MILAN – Amcor has created AmPrima PE Plus, a recyclable single-material packaging for coffee, that Löfbergs has just launched on the Swedish market. Since the bags typically used to pack coffee are multi-layer laminates that are impossible to recycle or compost, this is a real breakthrough.
On the subject, we approached Amcor directly, and here is what they answered to our questions, with a special reference to the Italian situation, which is very diverse across the country, with different provisions from municipality to municipality.
What are the real benefits of this technical solution and thus the future repercussions for the market?
“AmPrima PE Plus is a packaging solution that follows Ceflex guidelines and recyclability is certified by HTP Cyclos: it therefore enables compliance with the criteria of circularity that will become a legal requirement. The main advantages are: preservation of coffee and its aroma, reduction of environmental impact and related environmental taxation, simplified and standardized solution, widely tested on different coffee applications, including those requiring valves.”
What monomaterial are we talking about? What is AmPrima PE Plus made of?
“It is a laminate composed of polyethylene films with characteristics special features, allowing optimal product preservation and shelf life achievement; it has been engineered to be used efficiently on the machines packaging machines. We have reduced any excess of plastic by using only two layers of polyethylene; thus the weight of the packaging is reduced and this brings benefits in terms of CO2 emissions, less plastic to be processed, and also Conai fees (and similar in other European countries, so-called EPR fees and plastic taxes) lower than those applied to traditional packaging.
In addition, we offer customers who wish to do so the option of including a high percentage of recycled resin.”
Where is this packaging thrown away?
“Where separate collection is present, as it happens in many Italian municipalities, the consumer will have to dispose of the packaging with the plastic waste; afterwards it will be the sorting center that will separate this packaging from the others (e.g. PET bottles, standard laminates etc) and send it to the recycling plants. The sorting and recycling facilities are currently undersized, but it is the path to follow from now on.”
How were you able to preserve the quality of the packaged product?
“Ensuring barrier properties suitable to keep the shelf life of coffee and preserving its aroma over time was a key criteria from the very beginning of the development, and we have succeeded by using barrier coating technologies that at the same time allow minimizing the weight of additional substances than polyethylene, while remaining largely below the limits of the Ceflex guidelines.”
How many years of research did it take to achieve this result?
“The development of AmPrima PE Plus took advantage of technologies already present in Amcor, extending its use on the coffee packaging application; an important phase where we wanted to invest time after the screening of the different options is the industrialization, in fact before the market launch we have conducted tests on more than 50 packaging machines of different types. This last phase alone took about one year of work and took benefit from the support of different packaging machine manufacturers.”
Now we see the launch of AmPrima PE Plus in stores in Sweden, when will it take place in Italy and what are the next countries to be involved in the trial?
“Actually, the one in Sweden is not the first market launch: for several months now, consumers have been finding AmPrima PE Plus on the shelves of supermarkets in the UK, while other customers are introducing it in BeNeLux and Norway.
We are in the testing phase with about 30 customers in Europe and we are also active in Italy although it should be reported that in our country we notice that roasters started a bit later than in other countries.
To conclude, I would like to point out that this mono-polyethylene solution is part of the of the AmPrima platform, which also includes mono-polypropylene solutions, currently at an advanced stage of development; this is to meet the demand of the market that in certain countries shows a preference for this polymer.”