Detergent packaging market trends
The increasing consumer awareness of eco-responsibility, legal regulations related to the management of packaging and packaging waste, as well as the emphasis on the implementation of short-run production costs are the main prerequisites for the shaping of trends in detergent packaging.
Consequently, manufacturers of packaging and labels need to meet the requirements for effective, efficient and eco-friendly labelling of products while maintaining the properties and functions that the packaging should fulfil.
Eco style detergent?
Guidelines of the European Commission on plastic packaging, as well as the contractual rules for the design of eco-packaging and packaging systems, indicate that in this area it is necessary to:
- select the materials and structural forms of packaging in such a way that they do not constitute an obstacle to recycling
- use a limited amount of packaging materials i.e. PE, PP, PET, PS, PVC, also in the household chemistry industry
- avoid excessive decoration
- avoid full colouring and dark colours
- use raw materials to achieve closed-loop recycling
- take into account the possibility of using recycled materials
- take into account available collection and sorting systems, and recycling technologies.
These and other conditions make manufacturers of household chemicals more willing and active to seek more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.
PET bottles with a mixture of recycled materials are now one of the most popular ways to replace "standard" packaging with more eco-friendly one (especially when it comes to marketing communication). We should remember, however, that the abandonment of standard PET also needs to be combined with a change in the raw material of the product label.
Eco-friendly labeling solutions
Label manufacturers, meeting the expectations of detergent manufacturers, add to their offers some label materials that fit into the idea of creating environmentally friendly packaging. These include, among others, self-adhesive materials:
- supporting the reuse of packaging
- supporting recycling
- with recycled content
- from renewable sources.
Materials supporting reuse of packaging are the ones that maximise the recyclability of glass packaging, thus enabling easy removal of the label during the recycling process and reuse of the packaging. Reduced (reduced weight) materials include solutions to increase raw material efficiency without affecting the appearance and speed of label application. Reduced solutions allow for rolling twice as many labels while increasing the roll diameter by only 10%.
Label materials supporting the recycling of packaging can be divided into two categories: the first ones maximise the possibility of obtaining a clean glass cullet or PET regranulate, the latter allow easy and traceless removal of the label during the recycling process.
Label solutions with a high content of recycled material are very popular among household chemicals manufacturers. Their main advantage and production target is the fact that they significantly reduce oil, water and energy consumption and play a key role in circular economy. It is worth noting that the labels produced on self-adhesive materials containing recycled elements emphasise the environmental aspect of the labelled product with their appearance. Among the most frequently used solutions in this respect, the following should be mentioned:
- polypropylene films, in which the recycled material accounts for about 20% of the total product,
- polyethylene films with 30% of recycled bottle regranulate,
- paper materials (less commonly used) with organic residues from citrus fruit, grapes or barley or with recycled fibres, offered in combination with recycled back paper.
When considering renewable label materials, it is worth mentioning that they eliminate or significantly reduce the negative impact of packaging on the environment; they substantially decrease the use of fossil fuels and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions through the use of plant biomass. The content of organic raw material in such materials usually amounts to 80% to 93%. Renewable label materials are usually made from sugarcane ethanol, waste from marble extraction and cutting, with the addition of hemp, flax or cotton fibres.
There are also solutions that aim at rapid biodegradation (under industrial composting conditions). One of such solutions is, for instance, the use of PLA films, produced from lactic acid by fermentation of corn sugar.
The choice of appropriate label material should always go "hand in hand" with the choice of unit packaging. Consistency of the materials used allows for making full use of packaging recycling possibilities.
Less is more
Detergent manufacturers use more and more often the option of creating several, several dozen or dozens of versions of a single product in order to adapt to a specific target group, the specific requirements or consumer preferences. Some time ago, dishwashing liquid was supposed to simply wash away fat effectively; today, it also nourishes the hands, gives shine, has the smell of orange, pomegranate, lily of the valley or green tea. These conditions have led to a change in the way unit packaging and adhesive labels are delivered. Serial production is replaced by the so-called "just in time" production, that is, the execution of low-cost orders (or combined orders, i.e. those in which many patterns appear for one product) in a relatively short time. More and more often, manufacturers of detergents want to perform orders for a smaller, one-off number of labels and packages, while performing them in the "on demand" option at the same time. Such a scheme of action is possible mainly due to the development of digital printing, which makes attractive and cost-effective printing labels and packaging possible.
Among the numerous emerging trends related to making packaging for the household chemicals industry, eco-responsibility and the production of labels and packaging "just in time" seem to be the ones whose ideas and assumptions will remain with us for a long time. This is because they are conditioned both by the specifics of consumer behaviour and (perhaps above all) by law.