Sidel, the leading global provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging, has announced a new initiative aimed at reducing the amount of PET used in beverage bottles worldwide, thereby helping producers to save money and improve their environmental footprint at the same time. To allow beverage producers and bottlers to calculate for themselves what savings could be achieved based on their own production parameters, Sidel has introduced an online PET savings calculator.
"The benefits of lightweighting PET bottles are well known in the beverage industry. However many producers are still not taking advantage of innovative new bottle designs that could help them make substantial cost savings," says Vincent Le Guen, Vice President of Packaging at Sidel. "According to our calculations there remains a great opportunity for the beverage industry to reduce raw material usage, save costs and improve environmental footprints by adopting new bottle designs, especially for water and carbonated soft drinks (CSD). Furthermore, these modern designs are often only subtle appearance variations of existing designs that can easily be applied to existing production lines with no difference to the end consumer experience."
Vincent heads a team that delivers a number of packaging services to Sidel customers worldwide, including packaging and preform design, packaging optimisation, packaging qualification for industrial production, and liquid-package interaction analysis. In the past 18 months the team has launched several bottle design innovations, including its RightWeight™ bottle concept, which can be applied across categories, and its range of Sidel StarLite™ bottle bases for water and CSD. RightWeight is the proprietary bottle design process that Sidel uses to ensure a bottle is both light while also strong enough to survive global supply chains, look good at the point of sale and offer a great consumer experience.
Modern bottle designs can lead to substantial savings for beverage producers worldwide. To make it as easy as possible to see the actual savings that can be achieved, Sidel has now launched a PET savings calculator, available at www.sidel.com/PET-savings-calculator. This enables water and CSD producers to easily calculate how much they could save by utilising a Sidel StarLite base and a shorter neck. The calculator allows producers to enter their current production conditions for water or CSD products, such as current bottle neck format, raw material costs, annual production hours and blower speed etc. for a range of bottle formats. It then immediately calculates how much money could be saved per line by simply adapting the bottle design to use the Sidel StarLite base and shorter neck.
According to Sidel data, the average line can save between 250,000 euros and 850,000 euros, with faster lines or larger bottle formats capable of saving even more. This leads to an approximate average saving per bottle of up to 0.004 euros per 0.5 litre bottle or 0.006 euros per 2 litre bottle for still water, and 0.004 euros per 0.5 litre bottle or 0.005 euros per 2 litre bottle for CSD.
According to Euromonitor forecasts for 2014-2018, released in March 2014, 216 billion PET bottles for still water and 116 billion PET bottles for CSD will have been produced by the end of the year. Assuming a minimum saving of 0.004 euros for all those bottles, the beverage industry as a whole could save 864 million euros for water and 464 million euros for CSD.
In total this equates to over 1.3 billion euros potential cost savings for the beverage industry from water and CSD alone. This does not include other categories such as juices, liquid dairy products and even beer. Sidel launched an innovative beer bottle earlier this year suitable for all types of beer, including pasteurised, yet weighs only 28 grams, which is up to 86% less than an average equivalent glass bottle, according to Sidel data.
Vincent continues - "We did the calculation exercise to show the potential that RightWeighting provides globally. However, we also recognised the value of producers being able to find out the specific savings that they can achieve and have therefore introduced the packaging calculator to enable them to do so."
Cost savings and a great consumer experience
"When it comes to lightweighting, a balance must always be reached between cost savings and desired end consumer experience," says Vincent. "We have seen in the past some examples where lightweighting has perhaps been too extreme, and risked damaging the brand. That is why at Sidel we prefer to focus on RightWeighting, which is the optimum weight and PET distribution in the bottle to achieve both cost savings and a high-performing bottle. A RightWeighting approach therefore is critical to unlocking value while protecting beverage brands."
To achieve this optimum balance between reducing weight and ensuring an excellent consumer experience requires extensive knowledge and experience, along with the capabilities and facilities, to take a product from concept to consumer. Sidel employs more than 300 packaging experts, engineers and designers at its five packaging centres and four scientific laboratories worldwide. The company also works extensively in partnership programmes with universities and other laboratories globally.
Through its packaging qualification services, Sidel uses virtual bottle modelling to evaluate bottle stability, rigidity and quality - all important elements in achieving the RightWeight approach to bottle design. Sidel's database of over 70,000 bottle drawings, with some 8,000 new bottle designs and drawings produced every year, demonstrates the wide-ranging experience that the company can bring to any bottle design initiative, turning initial concepts into an industrial reality.
Reducing waste across the supply chain
The substantial decrease in PET bottle weight over more than three decades is principally due to technology developments in the areas of PET resin, preforms, bottle design and production equipment, especially on the blower. Sidel has also worked with other industry players and associations to introduce new shorter neck standards. Sidel labellers, manufactured in the company's production facilities in Mantova, northern Italy, are also capable of applying labels that are as thin as just 18 microns, while still being clear and engaging for consumers.
"The end result of such initiatives is to further reduce raw material use in modern PET bottles, which brings environmental benefits, lowers costs and reduces waste, while still providing functional and attractive packages," adds Vincent.
To find out more please visit www.sidel.com/PET-savings-calculator.