Metal packaging holds tremendous potential as a sustainable packaging solution, according to NC Saha, former director of the Indian Institute of Packaging. To fully leverage its potential, all stakeholders in the industry must come together, address certain issues, and actively promote metal packaging, Saha said at a seminar organized by the Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA) in Mumbai on 7 June.
One of the key points emphasized by Saha is addressing the issue of thickness in metal packaging. He says the industry should focus on developing metal plates with lower tin coating and reduced thickness. By doing so, the industry can enhance the efficiency and sustainability of metal packaging.
“I believe metal packaging is one of the best forms of packaging provided we take care of some issues such as thickness. The industry should work on developing lower thickness metal plates with lower tin coating,” Saha said.
Saha highlighted the need for aggressive promotion and marketing to showcase the benefits offered by metal packaging. “The industry faces stiff competition from the plastic packaging sector, which is constantly innovating and researching,” he said. Saha believes that the metal packaging industry has a limited time frame to respond effectively and stay competitive.
Recyclability biggest advantage of metal packaging
One of the significant advantages of metal packaging is its recyclability. As the world seeks alternatives to single-use plastic packaging, metal has emerged as a promising option. Metal containers can be fully recycled, reducing waste and environmental impact. In addition, metal packaging offers high levels of hygiene, which have become increasingly important in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The inherent properties of metal, such as its ability to provide a 100% barrier to moisture, oxygen gases, and light, make it an attractive choice. Furthermore, metal packaging allows for excellent printability, enabling eye-catching designs and branding opportunities.
Saha, however, emphasizes that metal packaging is not without its challenges. The industry must address these challenges to fully exploit the potential of metal packaging. One crucial aspect is the reduction of tin coating thickness without compromising the quality of the packaging. “This improvement would be a game-changer for the industry,” he argued.
Saha identifies several other areas that require attention. Research and development (R&D) and innovation are essential to drive progress in metal packaging. Upgrading conversion technologies can enhance production efficiency and output. Design innovation plays a crucial role in attracting consumers and meeting their evolving needs.
Quality control measures must be strengthened to ensure compatibility between products and packaging. Implementing efficient collection mechanisms and establishing better testing facilities are also key focus areas for the industry.
By addressing these challenges and collaborating effectively, the metal packaging industry can unlock its full potential as a sustainable packaging solution. With its recyclability, durability, and superior barrier properties, metal packaging offers a compelling alternative to plastic packaging. It is up to industry stakeholders to actively work together to innovate, improve, and promote metal packaging, ensuring its continued relevance and success in a rapidly evolving market.