in sustainability. 

Amcor has reached several partnerships to enhance waste management infrastructure and improve consumer education and participation in recycling.

The company also pledged to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. It is the founding signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

Last month, Amcor enhanced its sustainability commitment towards removal of plastic waste from the environment by joining World Wildlife Fund-led activation hub.

12:02 pm

HMBO launches V-Shapes Single-Serve Packaging Technology

Hand sanitiser and personal hygiene products manufacturer HMBO has introduced V-Shapes Single-Serve Packaging Technology.

The patented single-serve packaging is designed such that it allows the user to use just one hand to easily and quickly dispense the sanitising gel.

All the user needs to do is ‘fold, snap, and squeeze’, noted the company.

HMBO CEO Peter Jungsberger Sr said: “HMBO is truly excited to introduce its hand sanitiser formula, now conveniently packaged in V-Shapes single-serve packaging pouch that utilises patented, one-hand opening technology.

“HMBO is proud of our commitment to offering safe and effective sanitising, hygiene products in a multitude of sizes and applications to our national partners, as well as to local businesses and school districts looking to provide a safer and cleaner environment for all people in these uncertain times.

“Our introduction of V-Shapes pouching technology is not only a game-changer in the single-serve hand sanitiser space because of convenience of carry and use, but another exciting piece of the puzzle, as it offers people even more choices in their personal hygiene and self-care regimens.”

The new packaging complements HMBO’s Uncle Pete premium brand of hand sanitiser products and many top private label brands available in various US retail outlets, including Walmart, Costco, Duane Reade, WAWA, Kroger, and more.

Recently, corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa launched a new Bag-in-Box packaging suitable for hand sanitiser for end consumers.

Last month, glass manufacturer Ardagh Group, Glass – North America and craft distiller Heritage Distilling also entered a partnership to develop glass bottles for hand sanitiser.

12:01 pm

Stevanato Group to supply glass vials for Covid-19 vaccine doses

Italian pharmaceutical glass containers provider Stevanato Group and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) have signed an agreement for the supply of Borosilicate glass vials.

As part of this agreement, Stevanato will supply 100 million Type 1 Borosilicate glass vials to hold up to two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

Additionally, the group will offer ‘fast track’ access to its glass vial forming lines provided by its company Spami.

The agreement is still subject to the safe and effective development of the product.

Stevanato Group CEO Franco Stevanato said: “We are proud to support CEPI in this important project. We share the same deep sense of responsibility and commitment to achieving our industry goal of successfully addressing this public health challenge, ensuring no patient is left behind.”

The supply agreement is part of CEPI’s efforts to accelerate the development of vaccine by making progress on manufacturing and the clinical development of candidate vaccines simultaneously.

Investing up to $829m, CEPI has worked in coordination with its partners, in nine Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

CEPI CEO Dr Richard Hatchett said: “In addition to accelerating the development of Covid-19 vaccine candidates, CEPI is working with partners around the world to begin the manufacture of millions of vaccine doses so that, should a candidate be proven to be safe and effective, it will be available to those in need without delay.

“In order to achieve this aim, CEPI is supporting the procurement of critical vaccine packaging components, including glass vials. We are therefore delighted to be working with the Stevanato Group to secure high-quality pharma vials for two billion doses of vaccine, helping to maximise our efforts to advance the development of a Covid-19 vaccine and bring this pandemic to an end as soon as possible.”

4:30 pm

PTP repurposes capabilities to make face shield splash guard

North America clear folding box manufacturer Printex Transparent Packaging (PTP) has repurposed its capabilities to produce face shield splash guard.

The company has facilities in New York and Montreal. It has delivered more than ten million shields to front line workers in the last three months.

Additionally, the company has delivered the face shields to healthcare facilities, government agencies, as well as food processors and industrial distributors. It had donated thousands and sold millions.

PTP president David Dennison said: “When the outbreak happened, we had the materials and the equipment to produce face shields, we just needed a good design. Within days, our designers in NY, Montreal and Burlington collaborated to come up with a great design that is efficient to produce using materials we already had in our manufacturing facilities.

“Our team met with potential users for initial feedback and within a week we were producing in NY and Montreal, shipping product across the US and Canada. Some being sold and some being donated.”

Featuring an economically disposable design, the PTP shield and strap are lightweight and fully produced using recyclable materials.

The line extensions include shields for bump caps, hard hats and printing brand logos on the shield or head strap.

The company produces its own design of safety shield market, and the clear shield section for other manufacturers that provide their own head strap and assembly.

Printex Transparent Packaging specialises in non-paper packaging converting business applying clear PET windows to paper folding cartons.

12:45 pm

Covid-19: Pregis donates over 5,000 Penguin Pack insulated box liners

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Protective packaging products manufacturer Pregis has donated more than 5,000 Penguin Pack insulated box liners to Chicago’s Lakeview Pantry.

As the largest food pantry in the US city, Lakeview Pantry distributes more than two million meals to residents annually.

Lakeview Pantry has seen surge in demand for food assistance from low-income residents, vulnerable senior citizens and laid-off workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The numbers are still increasing.

The Pantry’s food programmes, such as its physical sites, Online Market and Home Delivery programme rose by 400%.

The packaging donation from Pregis has helped in the safe delivery of packages of healthy, fresh groceries through the Pantry’s Home Delivery programme to thousands of senior citizens and homebound individuals.

Pregis ready-to-use products vice-president Ryan Wolcott said: “Protecting what matters’ is at the core of everything we do. Our friends at Lakeview Pantry allowed us to bring that core value to life through their inspiring home delivery programme.

“Supporting a community organisation in our own backyard – especially during such challenging times – makes this a truly gratifying moment for everyone involved.”

Pregis also offered support such as recycling education, and water relief initiatives.

As the outbreak continues, the food pantry extended programme hours, Online Market and Home Delivery programs, and launched a temporary site at Wrigley Field to meet the demand.

Lakeview Pantry CEO Kellie O’Connell said: “It’s through partnerships like this one that allow Lakeview Pantry to serve our neighbours in need during this pandemic. Our critical food assistance programs are a lifeline to many residents in the city.

“We are very grateful to Pregis for aiding in the fight to end hunger.”

12:36 pm

Ardagh Group and Stanpac provide milk bottles amid coronavirus

Ardagh Group, Glass – North America and its partner Stanpac have partnered to provide glass milk bottles amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The latest move comes in response to the increasing demand for glass milk bottles from delivery companies across the US due to the outbreak. Americans still want these bottles delivered to their doorsteps even at this time when states are reopening.

Ardagh has been manufacturing the American-made glass milk bottles that are supplied by Stanpac to regional dairy brands across the country.

Stanpac Marketing vice-president Murray Bain said: “Stanpac has been working 24/7 to keep up with the consumer demand for our customers’ dairy products across the country.

“It has been a challenge, but so critically important to keep our customers serving consumers across the nation in a challenging time.”

Glass bottles that are 100% recyclable can be recycled without any loss in purity or quality.

Additionally, returnable glass milk bottles can be refilled and reused making them a better alternative for a sustainable future.

Ardagh North American Glass business unit chief commercial officer John Shaddox said: “Ardagh takes great pride in working alongside Stanpac to provide sustainable glass packaging for dairy brands across America.

“Glass packaging is increasingly being recognised as the right choice for brands to strengthen their business and their own sustainability platform, while delivering consumers the best in product integrity, safety and environmental excellence.”

Earlier this month, Ardagh Group, Glass – North America and craft distiller Heritage Distilling entered a partnership to develop glass bottles for hand sanitiser due to the increased demand for hand sanitiser during the pandemic.

11:20 am

Catalent to provide vial filling and other services to AstraZeneca

Advanced delivery technologies provider Catalent has agreed to supply vial filling and packaging capacity to pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

As part of this agreement, the company’s Biologics unit will increase the capacity at the Anagni production facility located in Italy.

In the next few months, the 28,000m² facility will be prepared to support the large-scale commercial supply of the University of Oxford’s adenovirus vector based Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222.

Catalent president and chief operating officer Alessandro Maselli said: “Catalent has significant experience in the tech transfer and rapid scale-up of vaccine programmes to meet demand.

“Our manufacturing site in Anagni, Italy has served for many years as a primary launch facility for new medicines, and the plant’s skilled team will take great pride in preparing to manufacture this vaccine candidate for Covid-19 and ensuring that the product will be able to reach patients as quickly as possible if approved.”

Several hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine candidate will be supplied from August this year. It is expected to run through to March 2022.

Catalent’s Anagni facility offers extensive capabilities in aseptic liquid filling for biologics and sterile products across multiple vial sizes.

It also provides primary and secondary packaging solutions, such as serialisation for product launches of oral solids, sterile, and biologics products.

Catalent’s Biologics also operates sterile drug product manufacturing and packaging facilities in Brussels, Belgium and Bloomington, Indiana.

3:53 pm

SiO2 contracted to ramp up container production for vaccines

Biological pharmaceuticals and vaccines packaging technology provider SiO2 Materials Science has secured a contract from the US Government to ramp up container production.

The company has signed a $143m agreement with the Department of Defence’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defence (JPEO-CBRND) in partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

This investment is for the company’s advanced, patented, primary packaging platform for storing novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics.

SiO2 advisor and MIT institute professor Dr Robert Langer said: “The nation can produce all the vaccines we want, but we must have appropriate containers to store them and deliver them to patients safely.

“Many drug development and drug formulation innovations can be limited due to variables associated with traditional glass vials and syringes. The SiO2 vials and syringes eliminate these variables and allow drug development partners to bring their innovations to life.”

According to SiO2, its patented materials coating includes a plastic container featuring an undetectable pure glass coating.

The company’s vials and syringes have thermal stability ranging from -196˚C to 121˚C, seal integrity down to -80˚C, chemical stability with pH range from 3-14 and gas permeation properties like glass.

They are precision moulded, can withstand 1,500 pounds of direct force and are dimensionally consistent by up to 15 times more than glass.

Experts from University of California, Santa Barbara and Berkeley, University of Chicago, MIT, and Harvard, as well as Dr Glenn Fredrickson supported the development of the company’s patented materials science.

Fredrickson said: “The SiO2 vials solve significant challenges in the commercialisation of vaccines and biological drugs, which presently cannot be solved by glass or plastic vials.

“Bringing this advanced coating to market will enable pharmaceutical manufacturers to safely and more rapidly deploy their critical products.”

4:51 pm

Covid-19: Halonix sanitises its packaging through UV light

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Residential and institutional lighting company Halonix is reportedly using ultraviolet (UV) light to sanitise its packaging and products.

The move is part of the company’s efforts to protect and preserve the health of its customers and support the Indian Government’s efforts to fight the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The company has installed UV Light sanitisation tunnels at its manufacturing facility as it aims to accelerate production.

These are expected to help the company achieve complete decontamination of its products and packages, reported NewsVoir.

Additionally, Halonix is following safety precautions and procedures to maintain hygiene, social distancing at the facility.

It is also providing hand sanitisers, face masks gloves and soaps for the safety of its workers.

Halonix managing director Rakesh Zutshi was quoted as saying: “Halonix is presenting a fine example of business practices required at this time of unprecedented crisis arising out of the pandemic.

“By following the COVID-19 protocols in letter and spirit the company is safeguarding the lives of its consumers as well as its staffs alike.

“Taking it one step further we are sanitising all our products and packages through UV Light Sanitisation, hence we are also contributing our bit in the ongoing war against pandemic.”

