Smurfit Kappa and WestRock unveil plastic-free multi-pack binders

Smurfit Kappa has designed a range of plastic-free beverage can collation products, the latest packaging materials company to tap into growing demand from brands for sustainable multi-pack bindings.

The Dublin-headquartered company unveiled the Green-Clip, which is designed to replace plastic-ring binders, and the Top-Clip, an alternative to shrink-wrapping.

Along with the Nor-Grip holder for bottles, all are made from corrugated cardboard whose production has a lower carbon footprint than plastic, according to Smurfit Kappa. All are “recyclable, renewable and biodegradable” and require no glue or other potentially toxic materials.

Vice-president of innovation and development Arco Berkenbosch said the new products were convenient, strong and sustainable.

“Single-use plastics can have a devastating impact on the environment and designing even more sustainable packaging alternatives is a cornerstone of our Better Planet Packaging initiative,” Berkenbosch said in a statement. “We know from our research that 75% of consumers have a preference for sustainable packaging.”

Demand for environmentally friendly products has led brands to search for alternatives to plastic secondary packaging. Coca-Cola last month said it would stop putting its UK-produced multi-packs in shrink wrap and reports this week said the proposal would be extended throughout Europe with the introduction of cardboard KeelClip binders made by Atlanta, Georgia-based Graphic Packaging.

US packaging giant WestRock is also planning to launch a carboard-based binding product in Europe. Its two-ply paperboard clip is made of pine pulp, which has longer fibres to give the material added strength, senior director for beverage design Brad Walling told The Canmaker

WestRock, which is also based in Atlanta, is fielding more and more calls from brands wanting to move away from plastic wrappers and carriers, Walling said.

“No one wants to be the last plastic-covered product on the shelf,” he added.