Sun Chemical Collaborates with Brands, Converters, Trade Associations, Certification Providers, and Suppliers to Deliver Sustainability Solutions for the Packaging Market
Achieving industry-wide sustainability goals must be collaborative in nature, as no one entity can reach those goals on its own. Industry relationships are critical in contributing to sustainability initiatives because they help understand where there may be gaps or needs in becoming more sustainable.
Sun Chemical makes it a priority to establish relationships up and down the value chain including brands and retailers, who sell to the consumer market, which ideally creates the input for waste collections, sortation and recycling to create new raw materials.
Participating in various associations can also help to ensure alignment with value chain partners. Respected packaging and recycling associations can offer visibility into requirements for today as well as demands that are coming on the horizon. Sun Chemical’s collaborative work through the packaging value chain has led to a wide range of successful sustainability initiatives.
Acknowledgement of Sun Chemical Ink Offerings by the Association of Plastic Recyclers Means Increases in the Recycling of PET Bottles
Coordination with the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) helped Sun Chemical to better understand some of the challenges in successfully recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and has enabled the development of available solutions on the market today.
For example, Sun Chemical’s research and development team formulated a recycle-friendly new washable ink technology that can be removed from post-consumer printed PET packaging in typical existing recycling processes, without staining the recovered PET flake or the process wash water. Designed for crystallizable PET shrink sleeves that can be recycled together with the PET bottles, the washable ink allows for the increased recovery of high-quality, clean, recycled PET resin.
This collaboration has resulted in an acknowledgment from the APR that using the ink solution can play an important role in increasing the recycling of PET bottles. Sun Chemical continues to consult with the APR and explore other ways to further boost the rate of PET recycling and ultimately assist CPGs in achieving their own ambitious sustainability goals around improved PET bottle recyclability.
The Development of Bio-renewable Inks Plays Role in Lowering Packaging Footprint
Recognizing that brands were prioritizing sustainability, Sun Chemical developed its SunVisto AquaGreen bio-renewable inks to meet the printing and application performance requirements for the converters, their CPG customers and consumers while also allowing them to be sustainable by using an ink derived from renewable materials, such as plants, rather than from petroleum-based sources.
That innovation was acknowledged across the packaging supply chain as an important way to lower the overall CO2 footprint of a package, especially the fast food market which has taken a strong leadership position in adopting bio-renewable inks and coatings.
By printing bio-renewable inks for paper packaging on substrates such as paper bags, wraps, clamshells and paperboard, food service CPG companies are reaching their sustainability goals.
Working with Certification Providers Can Lead to Packaging Compostability Under Specific Conditions
Compostable packaging is another route that many brands are exploring to improve sustainability as this option allows brands to still achieve their sustainability goals without sacrificing flexibility or the number of product iterations. It also requires collaboration between converters, ink manufacturers and substrate manufacturers to ensure the full package can be certified as compostable.
For a package to be compostable, all aspects of the package—inks, coatings, adhesives, substrates—must also be compostable. Each one of its components must biodegrade naturally within a specified timeframe under controlled conditions, or be confirmed not to negatively impact that biodegradation. The design of the package and application of various components must comply with specific standards.
To ensure that its inks conform to the compostability standards, Sun Chemical relies on certifications provided by TÜV Austria in Europe and BPI in North America, which carry out laboratory tests on the finished packaging product or on its separate components (including the inks) to prove that they fully meet European EN 13432 or North American ASTM D6400 and D6868 protocols.
If certified, the material used would be considered compostable or compliant with compostability without leaving excessive levels of toxins, heavy metals or plastic residues in the soil.
Sun Chemical also manufactures compostable adhesives and coatings that can work together as one in a compostable package—a one-stop shop that could greatly benefit CPGs in reaching their sustainability objectives.
Using Suppliers Dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility
Sun Chemical strives to be active with suppliers and various industry associations that are dedicated to corporate social responsibility and responsible material sourcing, such as EcoVadis, the Responsible Mica Initiative and the responsible Sustainable Palm Oil Organization, ensuring that Sun Chemical’s suppliers are as committed to sustainability as we are.
Sun Chemical uses a balanced scorecard approach to evaluate suppliers’ environmental performance, helping to ensure that suppliers remain vigilant in developing new technology that reduces the overall environmental footprint of their products.
Below is a short list of some of our key collaborative partnerships with trade associations and third-party certification companies that help us to achieve sustainability goals for brands.
See Collaboration in Action. Download our Latest Sustainability Report.Download