Confirmed cases on coronavirus have reached 6,185,523 globally, while death toll stands at 372,377.

In India, coronavirus cases have crossed 190,000, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world. The number of deaths from Covid-19 stood at 5,394.

12:38 pm

Glassware maker Libbey files voluntary petitions for bankruptcy

Glass tableware manufacturers Libbey and its subsidiaries based in the US have filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, the petitions are for a reorganisation process under the supervision of the court to strengthen its balance sheet.

Libbey is holding discussions with its lenders and other stakeholders for a consensual financial restructuring plan.

Meanwhile, the company’s international subsidiaries in Canada, China, Mexico, the Netherlands and Portugal continue to operate normally and are not part of the proceedings.

Libbey chief executive officer Mike Bauer said: “While we entered 2020 with positive momentum from our strong finish in 2019, the dramatic and prolonged impact of Covid-19 on the demand for our products and on our business is truly unprecedented in Libbey’s more than 200-year history.

“As a result, entering this process is a necessary step to address our liquidity, strengthen our balance sheet and better position Libbey for the future.

“We believe this process will help Libbey become an even stronger, more influential partner to our customers, vendors and end users, and ensure we continue to create the most rewarding experiences with our extensive line of high-quality glassware and other tabletop products.”

Libbey’s existing lenders have agreed to provide up to $160m in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, which includes a $100m revolving credit facility and a $60m term loan.

In April this year, Libbey reduced operations at its manufacturing and distribution centres in Mexico in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

3:29 pm

Covid-19: Iceland packaging tests delayed due to virus

In an interview with news site The Grocer, Iceland MD Richard Walker talked about the impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic on the store and Iceland’s current efforts in reducing plastic waste.

In the interview, Walker said that Iceland is investigating into how the pandemic has affected consumer habits and presented challenges to food waste. He also said that packaging testing has been delayed due to Covid-19.

Walker told The Grocer: “At a really granular level some of the specific trials, testing and packaging line level activities have been delayed either by restricted access to sites, or by demand constraints on line availability, but not to the point of delaying overall projects. Our suppliers have managed to maintain activity and continue delivering changes.”

When asked about how the pandemic has impacted the industry regarding plastic, Walker said: “On plastic, it’s too early to tell – but our work and commitment to remove it from our own-label packaging by the end of 2023 remains firm. Whilst we’ve all been consumed by the crisis both in work and at home, it is only two-and-a-half months in, and today’s ‘new normal’ won’t be tomorrow’s ‘new normal’.”

12:37 pm

NITR introduces sustainable packaging for Smarties Music Creator

Nestlé International Travel Retail (NITR) has reportedly relaunched its Smarties Music Creator featuring sustainable packaging.

The move is part of the company’s aim to achieve 100% recyclable and reusable packaging by 2025.

Nestle has used a recyclable carton box to replace the single-use plastic packaging in Smarties Music Creator.

Nestlé International Travel Retail general manager Stewart Dryburgh said: “Clearly these are unprecedented times and the COVID-19 crisis will impact the immediate roll-out for the new Smarties Music Creator.

“In the mid-long term, however, the demand for recyclable and eco-friendly solutions will only increase, and with Smarties, we will be ready with these solutions.

“Sales for the first version of the Smarties Music Creator were incredibly positive and we have every reason to believe that this more sustainable version will be an even greater success.

“In 2019 Smarties set the ambitious target of being the first global children’s confectionery brand to remove single use plastics. We look forward to continuing this journey in 2021 and the years to come.”

Earlier this month, Nestlé trialled a new refillable instant coffee and Purina cat food service in Switzerland as part of its efforts to reduce its single-use packaging.

In March, the company teamed up with Australia-based recycling firm iQ Renew to launch a trial that aims to collect soft plastics from more than 100,000 homes.

11:31 am

Packaging firm JohnsByrne delivers face shields to first responders

US-based packaging company JohnsByrne has announced that it is using its manufacturing capabilities to design and deliver protective face shields.

These face shields are made for first responders and other essential workers who are fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

JohnsByrne Company president and CEO Corey Gustafson said: “Seeing media reports of a lack of PPE, our structural design team got to work on a few 3D printed prototype options. We vetted and streamlined the concepts, and realised we had a best-in-class solution that we could manufacture.

“It’s fulfilling to make an immediate difference in a time of need. We are fortunate to be able to apply our passion and innovation, and rise to the occasion in this global fight.”

According to the company, the six-piece face shield is easy-to-clean and is reusable. It comes with adjustable sizing and a band cover to offer additional comfort to the wearer.

Such face shields act as a barrier and help in reducing Covid-19 contagion risks.

The product was authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an emergency use authorization (EUA) for use by healthcare providers as personal protective equipment. However, the face shield is yet to be approved by the US agency.

JohnsByrne Company has already supplied its face shields to Saint Anthony Hospital of Chicago as well as to police, fire and administration departments in the village of Nile.

Based in Illinois, JohnsByrne specialises in delivering paperboard packaging solutions. The company caters to several industry verticals such as health and beauty, wine and spirits among others.

5:00 pm

Mondi to build production lines for non-woven fabric and masks

Packaging and paper manufacturer Mondi has revealed plans to construct new production lines in its facility in Gronau, Germany.

The new lines will be dedicated for the production of melt blown nonwoven fabric and surgical face masks.

The move is part of the company’s efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and meet the growing demand for face masks by health authorities, businesses and consumers.

Mondi’s new lines will be capable of producing more than one million surgical face masks in a day as per EU Standard Type IIR. Around 50% of its production will be offered to other European face mask manufacturers.

Mondi Personal Care Components (PCC) managing director Jürgen Schneider said: ‘We are well positioned for the increased production of face masks and melt blown nonwoven fabric in Gronau. Our people have the needed know-how and expertise on working with these materials and the technology required.

“The in-house production capability of all substantial components positions us to build up a long-term competitive local supply. Once up and running, we will be able to produce more than one million face masks per day.”

Earlier this month, the company’s three plants in Germany including Halle, Steinfeld and Gronau committed to produce and donate 10,000 protective gowns to workers in local nursing homes and retirement facilities.

4:25 pm

Cromwell Plastics Recycling donates blue polythene film

Cromwell Polythene’s manufacturing and recycling unit Cromwell Plastics Recycling has donated half a tonne of blue polythene film.

The plastic film has been provided to a community fundraiser to produce disposable gowns for the NHS.

The fundraising partnership, which consists of volunteers and marine businesses, are developing personal protective equipment (PPE).

In order to manufacture film for standard, clear aprons, Cromwell Polythene has repurposed its three extrusion lines to meet the demand for PPE.

The film manufactured from Cromwell Plastics Recycling will be made into approximately 5,000 disposable plastic gowns. These will be delivered to Southampton General Hospital.

Cromwell Polythene managing director James Lee said: “We are proud to support this worthy cause.

“These businesses and individuals have volunteered their time and support to supply some of the heroes on the frontline, including hospitals and care homes with vital PPE equipment.

“We’d like to thank our team at Cromwell Plastics Recycling who have helped give this wonderful, partnership project further momentum.”

FIBRE Mechanics along with other companies have allowed their cutting table and staff to cut the gown kits.

Additionally, MDS Leisure is supporting the project by professionally hand cutting the donated plastic film.

Both the Cutting Crew and Press Gang have delivered a total of 8,000 protective gowns to Southampton General Hospital. More than 25,000 units are currently in the pipeline.

5:38 pm

Covid-19: International Paper to donate two million corrugated boxes

Renewable fibre-based packaging products supplier International Paper has pledged to donate two million corrugated boxes for Covid-19 relief efforts.

The commitment came in response to the increasing demand for food assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The boxes will be used in distributing food.

The donated boxes will benefit various hunger-relief organisations including Feeding America and The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) and other relief agencies.

Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said: “Ensuring the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and our neighbours while serving our communities is Feeding America’s top priority.

“We are tremendously grateful for International Paper for their donation of boxes – an essential component of food distribution during the pandemic.”

The Global FoodBanking Network has launched a social media campaign #HelpFillTheBoxes to encourage people to donate to food banks in their communities.

Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, International Paper is one of the leading global producers of renewable fibre-based packaging, pulp and paper products, serving more than 25,000 customers in 150 countries.

International Paper chairman and chief executive officer Mark Sutton said: “Our employees are passionate about supporting critical community needs, and we recognize that our boxes are essential for distributing food to people hit hardest by the pandemic.

“Our employees and our boxes are helping improve the ability of food banks to serve communities around the world.”

In March this year, International Paper agreed to sell its Brazilian corrugated packaging business to local packaging company Klabin.

12:53 pm

Diamond Packaging donates face shields to healthcare provider

Health care and pharmaceutical industries sustainable packaging provider Diamond Packaging has donated 100,000 face shields to help support the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The face shields were handed over to New York’s health care provider Northwell Health with 72,000 employees across the state.

The company will distribute the face shields among Northwell’s 23 hospitals and 800 health care facilities.

Diamond Packaging CEO and owner Karla Fichter said: “I believe this collaboration between healthcare and manufacturing is truly life-changing.

“Our face shield designs have evolved to help address the shortage of plastic material in the marketplace and the ever-growing demand for face shield protection.

“Diamond continually strives to think outside of the box to create innovative solutions. In that spirit we continue to refine our approach to aid in the fight against the Covid-19 threat.

“We are honoured to be a part of the solution for the healthcare system during this time of unprecedented crisis.”

The dual-purpose designed protective face shields are made of hybrid paperboard and plastic. It provides additional protection by covering the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Diamond Packaging specialises in developing sustainable packaging solutions for the personal care, health care, and pharmaceutical industries.

Last month, the company donated 10,000 face shield masks to UR Medicine Home Care in Webster, New York.

The face shields were designed, manufactured, and donated by Diamond Packaging.

12:53 pm

Dow collaborates with packaging companies for isolation gowns

Commodity chemical company Dow has collaborated with multiple packaging companies to supply isolation gowns for healthcare workers.

The partnership, which includes partners from various industries, will develop and donate 100,000 Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Level 2 isolation gowns.

The items are intended for healthcare professionals in Texas, Louisiana and Mexico.

Partners include Magna International, 3M, Cadillac Products Packaging Company, DuPont, Fitesa, Landaal Packaging Systems, Plastixx FFS Technologies, Shurtape and Volkswagen.

Dow Health & Hygiene global marketing director Michelle Boven said: “The Dow team is proud to continue developing PPE to help our frontline workers, but this effort would not have been possible without our partner companies, each of whom readily stepped up to make this project a reality.

“It’s also a testament to how quickly companies can innovate when a diverse team from different organisations across industries come together to achieve a common objective.”

Under this collaboration, the isolation gown will be developed with the design expertise provided by DuPont.

Dow will donate polyethylene film made with resin for the gown, while Fitesa will provide the non-woven material that gives tear resistance.

Cadillac will develop extrusion coating of the film making, while 3M and Shurtape will provide tape that offers barrier performance of the gown.

These gowns will be packed in bags developed by Plastixx FFS and shipped in boxes donated by Landaal Packaging Systems.

The gowns are labelled to comply with FDA guidance on non-surgical apparel and are also in line with ASTM and ANSI standards.

Earlier this month, Dow and stretch film manufacturer Doxa Plast partnered to deliver renewable stretch films.

11:29 am

Covid-19: BIC North America to produce 2,000 face shields per day

Global consumer packaged goods company BIC is using its facility in Connecticut, US to produce 2,000 face shields per day using plastic packaging materials and scrap plastic.

