There was a decidedly eco flavour to some of the packaging and printing innovations on display at this year’s Packaging Innovations, Empack and Label&Print exhibition at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) last month.

February 2019 saw more than 300 suppliers converge on Birmingham’s NEC to showcase the latest innovations in printing and packaging.

The 2017 BBC nature documentary narrated by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Blue Planet II, raised the world’s awareness of the dangers of plastic packaging and the damage it is doing to our marine environments.

Since then, innovators in the sector have worked to introduce solutions for mitigating the disastrous impact of plastic on the world’s seas and oceans. So perhaps there should be little surprise that there was a distinct eco flavour to some of the innovations on display at this year’s Packaging Innovation exhibition.

Renz UK choose the event to launch its new Argos Solutions F400 Cold UV Coating Machine. This UV coating machine provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional plastic laminating.

Renz sales manager Paul Simpson said: “The technology in the new machine presents the opportunity for a shinier, glossier HD finish on a variety of applications – specifically, we are targeting the growing photographic print market.

“Its running costs are much lower than the machines coming out of the Far East, which are open lamp systems that run much hotter and need more coating. With the new Argos machine, you need hardly any coating. However, that does not have an effect on the quality as quality comes from our curing process rather than the amount of coat.”

Meanwhile, packaging creator Foxpack Flexibles used the show to launch its new “Generation Green” flexible packaging materials.

Foxpack said, “The primary focus is on environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Our compostable packaging solution is made from materials that are certified for both home and industrial composting. The full structure itself is awaiting certification, we expect to achieve this by June 2019.”

The range includes:
• a recyclable packaging solution with a PE laminate which is recyclable under code 4 HDPE and acknowledged as widely recyclable by WRAP and OPRL, available as a standard or high barrier structure as per product requirements.
• a paper packaging solution made from recyclable, re-pulpable and compostable white kraft with an inner barrier to keep products fresh.

The seventh Packaging Innovations exhibition will take place in the Netherlands. It runs 31st March to 2nd April 2020 at Jaarbeurs Utrecht.