Read about how the TRAKRAP system is transforming retail ready packaging
War on Shrink - Are Retailers and Supermarkets missing a BIGGER opportunity?
Last week, Tesco announced that they are banishing all shrink wrap multi-packs as of the 2nd March 2020 in a bid to reduce the risk of 350 tonnes of plastic a year being irresponsibly disposed of. Heinz, Princes, Green Giant and John West will also be supporting this movement by ensuring their product too is free from unnecessary packaging and sold as multi-buys instead, a move that we at TrakRap wholeheartedly approve of.
On one hand, this is most definitely a step in the right direction, but on the other, we wonder are they and other retailers alike missing an even bigger opportunity to reduce packaging, eliminate the risk of plastic pollution and, above all reduce their carbon footprint….which we know is the main driver of climate change?
“Dave Lewis of Tesco is absolutely right to say “we are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco”, but he is failing to embrace new British
eco-innovations that can reduce plastic on secondary packaging by 70%, is hugely recyclable and backed up by a closed-loop system so it can never get out into
the environment. This is a much bigger opportunity than Coco-Cola alone or indeed all multi-packs put together.
" - Martin Leeming, CEO of TrakRap Ltd.
Unlike shrink-wrapped multi-packs, Secondary Packaging - the type that gets the product from the manufacturer to the shelf, but is removed before the consumer, is necessary. Not only does it protect the product in transit, but it provides a vital role in keeping costs down by making handling efficient from the manufacturer to the supermarket shelf. Not surprisingly, the volume of secondary packaging dwarfs that of multi-buys and runs into the billions of cases a year. The typical formats of secondary packaging will be readily recognisable to all of us, cardboard boxes and shrink-wrap. Both of these have their own environmental issues.
- Cardboard boxes have a high carbon footprint but decompose readily.
- Shrink-wrap plastic has a much lower carbon footprint but doesn’t decompose and can harm wildlife if it’s not disposed of responsibly.
So, we have a dilemma! Secondary packaging is necessary, so we can’t simply ban it like Tesco have with multi-buy packaging, and we can’t simply replace one with the other because we're just shifting the problem around, we need a more sustainable solution to this secondary packaging conundrum.
How do we make Secondary Packaging more sustainable then?
This is where eco-innovation comes in. The UK has always been proud of its ability to invent stuff but hasn’t always been great at getting it to market. Not surprisingly innovative UK companies are “Eco-Innovating”, but unless the big supermarkets start embracing new ways of doing things another opportunity will be lost, but this time the stakes are too high to fail.
TrakRap has developed, through eco-innovation and the very latest digital technology a new platform that has completely revolutionised secondary packaging by:
- Replacing shrink film with ultra-thin stretch film instantly removing up to 70% of plastic.
- Developing new cardboard box designs to reduce cardboard by up to 40%.
- Reducing the energy requirements of traditional shrink wrap systems by 90%
- Removing heat from the packing process, opening up a whole new world of opportunity for Fresh and Frozen Foods.
- Using less of everything…. so it costs less per pack without any need for Capex.
Of course, using less of everything is a huge step forward, but to be truly sustainable, all the remaining material has to be accounted for. Secondary packaging is uniquely placed to achieve this because it is removed in the Supermarket before it gets to the customer, so can be controlled in a “closed loop”. Cardboard is well established here, but how do we know which is good plastic that can be recycled many times, and which isn’t?
TrakRap’s unique GreenRap provides the first closed-loop recycling system and is a testament to their commitment to sustainability and lowering Greenhouse Gases. GreenRap is easy to identify at the point where in-store employees remove it, why? because it’s green! Store merchandisers can then place it in a GreenSac, a returnable, reusable Sack that once full is returned to TrakRap. Where we’ll take care of the rest. Simply place the GreenRap in the GreenSac and return to TrakRap!
Let’s not make the same mistake!
Let’s not make the same mistake with secondary packaging that has been made with the humble carrier bag. The plastic carrier bag was responsible for one-thousandth of the carbon footprint of the typical food shop carried home in it and was never invented to be a throw away item.
So, what did we do? We replaced the plastic carrier with a paper one that has at least a 5x bigger carbon footprint. We simply shifted the problem from one of plastic getting out into the environment, to one of climate change. What we should have done was put in place a plastic bag recovery and recycling system and encouraged the growth of a culture of reusing and recycling.