The face shields are medical-graded, American food and drug association (FDA) approved, and are being produced to in order to secure a high volume of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The shields are designed to ensure that plastic can be removed and sterilised by hospitals.

BIC CEO Gonzalve Bich said: “As a global company with thousands of team members in communities around the world, we strongly believe that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to make a meaningful contribution to our communities during this global health crisis.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by Covid-19. We send our heartfelt gratitude to all the doctors, nurses, paramedics, factory workers, and first responders putting themselves on the frontlines to protect our communities and economies.”

5:08 pm

Covid-19: Has the packaging industry forgotten about sustainability?

According to a Global Data report released in January, sustainability was set to be the biggest trend of 2020. The beginning of the year saw packaging news dominated by stories related to helping the environment and becoming as sustainable as possible.

In the packaging industry, many companies were switching to eco-friendly alternatives and coming up with innovative technology to help the environment. Plastic waste became a hot topic, and debates arose over the issues is raised. Edible or biodegradable packaging was widely discussed as alternatives.

However, as the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic, coverage began shifting away from sustainability and towards the virus and its impact on the world. Since March, countries across the globe have implemented lockdowns and social distancing rules to attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

During this pandemic, has sustainability taken a backseat to stop the virus spreading and save lives? Packaging Gateway looks into some debates surrounding sustainability that have arisen.

Read more here.

1:11 pm

AptarGroup pursues EUA for mask disinfecting solution

Consumer product dispensing and active packaging solutions manufacturer AptarGroup is seeking Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a mask disinfecting solution.

It has submitted an application to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).

Aptar’s disinfecting solution is for FFP2 filtering facepiece respirators (FFP2 masks).

It comprises an FFP2mask and a small strip of its ActivShield all packaged in a one-gallon plastic bag. The disinfecting process can be carried out on-site.

According to the company, the mask can be disinfected by placing it, along with ActivShield, inside the sealed plastic bag.

The strip then releases chlorine dioxide to decontaminate the mask, which is ready to use after three hours.

The demand for FFP2 masks is great as healthcare personnel fight the Covid-19 pandemic amidst a global shortage of disposable masks.

The submissions follow after the company applied for FDA’s EUA for N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95 mask) disinfecting solution.

Aptar president and CEO Stephan Tanda said: “We are proud to continue to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by furthering our efforts to bring this innovative technology to the global health care community.

“We have a long-standing presence in Germany and we will continue to support the communities where we live and work.

“Our technology provides a unique, simple, and effective way to help solve the critical problem of PPE shortages we’re currently facing. We look forward to working with the US FDA and BfArM to bring ActivShield to market and fulfil the ongoing unmet need.”

12:36 pm

Bizongo delivers PPE to hospitals, NGOs, and essential services

Indian B2B packaging company Bizongo has delivered more than 100,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits since it’s first shipment at the end of March.

The PPE kits, intended to safeguard employee health, has been sent across various hospitals, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and private essential service providers.

Bizongo COO Sachin Agarwal said: “In continuation of its ‘Fight Against Covid-19’ campaign, Bizongo has so-far delivered more than 2 lakh (100,000) PPE kits across 5,500 localities, servicing 127 organisations in 57 urban and rural centres across the country.

“Bizongo set up a dedicated taskforce to work round the clock through an online control room to map demand and supply of PPE kits and other essentials using its proprietary digital supply-chain services. I am happy the team also managed to overcome some of the logistic challenges to ensure a smooth service.”

4:17 pm

Covid-19: Dean Packaging secures UK Government funding

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Packaging materials supplier Dean Packaging has received a £20k funding package through the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The overdraft facility to support the business during the pandemic was secured from Santander UK.

The funding will help the company to survive the crisis.

Santander UK Business Relationship director Paul Williams said: “Dean Packaging’s orderbook was decreased significantly almost overnight but this is a business that has weathered many storms throughout its 20 years’ operating.

“We are happy to provide this overdraft facility and will be there to support the team when restrictions are lifted and business resumes.”

Based in South Wales, Dean Packaging specialises in manufacturing and supplying custom-made packaging across multiple sectors including automotive to food and drink.

Following the outbreak, the company faced challenges due to drop in demand as several of the companies that it provides services to suspended production.

Dean Packaging director Ian Kennedy said: “The current pandemic has created huge challenges for the business not least loss of revenue, staff furloughs and social distancing.

“Santander have been a breath of fresh air and have been the first organisation to offer their full support and business expertise in ensuring the continued future of the company.

“The business loan organised and secured for us in double quick time is a lifeline for us and ensures we will survive the current situation.”

Confirmed case of coronavirus have surpassed three and half million with 3,755,379 cases globally, while death toll touched 263,831.

11:01 am

Covid-19: Nulogy expands platform to include ‘Rapid Contact Tracing’

Canada-based supply chain solutions provider Nulogy has expanded its cloud-based platform in order to enhance resilience against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Rapid Contact Tracing comes as part of Nulogy’s ‘Pandemic Preparedness Package’ and will help contract packers and manufacturers protect employees by tracking staff members in real time.

According to Nulogy, platform users can generate reports by shift, specific time period, and production line in order to identify and isolate areas of risk in the workplace without having to shut down facility.

The company also stated that the Rapid Contact Tracing software will also enhance operational resilience, safeguard business continuity, and slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Nulogy CEO Jason Tham said: “In the wake of COVID-19, external suppliers are required to continually evolve their operations to safeguard the health of their employees as well as the continued well-being of their businesses,

“As the next progression of Nulogy’s pandemic preparedness initiative, Rapid Contact Tracing allows contract packagers and manufacturers to leverage data automation to minimise operational risk and protect business continuity.”

6:05 pm

The UK now has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe

The UK now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in Europe.

The latest death toll for the UK has reached 29,427, according to the Office for National Statistics, higher than Italy at 29,315 and Spain at 25,613.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has reached 194,990, with the government due to set out a strategy on how to “unlock” the economy.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus deaths worldwide has now exceeded 250,000.

4:22 pm

Covid-19: Huhtamaki increases production of face shields

 

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Food on-the-shelf packaging solutions provider Huhtamaki is increasing the production of protective face shields (PFS) during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

As part of this commitment, the company is repurposing its folding carton packaging machinery unit in Belfast, Northern Ireland for precision-cut optically clear and lightweight visors.

The company is also set to start making the CE marked PFS at its operations in Blackburn, the UK, Gliwice and Czeladz, Poland, Ivanteevka, Russia and Ennis, Ireland.

The Belfast facility is currently producing four million face shields a week. Along with the additional manufacturing units, the total number is expected to reach approximately eight million shields per week in June.

A padded adjustable strap is attached to the visors to ensure a close fit for increased safety for all head sizes.

The company has used recyclable PET to make the visors. It is also exploring on how to make the face shields completely recyclable in the future.

Initially, the company partnered with a local company to manufacture PFS to address the shortage of personal protective equipment for local health care workers fighting.

Huhtamaki Fiber and Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania president Eric Le Ly said: “In addition to helping front-line health care workers fight the pandemic by doing what we can to ensure they have the protective equipment they need, we also want to help the society to recover.

“With the protective face shields, we can help people in close contact occupations return to work safely.

“The face shields are also ideal for the foodservice industry, personal care, retail as well as manufacturing operations – anywhere people work in close contact with each other.”

Last month, Huhtamaki collaborated with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to donate €500,000 towards Covid-19 coronavirus emergency relief efforts.

12:00 pm

DS Smith offers cardboard boxes to Anzú for mask distribution

UK packaging company DS Smith has donated cardboard boxes to Anzú for the distribution of masks amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Anzú has manufactured around 25,000 mask masks for the Private Institutions of Social Solidarity of Leiria (IPSS).

The company, which produces children’s clothing and industrial uniforms, has repurposed its operations to manufacture protective masks.

The masks were distributed for free to the IPSS in Leiria, and through the newspaper Região de Leiria.

DS Smith cardboard boxes will enable Anzú to easily transport and distribute the protective items.

In a separate development, DS Smith has partnered with Nestlé to deliver food packages to hospital staff in Germany for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 9,000 “Thank You” packages of “Comfort Food” were donated.

The packages, which are filled with soft drinks, coffee and sweets from the various Nestlé brands, will be sent to around 900 hospitals across Germany over the next few weeks.

Nestlé purchasing manager Gaby Symonds said: “We have worked in partnership with DS Smith and the Fulda plant for over 30 years, so it was clear that we would ask them for their support for this campaign.

“With the 9,000 or so packages, we want to say thank you and draw attention to the tireless efforts of all carers who are doing their best in this difficult situation.”

At the end of March, DS Smith in collaboration with food retailers across Europe developed a new packaging solution to support delivery of everyday essentials.

4:46 pm

Berry bpi adapts capabilities to produce PPE for NHS workers

UK polythene film manufacturer Berry bpi has repurposed its manufacturing capabilities to support personal protective equipment (PPE) production.

The move is in response to support the National Health Service (NHS) efforts to fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company has repurposed four of its facilities in the UK including Heanor, Derbyshire, Stroud, Gloucestershire, and Greenock, and Dumfries in Scotland, within three weeks.

It will be manufacturing approximately 200,000 special fluid-resistant, long-sleeve apron-style gowns and over six million standard disposable aprons a week.

Berry bpi chief executive Andrew Green said: “We have deliberately taken a long-term approach,” explained. “We were able to call on our extensive resources and experience, as well as the flexibility and commitment of our workforce, to produce the aprons within an extremely fast turnaround to help make up shortfalls in the current supply chain.

“We intend to scale up production so that after the immediate needs of the coronavirus crisis, we can continue to offer a cost-effective local supply solution that will be able to meet as much as possible of UK demand.”

In two weeks, Berry bpi designed the film and produced the apron-style gown for the first sample set of 2,000 for local hospitals and hospices.

Work on the gowns was carried out at the Heanor factory.

The company has also invested in its Greenock factory to manufacture standard aprons in the coming two weeks.

The two apron styles are made using cost competitive low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

12:20 pm

Covid-19: Swanline delivers 1,000 face shields to Bobst

Packaging and container business Swanline has delivered 1,000 face shields to equipment supplier Bobst UK & Ireland in order to protect field service engineers.

The field service engineers are classed as essential workers and are visiting sites in order to fix breakdowns.

The Swanline visors are made from the company’s Cygnus Eco Board and was developed alongside NHS consultants. They are eco-friendly and available in plain white or an NHS rainbow design.

According to Swanline, the visors feature an adjustable headband, are spectacle-friendly, and provide a good field of vision and eye protection above the eye line.

Bobst UK & Ireland technical service manager Allan Pinfold said: ““Whilst site visits are being kept to an absolute minimum at present in order to respect the government directives and help prevent spread of the virus, only attending where there are no other means of supporting our customers, these visors are providing extra protection to both Bobst employees and our customers. We are extremely thankful to Swanline for designing and developing this equipment for us.”

Swanline Paper & Board managing director Ross Griffin said: “Working in collaboration with NHS professionals, we have developed the face shields for use by health workers in care homes, as well as any other sector where employees need to be protected in the course of their work.”

12:25 pm

Covid-19: Curtis Packaging to manufacture face shields

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Luxury packaging manufacturer Curtis Packaging has repurposed its capability to manufacture face shields to support the fight against the spread of Covid-19. The company is now capable of producing thousands of face shields in a single day.

