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Closure specialist Zip-Pak is providing solutions to the industry challenges of balancing initiatives around food and packaging waste while also addressing the need for product integrity and consumer convenience. This article first appeared in the October 2021 issue of Food and Drink Business.

As the flexible packaging segment continues to grow, Zip-Pak sees itself playing a larger role in supporting the industry to contain waste, drive sustainability and increase convenience, while supporting packaging’s primary purpose to preserve, protect and contain the product.

ITW Zip-Pak sales manager Australia & New Zealand Michael Debono says it has been alarming to learn that organics contribute roughly 20 million tonnes of the 64 million tonnes going to landfill.

Food waste is the largest organics contributor, and most of this waste is generated in the household. Identifying ways to avoid or reduce this is important, and Debono says Zip-Pak technology can help.

“One simple way to upgrade your pouch packaging and keep your contents fresh is the addition of resealable zipper technology. At Zip-Pak we offer proven reclosure solutions for flexible packaging,” he says.

“We know once a flexible pack is open, there is a challenge to retain freshness, protection and containment of the primary contents. To manage this, the consumer may transfer the contents into another package eliminating brand recognition while creating further packaging waste,” Debono adds.

“Adding a resealable zipper onto a flexible package is a great way to avoid products being decanted and ensuring the flexible pouch is the primary pack, able to be open and closed multiple times over or until the contents are consumed.”

According to Debono, Zip-Pak’s Pour and Lok zipper is a good option for brand owners who are considering shifting their flexible package into a resealable and reusable package, with the easy-pour spout functionality providing product protection and containment with added consumer convenience.

Debono says consumer convenience can also be measured based on end-of-life outcome for packaging. While the collection rates for flexible packaging remains low compared to other formats, resealable zippers on flexible packaging are mainly PE, he says, so they are well positioned for recycling streams such as REDcycle for material re-purposing.

“As flexibles look to transition to mono structures, we are also ready with suitable resealable zippers to align with the transition from a linear to a circular economy,” he says.

Across the ANZ market there are businesses and brand owners who, over the years, have invested in equipment without zipper reclosure functionality, according to Debono. He says while some of those brand owners, and those investing in new equipment now, who think the technology remains out of their reach, there are solutions. Equipment can be retrofitted and other options, such as pre-zipper film or pre-made bags, can be applied to provide the optimum level of convenience to the consumer.

Debono says, “Adding zipper application functionality onto vertical form-fill-seal equipment or flow wrapper is not a new concept. We work with many global OEMs, brand owners and converters to retrofit existing equipment. We have seen an increase in enquiries for advice in this area and our technical team is here to help.”

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