Climate change is driven by the Carbon Footprints of everything we consume. For this reason, we need to change the narrative and address how we use eco-innovation to reduce secondary packaging, whether it’s plastic or cardboard. Whilst reducing material and energy usage, all secondary packaging must also be recycled in a “closed-loop” so that it can be reused over and over again, saving finite resources and much more besides.
Get in touch with TrakRap today for a free, no obligation consultation.
Local Company Wins Innovation Award!
Skelmersdale based low carbon packaging company TrakRap has scooped its third award this year at the Processing, Packaging and Machinery Association (PPMA)’s annual awards.
The eighth PPMA Group Industry Awards, held at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham, recognises the finest examples of innovation, smart manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. TrakRap’s packaging machine, using the very latest digital technology to massively accelerate the speed at which eco-innovation is bought to market, delivers huge reductions in carbon footprints and, at the same time increases productivity, flexibility and safety in the packaging of aerosols, Ambient, Fresh and Frozen Foods for transit for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) manufacturers.
The TrakRap machine scooped the Innovative Packaging Machinery Award and was praised by judges for significantly improving industry safety by eliminating the use of heat tunnels from the packaging process, while also using around 90% less energy and 70% less plastic than traditional aerosol packaging systems. The TrakRap system using innovative ‘cold wrap’ technology instead, significantly improving industry safety standards by eliminating the use of heat.
With 103 nominations received across 12 industry categories, the number of awards submissions this year was exponentially high, exceeding last year’s previous record-breaking tally by 35%. It was also the first time that the judging panel had to introduce a three-stage voting process due to the volume and quality of the nominations received.
Martin Leeming, CEO of TrakRap, said: “We are delighted to have secured this recognition for our aerosol packaging machine, especially in a year when the competition is so high!
“We’re on a mission to massively reduce the cost and carbon footprint of packaging and to do this we used the most innovative technology to design and develop the aerosol machine, utilising a digital twin - a virtual replica of the physical machine – to enable us to test and refine the machine virtually before any physical building work began. The result is a system that protects the aerosol, safeguards the user and helps manufacturers and retailers to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.”
Prestigious Starpack Award Winners
We have been recognised with an award at the packaging industry’s prestigious Starpack Awards at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London.
TrakRap won a Silver Star in the Engineering Innovation category for its TrakRap Packaging System, a sustainable stretch wrapping system that produces 100% recyclable secondary packaging solutions for food and drink manufacturers supplying UK retailers and supermarkets and enables them to reduce their carbon footprint.
Starpack judges praised the system’s environmentally friendly credentials, which include the ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage by as much as 90% and materials usage by as much as 70%. They were also impressed by its fast operating speeds, which enable the system to wrap as many as 50 packs per minute – more than the industry average.
Martin Leeming, CEO of TrakRap, said: “Winning any award is special but we’re over the moon to have received an Engineering Innovation award from Starpack, which is among the most respected institutions in the packaging industry.
“Creating packaging solutions that have a lower impact on the environment is what drives us, so we’re especially pleased that the award recognises the low carbon benefits the TrakRap system delivers and further enhances our reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable secondary packaging in the UK.”
The Starpack awards are the UK’s premier awards scheme recognising innovation in packaging design and technology.
Food Processing Awards 2018
Food Processing Awards 2018 – TrakRap wins prestigious award.
We're delighted to announce that our new Milk Pack has won the Environmental & Sustainability category at this year's Food Processing Awards.
A specially designed, 100% recyclable, ultra-thin stretch film which can be used to wrap a wide range of milk bottle sizes, the film is applied using a stretch wrapping process which, unlike traditional shrink wrapping, eliminates the need for energy-intensive heat tunnels, meaning companies that use it can reduce their energy usage by as much as 95%, saving money, significantly reducing the amount of energy they use and making the Milk Pack the most sustainable secondary packaging solution on the market.
Packaging 4.0 presentation
We were invited to take part in an online webinar to present packaging 4.0 from an industry perspective. To see our presentation in brief please view PDF here
EM PHARMA continues with it’s shrink tunnel replacement programme
Following significant growth, EM Pharma has expanded its production capabilities by investing in two new TrakRap machines, with one featuring TrakRap's specialist technology that wraps one product completely uncollated, removing the need of corrugate trays.