Curtis Packaging president, owner and CEO Don Droppo Jr said: “We felt it was our responsibility to aid in the fight against COVID-19 by protecting essential front-line workers.

“In less than two weeks, we went from conception to full-on production (www.curtiscares.life). We are now manufacturing up to 150,000 shields per day!

“I am beyond proud and honoured to lead such a talented team. In our 175-year heritage, we have been through wars, recessions, and pandemics.

“It’s the dedication of our people that sets us apart from the pack. We often reference our strength as WE are Curtis.”

Made from .015 polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the face shields are patent pending. The one-piece, lightweight face shields are easy to assemble.

Additionally, they have an anti-fog coating and come with an ANSI-Z87 certification.

The disposable face shields are currently awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

New England hospital network CEO said: “I must say the design is simple yet elegant. I love the way the fold keeps the shield off the face nicely without requiring a foam strip across the forehead.”

Headquartered in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Curtis Packaging serves various markets including, Liquor, Cosmetics, and Chocolates industries.

5:32 pm

Quadpack joins task force in support of Covid-19 workers

European manufacturer Quadpack has joined a task force to support Covid-19 coronavirus frontline workers, the company announced in a statement.

The company said that this has been done by adopting a manufacturing line to produce face shields, donating masks and protective gloves throughout health facilities in the UK and Spain, and joining a group of 3D printing experts in order to offer services to the Covid-19 task force.

The company said: “In less than a week, Quadpack Plastics adapted its manufacturing line to make plastic pieces for face shields, helping COVID-19 efforts. With the support of dozens of partners which donated raw material, services and products, an obsolete plastic mould adapted to the new project and the hard work of many Quadpackers, we are now producing and assembling 100,000 face shields to be donated to Spanish governments and institutions.

“Our suppliers in Asia have made generous donations to Quadpack to support the task force against the virus: thousands of masks and protective gloves are now being distributed to health facilities in the UK and Spain.

“As these projects develop and reach the true heroes in this fight against the virus, Quadpack is proud to revisit hopes and expectations for 2020. We believe every crisis brings valuable lessons, and by supporting the community and playing our part as corporate citizens we are convinced we can live, work and dream about the future stronger together.”

11:41 am

Covid-19: HLP Klearfold to make disposable face shields

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Honk Kong-based Hip Lik Packaging Products’ North American subsidiary HLP Klearfold is using its manufacturing capabilities to make face shields for healthcare workers fighting the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The company has been manufacturing three low-cost disposable face shields, two of which are from its own designs.

One of the face shields is a pre-assembled and ready-to-wear with a foam forehead pad and an elastic headband, while the other two styles need minimum assembly and ship flat.

HLP Klearfold has leveraged the same raw materials, technology, and equipment it uses in plastic packaging.

The face shields feature one or more of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Frosted polypropylene (PP), open-cell polyurethane foam, and/or knitted polyester elastic materials.

The products are lightweight and can fit over glasses and fabric face masks.

Commenting on the support, HLP Klearfold president Steve Frazier said: “We applaud the manufacturing community’s efforts to reallocate resources to produce PPE to help protect our front-line healthcare and other workers.

“HLP Klearfold leadership in the clear plastic packaging market has made us uniquely qualified to produce face shields. Our production facility is the largest facility of its kind in the world.

“We have the capacity to make approximately 1 million printed plastic folding cartons per day but, in light of the need for more PPE, we’ve dedicated much of our focus and manufacturing resources to producing face shields, and we are able to manufacture nearly 600,000 per day.”

The three face shields fall under Class 1 medical devices designed for healthcare professionals.

They have been assessed by third parties and certified to meet both the US’ ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 and Europe’s EN 166:2001 eye protection standards for droplets and splash.

5:08 pm

Covid-19: Alpek Polyester producing PPE for NHS

UK-based producer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin Alpek Polyester (APUK) is focusing its supply on providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

The company will be focusing on producing face shields instead of the usual drink packaging and food trays.

The PET resin visors weigh 20g and are being produced throughout UK and Ireland. APUK said that it is focused on meeting demand for PPE amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

APUK manufacturing director Malcolm Horne on the BBC Radio Tees today said that face visors used to be manufactured from alternate polycarbonate polymer, which had issues of being costly and heavy. The PET visors fix these issues among others.

3:38 pm

US economy falls by 4.8%

The US economy has contracted at an annual rate of 4.8%, the steepest slump since the 2008 recession. This brings the longest ever period of economic expansion in the US to an end.

It is predicted that gross domestic product (GDP) could drop by 30% in the next quarter, as many “stay-at-home”  measures were only implemented at the end of this quarter, with a sharp rise in unemployment also anticipated.

35 US states currently have stay-at-home orders in place, with eight states relaxing restrictions. According to Johns Hopkins University, there have now been 1,012,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US.

12:59 pm

Petra & Holum produces protective face masks and face shields

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Presentation packaging custom manufacturer Petra & Holum has repurposed its manufacturing capabilities to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) amid Covid-19 pandemic.

The company has been manufacturing protective face masks and face shields over the last 30 days.

Petra & Holum has converted its sewing and assembly custom and specialised packaging to make PPEs.

The company designed a range of sewn face masks and assembled face shields and started production in just seven days.

Petra & Holum co-president Norman Hoffberg said: “It is our responsibility to reposition and act as quickly as possible to provide products to protect those people risking their lives serving all of us in these difficult times.

“Additionally, we are able to focus the special skills our employees possess to provide this quantity of product in a short amount of time. We are very proud of their individual efforts.”

The PPEs manufactured by Petra & Holum has also been distributed to hospitals and police departments in the Midwest including the University of Chicago Hospitals and the Chicago Police Department.

Petra & Holum vice-president of marketing Michael Quintos said: “Healthcare personnel, police and fire workers everywhere are working tirelessly to protect our communities and we are committed to provide them with PPE.

“We’re proud to be part of this grassroots effort finding solutions to close the critical PPE gap. This should be a wake-up call to government and health care decision makers to insure a domestic supply of these critical products.”

Headquartered in West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, Petra and Holum manufactures influencer kits and promotional products and custom product for the development of manufacturing rigid boxes, sales kits, sewn and sealed bags, cases and more.

12:56 pm

Domtar temporarily suspends operations at Hawesville US mill

Specialty and packaging papers supplier Domtar has revealed plans to temporarily suspend operations at Hawesville mill in the US state of Kentucky, starting 5 May.

The move is part of the company’s plan to temporarily right-size production capacity following the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will reduce Domtar’s uncoated freesheet paper production capacity by approximately 83,000 short tonnes.

The company will temporarily lay off approximately 400 employees at the Hawesville mill following the suspension.

Domtar president and chief executive officer John Williams said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been actively monitoring the impacts to our business and taking methodical steps to optimise capacity in the current environment.

“We believe it is appropriate to take the additional step of temporarily idling our Hawesville mill in light of reduced paper demand. We are optimistic that we have taken the right actions to effectively manage the business through these evolving market conditions.”

Apart from Hawesville mill, the rest of Domtar’s facilities will be fully operational, and shipments will continue.

The company is planning to resume the H1 paper machine in June 2020, while the H2 paper machine will remain shut down until July.

Earlier this month, Domtar has decided to temporarily suspend operations at its Kingsport, Tennessee mill and Ashdown, Arkansas mill as coronavirus continues to spread.

Domtar Pulp and Paper division president Mike Garcia said: “We regret that this temporary action will have an impact on our exceptional people and their families. We are doing everything we can to help them through this unprecedented period, and we have great confidence in the long-term strength and viability of our paper mills.”

12:10 pm

Covid-19: Indian government to allow pre-printed packaging

The Indian government is allowing businesses to use pre-printed packaging materials until 30 September amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Under usual law, re-labelling is not permitted in the country.

Sectors that are expected to benefit from this ruling include pharmaceutical, food, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

According to news outlet Economic Times, The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, & Public Distribution said: “Due to the prevalent condition of Covid-19 leading a lockdown of the whole country, the manufacturing activities have come to a grinding halt.
The inventory of packaging material/wrapper with a pre-printed date of manufacturing is not to be exhausted within the time limit prescribed under the rules.”

2:28 pm

NiceLabel offers free software to organisations fighting Covid-19

European labelling company NiceLabel is offering organisations free subscriptions to it’s cloud-based labelling software and free technical consultancy in order to help in the fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Label Cloud is a cloud-based version of the NiceLabel Label Management System, which standardises the label printing process from its design to transport.

Organisations that can partake in this offer include hospitals, manufacturers with a focus on healthcare supplies, and farming and food producers.

According to the company, the software would help manufacturers and producers to meet supply demand.

NiceLabel vice-resident of marketing Ken Moir said: “Our multi-tenant cloud platform allows us from a remote location to get labelling anywhere around the world – and to do it ultra-fast.

“We plan to use our capability to help manufacturers rapidly switch their product lines to key equipment and products needed in the fight against Covid-19 and to support the rapid delivery of those supplies to those battling this new virus on the front-line.

“We are here to help, so we would encourage any organisation seeking out labelling support as they look to get key materials and equipment deliveries out to those who need it most, to get in touch with us today.”

12:29 pm

Covid-19: Transcend Packaging to make one million face shields a week

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Flexible packaging solution provider Transcend Packaging has adapted its operations to produce one million face shields a week as coronavirus continues to spread.

The move came in response to First Minister Mark Drakeford’s call for action earlier this month to manufacture vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to create a new made-in-Wales supply chain.

The company’s facility in Ystrad Mynach, which manufactures paper straws and other sustainable packaging will be responsible for the production.

It will initially produce around a million face shields, which can be increased to two million a week depending on the requirement.

Transcend Packaging CEO Lorenzo Angelucci said: “We’re delighted to have designed, produced and received our CE-marked, regulatory approval for a face shield that can be produced quickly, inexpensively and in large quantities.

“These face shields will help provide Covid-19 protection across Wales and beyond, protecting our brave NHS staff, care home workers, retail and restaurant staff and other frontline workers.

“Our goal is to get as many shields in the hands of key workers as possible and we should be able to produce between one and two million face shields a week as long as the need persists.”

Transcend PPEs are now tested and deployed in the Welsh NHS and to other parts of the UK and countries around the world.

Mark Drakeford said: “Transcend Packaging is a great example of what a business can do to adapt the way it works to support our response to the coronavirus pandemic. I want to thank the company for everything it’s doing and rising to the challenge.

“Transcend join a growing number of individuals and firms standing up and making the equipment we need to support our fantastic health and care workers. We appreciate each and every offer of support.”

4:17 pm

California Governor issues order to temporarily suspend grocery bag charge

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that temporarily suspends charge on grocery bag.

The order is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. California has 37,369 confirmed positive cases. Yesterday, the state lost 115 lives in 24 hours.

The suspension will remain in effect for a period of 60 days.

It will now allow retail establishments to provide reusable grocery bags or recycled paper bags to customers at point of sale for free.

In addition, retailers can again provide single-use carryout bags to customers where it is not possible to provide reusable grocery bags or recycled paper bags.

Furthermore, this order is not applicable “to retail establishments in local jurisdictions with ordinances governing the use of single-use carryout bags in effect before 1 January 2015”.

Moreover, the redemption of beverage containers in-store will be stopped temporarily to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The mandate for recycling centres to hold a minimum number of operational hours is also suspended temporarily, according to the order.

Additionally, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has been directed to develop and issue operating guidelines.

As per the state law, retailers are required to charge 10 cents for bags.

In September last year, the California state legislature failed to pass the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act of California.

