We attended the National Conference on New Generation Polymeric Barrier Material at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on 10 March 2023 organized by the Foundation for Innovative Packaging and Sustainability. Sponsored by Kuraray, the manufacturers of EVOH branded as EVAL, it was a full-fledged seminar covering the need for sustainability, the challenges for flexible packaging, and particularly the EVAL solution. Government and environment organization officials, researchers, polymer manufacturers, brand owners, and converters concerned convened at this technical event that went into the specifications of EVAL needed for applications based on their barrier needs.
Laminate structures that use single polymers such as PE can use an EVOH layer for each application determined by the aggressiveness of the product in reaction to light, oxygen, and moisture and the supply chain conditions and anticipated shelf-life requirement. When brand owners at the seminar brought up the issue of the cost of EVAL, the counterargument by the Kuraray experts and its Indian distributor was that only a small amount of EVOH (in many cases just 2% to 3%) can provide the barrier properties needed in most if not all applications. Hence, for a nominal cost, both the security of the product and the recyclability of the packaging is practically enabled. The European CEFLEX rules, for instance, require less than 5% use of any material or contaminants for the structure to be considered monomaterial recyclable compliant.
The extensive technical presentation and discussion went quite deeply into the use cases and the brand owners present, and especially the panelists from GSK and DS Group were encouraged to comment. However, although the use of EVOH seems like an obvious choice for creating the required barrier properties in packaging structures, especially after absorbing the technical knowhow of the seminar, the brand owners were still hesitant to commit to these structures, pointing to EVOH prices and the possibility of its scarcity from a single supplier.
Respack in Mumbai – 8 and 9 June 2023
Nevertheless, it was an interesting seminar with great technical learning and an audience that gathered some of the knowledgeable resources in the Delhi-NCR. FIPS is planning its next event, Respack 2023, in Mumbai on 8 and 9 June 2023, at the Lalit Hotel near the Mumbai International Hotel. The event is to discuss optimal design, innovative materials, and sustainable technologies with the first day for the responsible packaging of food and beverages, and the second for the responsible packaging of health, personal care, and industrial products.