The consumer healthcare manufacturer added the two new packaging systems after making significant energy and packing savings with its existing TrakRap models, which replaced shrink wrap heat tunnels in 2014.
Since installing the second phase of TrakRap machines, EM Pharma has achieved a 96% reduction in energy usage, a 73% reduction in carbon emissions and reduced its usage of cartonboard and film by 45% and 77% respectively,
The innovative TrakRap trays, developed with ReelVision, work with the film and allow for less cartonboard to be used, resulting in lighter weight, 100% recyclable retail ready packaging (RRP) for retailers.
Matthew Wood at EM Pharma, said: "Secondary packaging for the pharmaceutical sector presents a unique spread of challenges. Our partnership with TrakRap has enabled us to take a holistic view of secondary packaging, looking at the whole process – the film, machinery and tray, rather than each individual element. We've completely eliminated heat from the wrapping process, dramatically reducing our energy usage. The system allows us to be very responsive, and is easily configured to different pack sizes – eliminating film waste."
TRAKRAP Packaging Innovation Recognised at Industry Awards
Innovative secondary packaging company TRAKRAP has been shortlisted for an impressive three gongs in this year's UK Packaging Awards, the biggest and most prestigious awards ceremony for the packaging sector.
The UK Packaging Awards are unique in recognising every area of the packaging supply chain. The categories reward not only packaging quality but consistency, business strategy, financial performance and environmental impact.
TRAKRAP's innovative new packaging system, which is capable of minimising waste and reducing carbon emissions, has been shortlisted in three categories: Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year; Resource Efficient Pack of the Year and Retail Ready Pack of the Year.
Established as an alternative to shrink wrapping, TRAKRAP is a new and unique secondary packaging system, developed to help supermarkets' achieve their commitment to deliver lighter weight, lower cost and more energy efficient transit and retail ready packaging.
The TRAKRAP system eliminates the use of heat, as applied in shrink wrap systems, substituting it with seven microns thick C8 LLDPE - a 100% recyclable polymer film that is lighter and, when combined with innovative TrakRap corrugate tray designs, uses less cardboard making it suitable for ambient, fresh and frozen products. Flexibility on operating speeds has also proved to be a major advantage.
During an extensive trial with Dale Farm, part of the United Dairy Farmers Group, TRAKRAP replaced three shrink wrapping machines, used to package Yoghurts and Crème Fraiche ready for transport and distribution, with its own machines. During the 12 month trial, Dale Farm's film usage was reduced by 68%, achieving a CO2 reduction of 87 tonnes per annum and a lower cost per pack.
In addition, the company has reduced its pack wrapping energy usage by 95%. Typically, food industry heat tunnels are rated around 30Kw/hr and over a two shift system, 3 tunnels can burn up to 125Mw of electricity each year. The TRAKRAP system at Dale Farm uses virtually no energy when idle and 0.75 Kw/hr when flat out, using less than 3 Mw of electricity to do the same work.
The UK Packaging Awards were presented on Wednesday 13 November at the London Hilton on Park Lane, London.
TRAKRAP Wraps Up Deal with EM Pharma
We are delighted to announce that we have secured a contract with consumer healthcare manufacturer EM Pharma to replace its existing packaging system with a more sustainable solution.
We are currently in the process of replacing EM Pharma's existing shrink wrap heat tunnels with our new stretch wrapping packaging system which will deliver significant energy savings and lessen EM Pharma's environmental impact, without any capital expenditure.
The TrakRap system uses bespoke 100% recyclable polymer film to wrap products and bond the pack together. Removing the requirement for heat tunnels the system uses 90% less energy than traditional shrink wrapping– which also makes it more suitable for ambient, chilled, frozen or volatile products. Innovative TrakRap trays, developed with ReelVision, work with the film and allow for up to 40% less cartonboard to be used, resulting in lighter weight, 100% recyclable retail ready packaging (RRP) for retailers.
EM Pharma approached us looking for a packaging solution to reduce the company's carbon footprint and cut energy costs, whilst being flexible enough to cope with upscaled production.
Kevan Abley, Managing Director of EM Pharma said: "Secondary packaging for the pharmaceutical sector presents a unique spread of challenges. Constant new product development means that new lines can be added on a weekly basis and the breadth of our product range means that our machinery has to adapt to different pack sizes and configurations. Increasingly, major retailers are discouraging the use of RPET trays for sustainability reasons, so we had to find a method of packaging which protected the product, presented it on the shelf and ticked the sustainability box.