Confirmed cases on coronavirus stood at 2,716,917 globally, while death tolls have reached 190,985.

11:51 am

RAP repurposes production line to produce PPE

UK-based food-to-go packaging manufacturer Rapid Action Packaging (RAP) is using it’s production line to manufacture disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) face shields.

The company has a target capacity of up to ten million units per week, with the first 65,000 to be distributed for free to care UK and Ireland care homes.

The face shields are intended to be used by health support workers, cleaners, teaching staff, and retail workers. They are made out of a protective film and provide a barrier against airborne moisture and spray, such as through coughing and sneezing.

RAP CEO Graham Williams said: “As award-winning designers and manufacturers we felt, like many others, that it was absolutely critical for us to step up and join the national effort to help deliver the Government’s PPE plan.

“With the difficult challenges being faced by the care sector, we also felt it only fitting that we started our PPE journey with a donation of face shields to the industry.”

The face shields are being manufactured at RAP’s Ireland facility.

3:02 pm

Berry Global says PPE demand will remain high after Covid-19

US-headquartered plastic manufacturer Berry Global yesterday said that demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitising wipes will still continue after the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

During an Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS) webinar, Berry Global executive vice-president Mark Siebert said: “From a demand point of view, we’ve seen a spike in drapes and gowns of almost 22%, hard surface protection wipes of almost 65%, face masks of 700%, and other filtration media that have essentially exceeded the capacity of the industry to respond.”

Berry will be investing in worldwide face mask production in order to supply employees of the company. It will also be redirecting capabilities to meet surge in demand.

If demand for PPE and hand sanitisers remains high following Covid-19 lockdowns across the globe, the packaging industry may be called on to help demand.

Read more about how the packaging industry has been helping the healthcare sector here.

3:32 pm

Covid-19: Tetraform repurposes production to make face shields

Digital and silk printing technology provider Tetraform is using its manufacturing capabilities to produce face shields in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Following discussions with the Panhellenic Medical Association, Tetraform reallocated its capacities and started producing 4,000 face shields daily.

This is expected to ensure business continuity while supporting frontline workers fighting the pandemic.

Read more here.

3:27 pm

Covid-19: FDA claims there is no evidence of packaging contagion

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week said that there is no evidence that Covid-19 coronavirus can be spread through either food or food packaging.

The FDA assured consumers that there is no need to wash packaging but to make sure that a face mask is being worn when going to food stores. Re-usuable shopping bags should be cleaned before each use.

A statement released by the FDA said: “This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A, that often make people ill through contaminated food.”

12:17 pm

Graphic Packaging to close Michigan mill and containerboard machine

Consumer packaging company Graphic Packaging has revealed plans to close White Pigeon, Michigan coated recycled board (CRB) mill and PM1 containerboard machine in West Monroe, Louisiana.

The decision was revealed as part of the company’s strategic actions and announcements in its first-quarter 2020 results.

The closure of 70,000 tonne CRB mill at White Pigeon is due to the company’s overall CRB mill network’s operating strength and a new CRB supply agreement with Greif.

Earlier this month, Graphic Packaging Holding Company (GPHC) acquired industrial packaging solutions provider Greif for $85m.

The closure of the 120,000tpa PM1 containerboard machine is based on the company’s confidence in its CUK global beverage packaging platform.

Closure of these two facilities will be effective from 30 June 2020.

Additionally, the company has deferred the planned maintenance outage at the West Monroe, Louisiana mill. It was originally scheduled to take place in the second quarter and has now been delayed to the third quarter.

This is because of the rise in near-term demand for CUK and contractor work-related following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company has also suspended annual adjusted EBITDA and cash flow guidance.

Graphic packaging president and CEO Michael Doss said: “I am also pleased that our Board of Directors has reviewed and remains committed to the existing return of capital to stakeholders through dividends and distributions. Separately, we have decided to suspend our annual Adjusted EBITDA and cash flow guidance to allow time to assess potential shifts in consumer behaviour and spending patterns related to the Covid-19 crisis.

“Graphic Packaging, we are committed to continued leadership as we provide best-in-class quality and service to customers, a safe working environment for our employees, and long-term returns for stakeholders.”

12:28 pm

Covid-19: Novolex uses capabilities to produce protective gear

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Packaging solution provider Novolex has decided to temporarily use its capabilities to produce protective gear for healthcare professionals fighting the spread of Covid-19, coronavirus.

The company is planning to manufacture up to 25,000 face shields and 100,000 medical isolation gowns each week.

The plastic packaging company is adjusting its infrastructure at plants, which make transparent PET sheet and fit-for-purpose injected moulded plastic fittings for producing face shields’ components.

Novolex public affairs vice-president Phil Rozenski said: “As international supply chains have stalled, and the Covid-19 crisis escalated, we’ve seen a critical shortage in medical protective equipment in the US.

“When we found out about this need, it was a no brainer. Our facilities are already uniquely equipped to produce food-grade products, so we are thrilled to be able to jump in and use our know-how and engineering expertise to make protective equipment that can really help those on the front lines.”

In addition to enhancing production of protective equipment across its facilities in North America, Novolex also assembled a national transportation and supply chain system to continue with the production until demand subsides.

Novolex engineering manager Galen Killa said: “We’re using facilities originally designed to produce food packaging such as tortilla bags to make protective gowns, and we’re adapting muffin containers, reusable cutlery and plates to create face shields.”

Confirmed cases on coronavirus have touched 2,478,153 globally, while death tolls stood at 170,368.

3:56 pm

Covid-19: Pallet Consultants facility increases production by 40%

 

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Full-service pallet provider Pallet Consultants has enhanced its production amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s Dunn facility in North Carolina has increased pallet production by 40% to meet the growing supply chain demands caused by the outbreak. It has also doubled its team.

According to the company, the lack of reliable pallets has adversely affected several of these essential supply chains and risking critical goods transport.

Pallet Consultants general manager Justin Smith said: “We’ve been working closely with clients that distribute food and medical supplies. We maxed capacity in our first shift, so had to add a second shift three weeks ago.”

Opened in October 2019, the Dunn facility serves the Raleigh metropolitan area. The pallet repair and production facility was newly renovated with a more than $3m investment.

The facility helps meet the growing need for pallets in manufacturing, distribution, food and pharmaceutical supply chains.

Pallet Consultants president Brain Groene said: “The Dunn location is a shining example of the hard work, determination and charity all our facilities have been displaying.

“Our network has been taking its supply chain responsibilities very seriously and has been working tirelessly to ensure food and medical supplies can be shipped where they need to go.”

Confirmed cases on coronavirus stood at 2,416,135 globally, while death toll has reached 165,939.

12:47 pm

Covid-19: Huhtamaki to donate €500,000 for emergency relief efforts

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Sustainable food packaging company Huhtamaki has collaborated with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to donate €500,000 towards Covid-19 coronavirus emergency relief efforts.

It will be directed through Finnish Red Cross and will boost efforts in Asia and Europe.

Huhtamaki president and CEO Charles Héaulmé said: “Huhtamaki plays an essential role in ensuring food safety and availability and reducing food waste, as acknowledged by governments internationally. This contribution is only one part of our support towards alleviating the impact of the pandemic globally.

“We have partnered with the International Red Cross, a leading global organisation, to do our share in helping tackle the humanitarian aspect of the Covid-19 crisis. This emergency affects us all, regardless of where we are around the world, and together we can make a difference where it is most needed.”

In addition to this, Huhtamaki has encouraged its management teams across its 81 locations globally to help the local community.

Héaulmé added: “If there is anything this outbreak has emphasised, it is how interconnected and dependent we are globally. Our initiative today underlines our commitment to protecting people, food and the planet.”

Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Huhtamaki specialises in providing food-on-the-go and food-on-the shelf packaging solutions.

Earlier this month, the company secured 100% ownership of its Brazilian joint venture (JV) company Laminor.

Last month, Huhtamaki revealed plans to integrate its two business segments, Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania and Fiber Packaging.

Confirmed cases on coronavirus have breached two millions marks globally, while death toll stood at 145,563.

7:51 pm

Are companies optimistic about growth prospects following COVID-19 stimulus measures?

The COVID-19 outbreak has marred the growth expectations of companies of all sizes globally, across multiple industries.

An ongoing poll being conducted by Verdict to track the optimism/pessimism over the growth prospects of companies has revealed that incremental stimulus announcements have improved companies’ optimism about growth, following a disappointment over the size of the stimulus.

Analysis of the poll results depicts a clear shift in trend in the last week of March, especially after 28 March.

A sudden spike in pessimism was witnessed after 27 March, barely after the US Senate approved a $2t economic stimulus package, hinting of dissatisfaction over the inadequacy of the stimulus even as economic experts have warned of the worst recession COVID-19 would cause to the Western economies following the Second World War.

A number of Asian countries including India, Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan as wells the Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) countries announced stimulus packages around the same time.

The stimulus announcements, although welcomed, left wanting for more as reflected in the poll. The pessimism about growth prospects hit a peak on 28 March.

The pessimistic trend, however, reversed after 02 April and improved gradually to hit a low on 08 April amid expectations that the US Fed would announce additional stimulus. On 09 April, the Fed unveiled an additional $2.3t-worth relief plan committing to buy notes from states and counties and provide financial support to mid-size businesses.

On the same day, news emerged about a potential second stimulus package to be announced by the Indian government in the days to come, aiming to safeguard the interests of micro, small and medium businesses, which account for a significant portion of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Launched on 13 March, the poll received 12,622 responses as of 13 April and is still ongoing.

Some of the notable economic stimulus announcements at March-end

  • Among GCC countries, the highest stimulus was announced by the UAE, at $34.3bn, followed by Saudi Arabia ($32bn), Oman ($20.8bn), Qatar ($20.6bn), Bahrain ($11.4bn) and Kuwait ($1.5bn).
  • Malaysia announced $22.5bn to support businesses affected by the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, while Singapore announced a $33.7bn package to deal with the economic impact.
  • India announced a $22.6bn economic stimulus package, most of which is pumped through direct cash transfers to the poor and in food security measures.
  • Just days before the US Senate’s approval of the proposed package, Australia saw its second stimulus announcement, worth $46bn, by the government providing relief to individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

5:24 pm

Number of Covid-19 cases reaches two million globally

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has now surpassed two million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University. There have also been over 120,000 confirmed deaths.

The US is now the epicentre of the pandemic, with 609,685 cases, followed by Spain and Italy. US President Donald Trump has said that he will withdraw US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of April 15, over a fifth of the global population is under lockdown.

6:16 pm

Has the coronavirus pandemic put the “war on plastic” on hold?

However, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has seen many questioning the importance of plastics, especially single-use plastics for food packaging. Is plastic essential during this crisis, and have businesses and consumers put a hold to the war on plastic?  Packaging Gateway invited experts to weigh in.

“I have no doubt that the likes of Danone, Unilever, Nestle, etc., will continue to pursue their plastic reduction strategies and initiatives as part of their stated commitments.”

London-based brand design agency Echo head of client services Alastair Jones told Packaging Gateway: “The short answer to this is yes. Like all aspects of our lives, the coronavirus outbreak will have impacted the so-called ‘war on plastic’, though I don’t think that it has consciously been ‘put on hold’. It also depends on what level we are talking about here.

“I have no doubt that the likes of Danone, Unilever, Nestle, etc., will continue to pursue their plastic reduction strategies and initiatives as part of their stated commitments.

