Late last year, Argos Packaging & Protection introduced the No Waste Technology (NoW) flow pack packaging to the Dutch and Belgian markets. The first tests with selected companies have now been completed. "We're getting only positive reactions," say Roy van den Heuvel and Martijn Dammers with Argos. "We're already giving these customers quotes and are planning the next test round."
Argos sees a growing need from the market for sustainable, eco-friendly packaging. "Consumers and our clients are becoming increasingly environmentally aware," says Martijn.
"And we believe, as a packaging producer and supplier, we must be concerned with the topic of sustainability. We always want to be able to offer our customers the best sustainable options."
"This plastic-free NoW flow pack packaging is made from 100% paper," Roy explains. "It's fully recyclable too and can be added to the paper waste stream. It's the first packaging made of paper from wood. That's a high-quality material that can then be recycled."
"It can, therefore, serve as new raw material for making new paper products. It has a whole life ahead of it, making it a sustainable, circular solution. This packaging is in response to the demand and desire for mono packaging. This kind of packaging is produced from a single type of raw material, thus simplifying the recycling process."
"NoW packaging extends products' shelf lives too," says Roy. "Paper's a natural product and this packaging's porosity promotes a microclimate within it. This ensures that, for example, tomato stems rot less and potatoes don't sprout and discolor as quickly. Tests by an independent agency show that shelf life increases significantly. You can use this packaging for both vertical and horizontal flow packs, making it suitable for virtually all types of fruit and vegetable products. You can easily mechanically package, say, kiwis and tomatoes, in this packaging."
It took some doing to develop this plastic-free NoW packaging. Argos approached the Italian company InKarta, a paper packaging solutions specialist, some two years ago. Argos is now InKarta's NoW flowpack packaging's official distributor for the Dutch and Belgian markets. "We've invested considerably in product development over the past two years," Roy adds.
"We now have a product we fully support and that fits in with the current packaging legislation developments. In France, for example, it's already illegal to package some products that weigh less than 1.5kg in plastic. That creates new challenges for our customers and packaging machine suppliers, and this packaging responds well to that."
According to the two men, NoW packaging's biggest challenge lies with changing people's mindsets. "After all, it is different, " says Roy. "It's paper instead of plastic, a window instead of full visibility and different communication method possibilities. Clients are up for it, but it's up to us to also get, for instance, our retail buyers onboard. We want to share our knowledge with the rest of the chain. You can use this packaging to communicate with shoppers; tell them how to store, prepare, and eat a product, or how to recycle the packaging."
Argos is not yet switching entirely to paper. "Our customers aren't all ready for that yet. We also offer things like sustainable options for plastic. I think it's ultimately about finding a paper/plastic balance. You have to find the most sustainable solution for both. And I think as a packaging producer and supplier, we must be able to provide that," Roy concludes.
Argos will be at the upcoming Fruit Logistica, where they will present their NoW paper packaging. You can find them in the Holland Fresh Group Hall at stand D-10.