Having recently visited the Birmingham Packaging Innovations show Paris Packaging Week 2022 offered a good opportunity to see how it’s done elsewhere. The Paris show is far bigger, divided into sections covering aerosol, perfume, cosmetics, and premium drinks. There was a much more optimistic vibe to the show, greeted with upbeat music, flowers* and smiles – you felt inspired and welcome. There certainly felt more of a buzz than Birmingham, but like Birmingham, innovation was not as I’d hoped and most of the attendee’s focus appeared to be on finding new suppliers and striking deals.
Despite navigation through the vast halls being less than intuitive, there were some interesting products, ideas, and suppliers exhibiting. The Innovation Awards display was a highlight, split into 5 categories; Monomaterials, Refills, Consumer Experience, Reduce and Personalisation with the stand showcasing some great examples. The Nivea/Beiersdorf hand soap uses a 100% recycled and recyclable bottle, and the refill uses just card. Chanel Nº5 have switched from an outer carton to a 100% vegetable pulp second skin for their latest innovation. Bio’teille – Le Petit Baroudeur wine bottles uses a combination of a pulp card outer and monomaterial plastic bag/screw top – to shape a bag in box wine as a traditional wine bottle with fully recyclable materials.
One company which drew my attention was Eurotextile, who produce a variety of packaging, bags and carry cases – all with the ambition to use as much sustainably sourced material as possible. Examples are the recycled PU (Polyurethane) Ten over Ten pouch, the Aromaria woven paper pouch and the 100% Hemp Rue Traversiére bag. There were many more examples on their stand and attendee interest was very high. Another fine example of sustainable and creative packaging was on display at the Aptar stand. Their future focused range of closures uses a single (monomaterial) plastic, including plastic springs. The closures include pumps, disc tops, flip top and screw tops – with more in development. When combined with a material matched bottle this single material packaging will be 100% recyclable without the need to separate components. Additionally, the collar on the closures can be coloured as needed and boasts a twist mechanism to lock/unlock the pump/top.
One area I have not given much thought to regarding packaging and sustainability is 3D printing… This is still a very niche sector and can only be replicated on a small scale currently. However, 3D printing does seem to have some clear advantages for packaging and is being adopted on a somewhat modest scale. The materials used for 3D can be fully recycled and are recyclable, much less energy and water are required for the process – with far less waste material generated. As it can be printed to order there will be no overproduction of components. Prototyping and light-weighting are quickly and easily achievable. Notably L’Oréal have invested significantly into 3D printing for packaging, used in both prototyping and limited-edition ranges. Surprisingly there weren’t many 3D examples at the Paris show, I found just 2 suppliers – one producing bespoke bottles at very small quantities and the other making bottle decoration that I would argue is questionable in both style and necessity.
Avoiding making any comments on the two cities – how does the Paris show compare to Birmingham? Bigger and better by a long way. Perhaps it suffers a little from being too big and overwhelming – and maybe visiting for the 2-day duration will help you appreciate and get more from the show. It is certainly more relevant for buyers, creatives and brand managers. However, the one advantage Birmingham has over Paris is that it caters for a more diverse range of producers, Paris has zero focus on the food and pharmaceutical sectors. So perhaps put both in your diary for next year? *The flowers were plastic by the way… c’est la vie.
Robin Munden | Production & Sustainability Lead