“At an activist level, it will be a lot harder as people are unable to get out and make their voices heard. Similarly, on a more personal level, peoples’ attention will inevitably be focused on themselves, their families, and staying safe, so it is likely that best intentions might take a back seat.

“In addition, people will be even more conscious about the cost of things and if pursuing a non-plastic lifestyle is going to cost more than I suspect it will suffer as a result.”

Echo head of marketing and business development Megan Rae said: “Due to the coronavirus crisis, the refuse and recycling collection patterns will have been affected, with some of the workforces off sick or choosing to stay home. As a result, there have been missed collections and it is uncertain whether recycling collection is even going to come.

“Consequently, the routines of people at home will have been disrupted and waste is building up for them to dispose of how they can – sustainable practices may well not be a priority.”

“Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it”

For other businesses, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is proving a good opportunity to re-evaluate plastics alongside other materials.

A representative from global plastics manufacturer Hi-Cone Gateway said: “Covid-19 has changed the world as we know it, from consumer habits to recycling capacity. Staying indoors provides us with more time on our hands.

“Jennifer Perr, the sustainability director of Hi-Cone, believes this is a time when we can learn to recycle more and truly understand different materials’ impact on the circular economy.”

The representative added that Hi-Cone has put effort into researching the environmental impacts of different materials, including plastic and paperboard.

4:20 pm

Covid-19: First Mile and Delphis Eco call for bottle closure recycling

UK-based recycling company First Mile, in collaboration with Delphis Eco, has urged households across the country to recycle plastic bottle closures as Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted supplies.

The move involves the launch of a free courier collection service called RecycleBox that will procure plastic bottle caps and closures. First Mile will then sort and clean these items, and ship them to Delphis for refill and reuse.

The step was taken as key plastic bottle closures manufacturing locations China and Northern Italy are under lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a global shortage of supplies.

Additionally, the scanty supplies also affected the deliveries of anti-bacterial hand soap and sanitisers.

First Mile founder and CEO Bruce Bratley said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to shortages in various supply chains within the UK. Some of these challenges are tricky to solve, but for this one, we have a simple solution.

“We’re asking the public to please save all of their plastic triggers, pumps and caps and send them back, along with their bottles, to First Mile through our RecycleBox scheme.

“This small action will have a big impact in terms of getting much-needed cleaning and sanitising products out to those that need them most.”

UK Households, who wish to participate in the new scheme, can place their plastic bottles and closures in an empty cardboard box and book a free collection at recyclebox.

The service accepts trigger sprays, hand soap pumps and flip-top caps among other forms of bottle closures.

Delphis Eco CEO Mark Jankovich said: “I’m sure some of the bottles may look a bit odd with strange tops on them, but that doesn’t matter, as long as people are getting the products they need. This is a great way to help fight Covid-19, and help the environment at the same time.”

12:34 pm

India extends HDPE/PP bags limit for food grains packaging

Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates


Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

The Government of India’s Ministry of Textiles has extended the limit for high-density polyethylene (HDPE)/polypropylene(PP) bags to cover current issues of packaging food grains.

The move will help meet packaging needs as jute mills are closed due to Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the country.

As part of this, the ministry has stretched the maximum permissible limit from 180,000 bales to 262,000.

The decision to make alternate packaging bags available has been with the intention of protecting the produce of wheat farmers, which are expected to be ready for packing in mid-April.

In India, Rabi Crop is about to be harvested which means demand for packaging bags will increase.

However, mills are unable to produce jute bags due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Under the Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPM), 1987, the government has pledged to take responsibility to protect jute farmers and workers.

Priority will be given to jute bags for packaging of food grains when jute mills return to business.

Additionally, the ministry has asked state governments to ‘allow movement, sale and supply of jute seeds, fertilisers and other farming aids’.

On 24 March, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address announced that the entire country will be under lockdown for the next 21 days.

He also announced an emergency financial package of Rs150bn ($1.97bn) for healthcare.

In India, numbers of confirmed cases stood at 5,356, while death tolls have reached 160.

Confirmed cases on coronavirus have touched 1,279,336 globally while the death toll stands at 69,844.

12:40 pm

IPL Plastics undertakes contingency planning measures amid Covid-19

 

Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates

Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

Canadian sustainable packaging solutions provider IPL Plastics (IPLP) has announced that it has undertaken a number of contingency planning measures to keep all 14 of its manufacturing facilities operational amid coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. 

At its plants, the firm manufactures essential products for essential businesses.

The company stated that it has undertaken several early actions to ensure it maintains a strong liquidity position, including restricting capital expenditures and reducing staffing levels and other costs in areas of the business where demand for certain of its products has reduced.

Amid this outbreak, demands on some products including food packaging containers have increased, while it slowed down for other products.

The firm stated that it was in a strong liquidity position as of 31 March. It had total available liquidity balances of $240.4m, out of which $875m was in freely available cash balances and $152.9m was in undrawn committed senior debt facilities.

Additionally, the company has withdrawn all previous guidance considering the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

IPLP also postponed its Annual General and Special Meeting of shareholders (AGM), which was scheduled for 14 May, to 23 June.

Headquartered in Canada, IPLP is a leading provider of sustainable packaging solutions to various sectors including food, consumer, agricultural, logistics and environmental end-markets.

The company has corporate offices in Montreal and Dublin and operates in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, China and Mexico. It employs approximately 2,100 people.

Confirmed cases on coronavirus have touched 1,279,336 globally, while death toll stands at 69,844.

10:54 am

Domtar to temporarily close operations in Tennessee and Arkansas mills

 

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Specialty and packaging papers supplier Domtar has decided to temporarily suspend operations at its Kingsport, Tennessee mill and Ashdown, Arkansas mill as coronavirus continues to spread.

The decision will be effective for three months and will reduce Domtar’s uncoated freesheet paper production capacity by approximately 144,000 short tons.

Following the move, Domtar will lay off approximately 304 employees at its Kingsport mill and 142 employees at its Ashdown mill.

Domtar president and CEO John D. Williams said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on communication paper demand, with offices, businesses and schools still closed in a large part of our markets.

“Given the evolving market conditions, we are taking the appropriate steps to optimise our operations, which will ensure that we remain an agile, reliable partner to our customers. We regret the impact these temporary shutdowns will have on our Kingsport and Ashdown employees and their families, and we are doing everything we can to support them during this time.”

The closure is restricted to the two facilities, while Domtar’s other facilities will continue to operate, and continue to ship products to all states and provinces without disruption.

Meanwhile, the company has decided to maintain the health and safety of its employees by cleaning and sanitising work sites, including equipment and break-rooms.

Domtar is one of the leading providers of fibre-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus have touched 1,279,336 globally, while death toll stands at 69,844.

5:01 pm

Covid-19: US FDA relaxes shell eggs packaging and labelling rules

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has temporarily relaxed certain packaging and labelling requirements for shell eggs that are sold in retail markets.

The decision was taken as Covid-19 pandemic led to a surge in demand for shell eggs, while appropriately labelled retail packaging for such products dropped.

With the new move, the federal agency seeks to ensure that the retailers meet the increasing demand of eggs amid the pandemic.

Usually, retail food establishments procure shell eggs from their suppliers in cartons which carry FDA-mandated food labels.

Egg cartons carry a statement of identity; details of the shell egg producer, packer or distributer; nutrition labelling; net quantity of contents; and safe handling instructions.

Under revised guidelines, FDA will not object to the sale of a packaged food if it does not carry nutrition labelling, subject to certain conditions.

In a statement, FDA noted: “This policy is intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the public health emergency related to Covid-19 declared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including any renewals made by the HHS Secretary in accordance with section 319(a)(2) of the Public Health Services (PHS) Act.”

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US has increased to 337,000. The disease has infected more than 1.2 million people globally, while the death toll crossed 70,000.

Last month, the FDA issued a final rule that requires cigarette manufacturers to place new health warnings on packages and advertisements.

The new health warnings are set to start appearing on cigarette packages from the middle of next year.

1:16 pm

Coronavirus search trends revealed by Redscan

In some parts of the world, internet usage is up by 50% as many people work remotely and use the internet to keep in contact with others or pass the time indoors during lockdown.

In light of this increase in online activity, cybersecurity company Redscan has analysed the most-searched for security and technology terms, based on Google Trends global search history data.

According to the data, searches for “business continuity plan” spiked between 8 March and 21 March.

Redscan also revealed that searches for coronavirus related scams were more frequent in the UK than those linked to Apple and Amazon.

Searches for “remote working”, “collaboration tools” and “remote access” also reached record highs in March.

Read more here

12:10 pm

AptarGroup seeks FDA EUA for N95 mask disinfecting solution

Global dispensing, drug delivery, and active packaging solutions company AptarGroup has requested the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorise its mask disinfecting solution.

The company has sought for FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95 mask) disinfecting solution.

The company claims that its solution easily disinfects N95 masks and will prove beneficial now for frontline health workers due to shortage of masks.

Aptar’s disinfecting solution includes the N95 mask, a small strip of its ActivShield and one-gallon plastic bag. The process can be carried out on-site.

According to the company, the mask can be disinfected by placing it along with ActivShield inside the sealed plastic bag.

The strip then releases Chlorine dioxide to decontaminate the mask, which is ready for use after three hours.

Aptar president and CEO Stephan Tanda said: “Aptar’s technology provides a unique, simple, and effective way to help solve the critical problem of PPE shortages we’re currently facing. 

“We are aiming to provide a solution that is not only fast, but it does not require special equipment or training, making it potentially accessible to the wider healthcare community. 

“This could enable healthcare workers to retain and disinfect their own facemask, helping to maintain continued proper fit to their face.”

As of now, Aptar has submitted the solution’s safety and effectiveness data to the FDA for EUA review and will be made available immediately if approved.

The company is planning to offer approximately four million ActivShield strips a week and is also expanding its production capacity to deliver ten million per week by the end of this month.

Last month, Aptar Food and Beverage unveiled InvisiShield platform, an anti-pathogenic packaging solution.

4:50 pm

Global number of coronavirus cases exceeds one million

The number of recorded coronavirus cases in the world has now exceeded one million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

So far, approximately 53,000 people have died from Covid-19 and over 210,000 have recovered from the virus. Europe accounts for half the number of cases.

According to the New York Times, roughly half the world’s population, or four billion people, is now under lockdown.

10:42 am

No, 5G does not cause coronavirus: 3 reasons why this theory is wrong and dangerous

It may sound bizarre, but this rumour has been circling for some time, and has been gaining considerable ground as the coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world.

The rumour suggests that the installation of 5G equipment causes health issues that are being attributed to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Not only does 5G not cause the coronavirus, but encouraging theories that it does or might will result in more people dying.

Here’s some reasons why this theory is completely and utterly without merit.

Read more here

5:34 pm

Cybercriminals are using bots to feed coronavirus fears

The ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in malicious bot activity online, according to research by cybersecurity software company Radware.

Bad bot traffic grew by 26% in February, with 58.1% of these bots able mimic human behaviour.

27.7% of traffic on media sites was from bad bots, as malicious actors look to scrape genuine content and republish it on their own sites that can then be used to dupe users into clicking on malicious links or falling for scams.

Read more here

 

5:38 pm

Could the coronavirus pandemic see drone deliveries take off?

It is now estimated that around 20% of the world’s population is in isolation, with 29 countries imposing a total or partial lockdown, as of March 26.

With many now only permitted to shop for food or medical supplies, and all non-essential retailers in locations such as the UK instructed to close until further notice, many are turning to e-commerce to buy goods.

