Screen has collaborated with Sappi, a paper packaging producer, and Mercian Labels, a digital label printing converter in the UK, introducing a recyclable barrier packaging paper for UK chocolate manufacturer Whitakers.

The flexible packaging industry is collectively seeking to improve its sustainability profile, influenced by both consumer expectations and European regulations. There is a growing interest in single-layer recyclable paper with recent studies showing that 70% of European consumers are actively seeking alternatives to plastic packaging. In the UK, a McKinsey survey also revealed that 63% of customers perceive paper packaging as an eco-friendlier option. As a result, brand owners are changing their outlook and switching to paper packaging.

Juan Cano business development director at Screen discussed the company’s part to play in the collaboration for a sustainable paper packaging product stating, ‘Screen’s inkjet digital printing press Truepress Pac 520P using water-based food compliant inks, stands out for its lower environmental impact, reduced waste, and quick job turnaround times.

‘This agility enables to rapidly ramp up volumes in the early stages of market development, offering a compelling solution for converters and brand owners alike.’

Further commenting on the collaboration Sibylle Hajostek, market manager of paper and packaging solutions at Sappi added, ‘Selecting the right paper for the right product application is crucial and our expertise in barrier coating allows us to provide the right barrier properties for product protection.

‘The UK market, in particular, has shown a significant demand for more sustainable packaging solutions, and we are excited to contribute to meeting these demands.’

Dr Adrian Steele, managing director of Mercian Labels has seen a significant potential in diversifying into paper flexible packaging explaining how the new market is exciting to explore. He stated, ‘The move into paper flexible packaging is a natural evolution for us.

‘Digital printing with eco-friendly inks brings flexibility to packaging design by abolishing MOQs and significantly reducing lead times.

‘It allows for customisation, reduced waste from obsolescence, and, most importantly, aligns with Whitakers’ commitment to sustainability.’

Whitakers is trialling the fully recyclable paper packaging made from this collaboration as it looks to improve its packaging’s sustainability while also maintaining product shelf life and product freshness.

This collaboration exemplifies the industry’s collective effort to make more sustainable choices for consumers. The combination of Screen’s water-based inkjet digital printing knowledge, barrier paper production from Sappi, and packaging conversion by Mercian Labels has all led to Whitakers’ new sustainable paper packaging.

The sustainable paper packaging solution will be showcased at Packaging Innovations (NEC Birmingham, 21-22 February).