"Our heat tunnels consume huge amounts of energy and contribute to an uncomfortable working environment with soaring temperatures and noise. We were also very aware that we were wasting large amounts of film when wrapping smaller packs. After researching our options, we realised that the best approach was take a holistic view of secondary packaging, looking at the whole process – the film, machinery and tray, rather than each individual element. This led us to stretch film wrapping, which completely eliminates heat from the wrapping process. It allows us to be very responsive, and is easily configured to different pack sizes – eliminating film waste."
TRAKRAP Delivers Results in Dale Farm Trial
We have recently developed a new packaging innovation capable of minimising waste and reducing carbon emissions - whilst using the same amount of energy as the domestic kettle.
Established as an alternative to shrink wrapping, TrakRap is a new and unique secondary packaging system, developed to help supermarkets achieve their commitment to deliver lighter weight, lower cost and more energy efficient transit and retail ready packaging. It eliminates the use of heat, as applied in shrink wrap systems, substituting it with seven microns thick C8 LLDPE - a 100% recyclable polymer film that is lighter and, when combined with innovative TrakRap corrugate tray designs, uses less cardboard, making it suitable for ambient, fresh and frozen products. Flexibility on operating speeds has also proved to be a major advantage.
During an extensive trial with Dale Farm, part of the United Dairy Farmers Group, we replaced three shrink wrapping machines, used to package Yoghurts and Crème Fraiche ready for transport and distribution, with our own machines. During the 12 month trial, Dale Farm's film usage was reduced by a massive 68%, achieving a CO2 reduction of 87 tonnes per annum and a lower cost per pack. Impressive results!
In addition, the company has reduced its pack wrapping energy usage by 95%. Typically food industry heat tunnels are rated around 30Kw/hr and over a two shift system, 3 tunnels can burn up to 125Mw of electricity each year. The TrakRap system uses virtually no energy when idle and 2Kw/hr when operating at full speed, using only 5Mw of electricity to do the same work.
Cakes, Breads and Morning Goods Sector – Ambient Product
The objective set by our customer was simple, to deliver a lower cost, 25% more environmentally friendly, pack.
Through clever cardboard engineering we created a pack that is 40% lighter than the existing 0201 "Rip Top" Box. The new case uses E Flute corrugate instead of the existing B Flute to deliver a case that provides both the protection required for transit, and the RRP credentials required for the shelf and all delivered with the minimum amount of material possible
The integrity of the pack was completed using 3.2g of 7 micron stretch film wrapped around the product and case, using the revolutionary Trak-Rap System. No environmentally unfriendly heat tunnel was required and the use of completely transparent, 100% recyclable stretch wrap film ensured the product was easily identifiable by store warehouse colleagues and quick to prepare for the shelf.
We were delighted to exceed our customer's objectives and deliver a 40% reduction in both pack weight and carbon footprint.
Dairy products sector – chilled product
The objective was straight forward, to make a more environmentally friendly pack and remove the existing heat tunnels that are both environmentally unfriendly and cause high ambient temperatures particularly in the summer months.
The existing packaging consists of PET trays that are shrink wrapped with 40 micron film put through a heat tunnel process. Working with our customer we were able to replace the film with 100% recyclable, 7 micron stretch film, reducing the film weights by 68% and replace the heat tunnel with the Trak-Wrap system to reduce energy costs by 97%
The original tray has been retained to maintain the excellent presentation on the supermarket shelves but the new film is quicker to remove and dispose of improving replenishment efficiency.
We were delighted to meet our customer's objectives. For the film element of the pack we reduced the weight by 68% and the carbon footprint by 52%.
Frozen foods sector – frozen product
The objective was extremely demanding, to be the UK leader in secondary packaging carbon emissions and at a lower cost.
Through extensive research and trialling we were able to replace the 0201 box and tape with a lightweight e flute corrugate tray.
The tray and frozen product were then sent through the new Trak-Rap system and bound with 4g of 7 micron, 100 recyclable, stretch film. The specific challenge to overcome was the weight of the individual cases and the loads put on the lower cases in the Pallet stack, together with the Frozen environment.
Working together we were able to overcome these issues to produce a pack that is 35% lighter and reduces the carbon footprint of the secondary packaging by 25%, meeting our customer's objective.