As a result, there has been a renewed interest in the use of drone deliveries during and beyond the coronavirus crisis.

Drone deliveries have been promised for some time, but could the Covid-19 pandemic finally make them a reality?

Read more here

5:34 pm

UK records largest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths

The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK rose by 563 between 5pm on Monday and 5pm on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 2,352. This is the highest increase in the number of coronavirus-related deaths in a 24-hour period the country has experienced.

As of 9am this morning, 4,324 people tested positive since the previous day.

According to the Department of Health, there have now been 29,474 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK out of the 152,979 people that have been tested.

 

 

2:45 pm

Recycling Association warns of UK cardboard shortage

The Recycling Association (TRA) said yesterday that the UK could experience a cardboard shortage due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The association is concerned that there will be a fibre shortage in Europe and possibly globally. Fibre is used to manufacture essential cardboard packaging for food and medical supplies, among other goods.

TRA is concerned that, with home deliveries becoming a necessity, fibre will end up in household bins and go to landfill or incinerator rather than being recycled.

The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “Of huge concern to us is the signs that Europe is already becoming short of fibre with which to make cardboard boxes. Food and medical supplies all move by cardboard box and if we can’t make cardboard boxes, everything stops. If councils stop collecting recycling, and many are, all this fibre is burnt or goes to landfill and we will be short.”

The amount of waste generated across the UK has skyrocketed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic causing the government to put households into lockdown. Local authorities have been scaling back food, green waste and recycling collections as a result.

The lockdown also means that supply distribution is being hampered. According to The Guardian, Germany has been having to seek material from France and the UK rather than its usual supplier Poland.

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils are leading local efforts to support communities through the coronavirus crisis. As councils prioritise protecting the vulnerable, there will be inevitable disruption to other important services, such as bin collections and street cleaning.

“Some councils are having to change their waste and recycling services as coronavirus impacts on their collection staff. They will continue to work hard to keep waste and recycling services working as effectively as possible.”

6:06 pm

South Africa begins mass coronavirus screening

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the country will embark on a mass COVID-19 screening programme.

He announced that 10,000 workers would be visiting citizens’ homes in order to carry out screenings for coronavirus symptoms. Those who are found to have symptoms will be instructed to quarantine.

As of March 30, South Africa has 1,326 cases, with 3 deaths and 31 recoveries. The country is currently under a 21-day lockdown.

5:54 pm

80% of scams, hacks and cyberattacks now coronavirus themed

According to cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, 80% of scams, hacks and cyberattacks are now coronavirus-themed.

Since the security firm began monitoring for coronavirus scams on 29 January, it has observed over 500,000 messages, 300,000 malicious URLs and 200,000 malicious attachments with coronavirus themes.

And as the virus has spread, the volume of coronavirus scams has exploded.

Read more here

12:41 pm

Bizongo delivers first shipment of personal protective equipment

Indian packaging company Bizongo has completed its first shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) to food suppliers following the company’s announcement last week that it would supply to the health sector.

The company is shipping PPE kits and individual items such as masks, caps, shoe covers and sanitisers to essential service providers. The first shipment was delivered to grocer BigBasket, restaurant Zomato, and delivery service Shadowfax. The equipment supplied is intended to safeguard employee health.

Bizongo co-founder and chief operating officer Sachin Agarwal said: “Bizongo set up a dedicated taskforce to work around the clock through an online control room to map demand and supply of PPE kits and other essentials using its proprietary digital supply chain services.

“I am happy the team also managed to overcome some of the logistics challenges in ensuring the service though operational hurdles, including lack of permissions to open and operate warehouses in various cities, continue.

“Bizongo has started both intra-city and inter-city services to provide PPEs with a smaller but dedicated fleet. We urge the local authorities to allow us to operate a bigger fleet so that we can increase the delivery footprint and reach a larger number of people.”

Agarwal added: “Bizongo is also supplying packaging material to all the essential goods suppliers including e-commerce, pharma, diagnostic labs, dairy and food services companies.”

Bizongo microsite ‘Fight against Covid-19’ tracks the demand and supply of PPE. The site is requesting donations that will go towards public healthcare service providers.

12:08 pm

Covid-19: Detmold to produce surgical masks for South Australia

 

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Australian packaging company Detmold has secured contracts from South Australian (SA) and Federal governments to supply respirator and surgical masks amid the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The two governments have entered into agreement with Detmold to manufacture 145 million masks.

Out of the total, 45 million will be supplied to SA Health and 100 million for the Federal Government’s National Medical Stockpile.

Employing up to 160 additional workforce, Detmold will manufacture the masks from its Brompton facility in Adelaide.

The company will leverage specialised machinery for the production, which is expected to begin in May.

Detmold chief executive officer Alf Ianniello said: “Detmold is a South Australian company with a long history of employing locals, so to be able to assist with both flattening the curve in this time of crisis and helping keep South Australians in work is immensely rewarding.”

“We expect to have the capacity to manufacture over 20 million masks per month by June, and the facility will produce both surgical masks and respirator masks.”

The move to increase the supply chain came follows growing export restrictions and demand from countries around the world.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said: “Through this partnership we can be confident we will have an uninterrupted supply of respirator and surgical masks to provide our doctors and nurses working on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19.”

The number of infected persons from coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached 736,944 globally, while death toll of the outbreak stands at 35,116.

1:02 pm

Macfarlane directors postpone bonus to help business through pandemic

Scottish packaging manufacturer Macfarlane Group has today announced measures to help the business during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

These measures include members of the board at Macfarlane taking a pay cut of 25% of their salaries, investors no longer receiving 1.76p per share, and executive directors delaying their 2019 bonuses.

These measures are estimated to save the business around £2.8m.

In a statement published today, the company said: “The board is committed to following all of the UK Government’s guidance in response to Covid-19, as well as ensuring the long-term sustainability and success of the company.

“The company is currently focused on taking measures to reduce operating costs to a level that reflects the reduced level of activity.

“Our customers in the hygiene, household essentials, medical and food sectors are currently demonstrating strong ongoing demand as they play a vital role in helping the country meet the challenge of COVID-19 and we are continuing to support them. However, customers in other sectors such as automotive, aerospace and segments within retail have been materially impacted and their business has declined rapidly.

“Cash flows are being carefully managed. We are engaging with customers and suppliers to more accurately predict cash requirements and are reducing inventory levels, whilst ensuring that we can fulfil demand from customers providing essential services.”

The statement also noted that it is assessing the UK Government’s range of Covid-19 financial support measures.

11:10 am

Nine packaging events postponed due to coronavirus

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect on the packaging industry, including the international events at which manufacturers usually showcase their new product lines.

New rules being implemented globally to stay socially distanced in order to prevent the virus spreading means many packaging events have been postponed. Packaging Gateway looks at nine key events that have been pushed back due to the pandemic.

Read more here.

10:36 am

Five ways the world will be changed by coronavirus

Coronavirus is probably the largest crisis of our generation. In the short term, quarantine protocols and fear of contagion has led to food shortages and panic buying, as well as the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The decisions made by politicians now may shape the rest of the 21st century in terms of culture, economics and policy.

From remote working and unemployment, to sustainability and mass surveillance, here are five ways the COVID-19 pandemic could impact the world.

Read more here

3:57 pm

Planning digital transformation during a pandemic

We are now entering a time of unpredictability and volatility for businesses, triggering the imagination when it comes to the impact of technology on private life, business and society.

In many cases, the coronavirus pandemic will bring into question how we use and engage with digital technologies, which have now become intimately entwined with business change.

To this extent ‘digital transformation’ has become a pleonasm and the next twelve months will be defined by businesses’ ability to survive in a time of uncertainty and a renewed quest for simplicity.

Simplicity is what is needed – in the form of simple messages, instant action, zero friction and a continuous stream of exciting and rewarding signature moments.

Read more here

 

3:52 pm

US overtakes China in number of COVID-19 cases

The US has overtaken China as the country with the most COVID-19 cases, as the number of confirmed cases reaches 86,000. The number of deaths in the US has reached 1,300.

US President Donald Trump has attributed this spike in cases to an increase in coronavirus testing. Despite this, the president has publicly said he hopes to have the country reopened by Easter Sunday.

22 states have now instructed residents to stay at home, only leaving to buy food or medical supplies. These measures are thought to affect 49% of the US population, according to Business Insider.

12:22 pm

Covid-19: Supremex provides updates on business operations continuity

 

Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates

Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

Paper-based packaging solutions provider Supremex has provided updates on the steps being taken to ensure continuity of business operations amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The company is in operations to continue business in order to keep serving its customers.

The North American manufacturer has already taken measures to prevent liquidation and protect its employees.

Supremex provides packaging solutions to markets including pharmaceutical, food and e-commerce industries.

The company operates 13 facilities across seven provinces in Canada and three facilities in the US with approximately 935 employees.

The company is also a marketer of envelopes to government entities, financial institutions, utilities and other large organisations.

Supremex noted that its business continuity plan is in effect now, which seeks to further improve safety measures for employees.

The plan also seeks to continue production in all of its 16 North American manufacturing facilities.

Additionally, the management is restricting capital expenditures set aside for the company’s “critical maintenance projects”. Working capital and expenses are also being tightly monitored.

Supremex president and CEO Stewart Emerson said: “We are dedicated to the safety of our employees, their families and of our communities and have implemented rigorous measures to ensure that we safeguard their health and wellbeing.

“We are part of an important supply chain to critical businesses and organisations, and we remain committed to supporting our customers operating in these challenging times.”

Total confirmed cases of Covid-19 coronavirus have climbed to 532,564 globally, while the death toll has reached 24,077.

5:32 pm

Jefferies becomes first private-sector company to join RAPID initiative

US-based financial services company Jefferies announced yesterday that it will be joining the Rapid Aseptic Packaging of Injectable Drugs (RAPID) initiative.

Jefferies is the first private-sector entity to join the initiative and will be providing it with access to private-sector capital markets, global financial resources, and an initial capital commitment of $10mn.

Read more here.

3:42 pm

Covid-19: EnvyPak to maintain packaging supplies to key industries


Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates


Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

Ohio-based EnvyPak has announced that it will maintain its production to continue delivering packaging solutions amid the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The company will continue to supply clear specialty packaging items to healthcare and medical sector as well as other industries involved to control the spread of the disease.

EnvyPak president Michele Cole said: “We are considered an essential business because we manufacture packaging products for the Medical and other related service industries. We’re continuing normal EnvyPak production to meet the critical needs of our customers.

“We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our own employees, customers, and vendors.”

The company focuses on delivering clear pouches pockets and adhesive-backed sleeves for the medical industry. EnvyPak also supplies CD holders to the testing laboratories that produce Covid-19 test kits and radiation therapy centres.

Furthermore, its packaging solution portfolio includes clear envelopes and mailing supplies for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Currently, the company also plans to supply durable, clear polypropylene packaging products to other essential businesses.

Cole added: “It’s extremely gratifying to know that we’re helping our country in this time of crisis by our unique manufacturing capabilities and capacities.

“EnvyPak excels at manufacturing and supplying crystal clear, protective packaging for test kits and other products. We love supporting businesses that can provide front-line support to fight this virus.”

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in the US has jumped to 69,000.

3:12 pm

Coronavirus cybersecurity: Ten tips for secure remote working

As the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect numerous aspects of daily life, workers and employers are adapting to new ways of working.

Although social distancing and social isolation are key to slowing the spread of the virus, they have tested organisations’ infrastructure and remote working practices.

“Remote working on a scale we’ve never seen before has now become a fact of life; doing this without compromising security will be more important than ever,” says Jeremy Hendy, CEO at cybersecurity firm Skurio.

Here are ten key pieces of advice from experts from the cybersecurity industry to help organisations maintain robust security while remote working.

Read more here

5:12 pm

Bizongo to offer supply services to India healthcare sector

Indian B2B packaging company Bizongo is offering digital supply services to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Indian healthcare sector.

The service is available exclusively for hospitals, health centres, pharmacies, essential goods providers, large public entities, and non-governmental organisations.

Bizongo chief operating officer and co-founder Sachin Agarwal said: “Bizongo launched this service to manage the demand-supply gap of PPEs which is crucial for the medical staff at the forefront of this battle against Covid-19.

“Bizongo has currently mapped capacities of around 40 certified manufacturers of PPEs and captured demand from various government authorities across states”

Agarwal added that the company is in talks with other suppliers to source PPEs, masks, sanitisers, and other critical inventory.

He said: “We would appreciate it if more such suppliers join us so that we can provide these critical supplies to the members of the medical fraternity at the forefront of fighting Covid-19.”

The company has also launched a microsite with live tracking of demand and supply due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Bizongo co-founder Aniket Deb wrote on Twitter that the company has been struggling to provide packaging to customers making essential goods due to warehouse closures.

Last month, Bizongo acquired $30m in Series C funding to expand operations throughout India.

12:40 pm

BPF urges government to classify plastic sector workers as essential

The British Plastic Federation (BPF) has asked the UK Government to classify plastic sector employees as key workers during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter written to members of parliament, BPF stated that packaging is essential and having workers in packaging facilities is crucial.

The letter follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak update earlier this week, which stated that all non-essential workers in the UK must stay in their homes except to shop for essentials. Included in the list of essential workers are key public services employees, food chain workers, teachers, government, utility workers, those working in transport, and those in the public safety sector.

In the letter, BPF director-general Philip Law said: “I am writing to you to call for the urgent introduction of measures to ensure the continued provision of essential household and pharmaceutical goods across the UK, as well as meeting key infrastructure demands. Unless changes are made – in particular, the recognition of key parts of the plastics sector as critical infrastructure – the manufacturing industry will not be able to meet demand.”

Law listed key products supplied by the plastics sector, which include packaging as well as medical equipment, pipes systems, and communications and energy supply systems.

He added: “The BPF is witnessing critical item shortages and government action is needed to address this. For example, there have been estimates of an overall uplift in retail sales last weekend of between 600% and 800%. This has massively increased demand for packaging in addition to other products

“Packaging companies and other key processors are reliant on a steady supply of raw materials, and the polymer distributors who ensure the material reaches those in the supply chain. We urge the government to evaluate the consequences of closing key sites and to recognise that plastic manufacturers are part of the critical infrastructure of the UK.”

5:33 pm

Premier Labellers expands production to meet demand for hand sanitiser

UK packaging label machine manufacturer Premier Labellers has expanded production lines in order to satisfy increasing demand for hand sanitiser.

The company announced earlier today that demand for hand sanitiser has gone “above and beyond” due to the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic. Premier has taken actions to implement additional lines dedicated to this service.

Premier will be producing large quantities of hand sanitisers through its packaging machinery and flagship labelling machines. The process will include filling, capping, labelling, coding, packing, and distributing around 3,000 bottles per hour, per line.

Premier managing director Tracie White said: “As key workers, we now have a commitment to the UK to meet the demand and get these much needed products out to the customer and the public.”

Premier operations director Damian McGloin said: “Our current objectives are to maximise our production up-time to meet the demand and help the cause to the best of our ability.”

Premier Labelling recently appointed Tracie White as owner of the company, which is now planning to re-brand.

4:33 pm

How are packaging companies responding to Covid-19?

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the packaging industry and left many businesses having to make big decisions on how to progress. Packaging Gateway looks at how five packaging companies are responding.

Read more here.

 

9:41 am

UK Government announces closure of non-essential businesses

Last night, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced more stringent, semi-lockdown measures for the UK to encourage social distancing.

These included only allowing people out of their homes to shop for basic necessities, exercise once a day, any medical appointments and to go to work if absolutely necessary.

To the end of discouraging people from leaving their houses for any other reasons, the UK Government closed all non-essential shops, including clothing and electronics retail stores, hair and beauty salons, and markets, except those selling food.

The police and other relevant authorities will be given powers to enforce these social distancing rules, including issuing out fines.

10:19 pm

Global GDP may drop by 1% in 2020, says Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs expects global real gross domestic product to contract by about 1 per cent in 2020, a sharper economic decline than in the year following the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The coronacrisis or more precisely, the response to that crisis — represents a physical (as opposed to financial) constraint on economic activity that is unprecedented in postwar history,” the investment bank said in a note to its clients published late on Sunday according to India Today.

10:08 pm

UBS Securities cuts India’s FY21 real GDP growth forecast to 4%

Financial Express has reported on a UBS Securities research note that expects India to clock a 4.8% growth in FY20. “For the full year, we now expect India’s real GDP growth to slow further to 4% year-on-year in FY21 (previously 5.1%).”

“The challenge for India vs its peers is starker if infections spread rapidly considering the higher density of population per capita and weaker health infrastructure,” UBS’ economist Tanvee Gupta Jain said.

7:36 pm

OECD expects economic fallout to be felt ‘for a long time to come’

Speaking to CNBC, the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurria, stated: “What you have is an economic effect now that, very clearly, is going to be prolonged beyond the period of the pandemic.”

“We’ll hopefully get rid of the pandemic in the next two or three months and then the question is how many unemployed (will there be), how many small and medium-sized enterprises will be in a very, very severe situation if not disappeared by that time.”

“Life, and economic activity, is not going to be normalized any time soon,” he said. “We’re going to have the impact of this crisis for a long time to come.”

2:05 pm

Covid-19 impact: SCG Packaging postpones $1bn IPO


Visit our Covid-19 microsite for the latest coronavirus news, analysis and updates


Follow the latest updates of the outbreak on our timeline.

Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG) Packaging has postponed its $1bn initial public offering (IPO) as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak rattling global financial markets.

The plan has been deployed indefinitely till the equity markets stabilise according to Reuters who cited sources familiar with the matter. However, they did not provide any specific timeframe for the plan to be revived.

SCG, the parent firm of the packaging company, originally planned to launch the IPO in the first half of this year.

A SCG spokesperson told the news agency: “With travel restrictions, volatile financial markets, and the Covid-19 measures, SCG Packaging continues to monitor the IPO timeline.”

The company is yet to officially confirm the move.

In October last year, SCG announced plans that it will float 30% stake of the packaging business and will continue to hold the remaining majority stake.

If the plan advanced, the proceeds received from the IPO would have been used to fund SCG Packaging’s expansion strategy.

Besides Thailand, SCG Packaging operates paper packaging facilities in Vietnam and the Philippines. It also has paper packaging and flexible packaging plants in Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 outbreak has spread to more than 147 countries.

The disease, which originated from China, has killed more than 7,900 people globally. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases also crossed 198,000.

4:23 pm

Coronavirus “can survive up to three days” on packaging: Study

A study released Friday has found that the coronavirus HCoV-19, which is causing the Covid-19 pandemic, can survive on packaging for between 24 hours and three days depending on the surface material. 

The study was led by researchers from Princeton University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Montana, US. It assessed the aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 and estimated virus decay rates. 

It found that the virus could be detected in aerosols up to three hours following aerosolisation, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic. 

Covid-19 is spread by droplets that fall onto surfaces or hands when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

The report said: “Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 are plausible, as the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.” 

The research was pre-printed in light of the Covid-19 epidemic and is yet to be peer reviewed. 

London-based restaurant Wahlburgers general manager Wedson Soares told Packaging Gateway: “Our priority as a company and a member of our community remains the health, safety, and well-being of our team and guests.

“We have also introduced enforcing double bags of all takeaway items. When we prepare our food deliveries, we have advised the customer to take the internal bag, thus avoiding any contact.”

A representative from the British Plastic Federation told Packaging Gateway: “Plastic packaging is designed to be hygienic and adheres to strict legislation, ensuring it is extremely safe. This makes it ideal for packaging food, medicines and pharmaceuticals, where it is designed to be durable, lightweight and secure.

“It reduces risk by using tamper-evident and even child-resistant mechanisms as well as having shatterproof properties. Ensuring the safety of consumers is imperative and plastic packaging provides a sealed, hygienic and safe option.”

3:35 pm

Coronavirus could increase flexible packaging demand in China

Flexible packaging could be seeing high demand in China in order to prevent future COVID-19 coronavirus outbreaks.

Analysis released yesterday by Scottish research company Wood Mackenzie associate Brendan Connell-French revealed that China’s packaging industry could be seeing tighter packaging regulations. This is due to COVID-19 drawing attention to health and safety in the food supply chain.

Connell-French said: “The coronavirus outbreak is reportedly thought to have started at a wholesale seafood and meat market in Wuhan. These wet markets can be a breeding ground for the spread of animal-borne diseases and viruses, as both live and butchered animals are handled by staff and customers in a confined area.

“In response to the risk, the Chinese government is reportedly considering a change to meat handling and distribution practices, and tighter regulations could lie ahead. In our view, such a change would likely result in an increased demand for flexible packaging.” 

Flexible packaging is any type of packaging where the shape can be easily changed, for example, bags, pouches, tubes, and shrink films.

According to Connell-French, China has a very low average consumption of flexible packaging for the meat and fresh-produce market when compared with Japan, the US, and Western Europe. An increase in consumption through distributing meat in flexible plastic packaging could reduce the risk of a future outbreak.

Connell-French said: “Flexible packaging demand in Asia has been hit by a sluggish regional economy, growing by 4.8% in 2019 – down from 5.6% in 2018. Chinese per capita consumption of flexible packaging for fresh and processed meat and seafood is currently so low, that even subtle shifting of production to larger corporations could have an impact on growth.”

He predicts that there is unlikely to be a complete change in meat-purchasing preferences in China; however, COVID-19 could potentially stimulate a redesign of the meat and fresh-food market and therefore create a need for more flexible packaging.

3:00 pm

Coronavirus outbreak risks food packaging supplies from China

Australian supermarket heads have warned that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak could negatively affect food stock due to packaging supplies from China becoming difficult to obtain.

Ritchies Supa supermarket chief executive Fred Harrison told newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that 76 independent Australian grocers across the East Coast have been warned of supply issues due to temporary factory closures in China.

Harrison said: “As we talk to suppliers, we hear that some of their wrappings or biscuit trays are starting to get a little bit short.

“I don’t think we want another week or two of this. If there’s no production or packaging in from China by the end of March, it’d be getting serious.

“We’re very resilient, Aussies tend to find a way, but I would think definitely there would be some holes appearing in production of products if this is still the same in three weeks’ time.”

In the UK, British Retail Consortium director of food and sustainability Andrew Opie said that British supermarkets are currently able to deal with the supply risk.

Opie told Packaging Gateway: “Retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains closely and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure consumers have continuous access to products they want.

“They are adept at managing disruption and moving sourcing from one country to another to mitigate any impact. If disruption to supply chains continues and spreads, then retails and consumers may eventually see knock-on effects on cost or availability of goods.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement on Thursday that there have been no reports to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

Packaging Gateway has approached various supermarkets across the UK for comment, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Waitrose.

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