answer caret-left caret-right close-large facebook hamburger linkedin mail password question repeat-password thumb triangle twitter username youtube circle-right trending search checkmark pin alert

Sustainability and Recyclability of Flexible Materials for Primary Packaging

Sustainability and Recyclability of Flexible Materials for Primary Packaging

Innovative film and their relations to flow pack machines

The perception of the Consumers has drastically changed in the last years. Plastic packaging yesterday seen as a friend to protect the food and reduce food waste, nowadays is seen as an enemy for its environmental impact.

The emotional approach to the matter, mostly handled through the Social Media, is quite strong and it drives towards an even stronger request of a PLASTIC FREE WORD.

The very strong pressure from the Consumers on all players of the Supplying Chain (from the GDO, through the Packaging materials Producers and Converters till the Wrapping Machines Manufacturers) is forcing them to search solutions where traditional plastic can be replaced, reduced or at least made recyclable.

However, it must not be forgotten that the main objective of food packaging is the protection and preservation of the product. Plastic is definitely one of the best materials to obtain the desired results in terms of “shelf live”. Presently about 1/3 of produced human food gets lost or wasted (FAO digital report 2019). Bad packaging is one of the main reasons.


It is unthinkable to renounce to plastic at least in PRIMARY PACKAGING; but there is no doubt that it can however be reduced, recycled and in particular situations, replaced with paper and other biodegradable films.

All companies involved in packaging must consider and take in serious consideration the challenge to protect and preserve food offering in the meantime solutions to reduce the Ambiental impact. 

Among them, certainly, Cavanna - a leading worldwide manufacturer of flowrapping and cartoning plants - is one of the more active and attentive in such issues.

The Cavanna made lines produce every minute an average of 1.2 million of flowpacks and therefore Cavanna has a kind of moral obligation and responsibility to be involved and to develop solutions to dispose such huge amount of packs.

To do so, Cavanna has created a new Business Unit called TCO CONSULTING with the aim of dealing with the changes in wrapping materials following the GREEN ECONOMY topic. One of the tasks of the new TCO CONSULTING structure is precisely to create a network of contacts able to find innovative wrapping materials and bring them to Company R&D Division to be practically tested in Laboratory to evaluate the performances of the machines in terms of speed and seal quality.

Fig 2

The Consumers pressure and the Official Directive regarding circular economy has brought to two main areas of intervention on primary flexible packaging.



RECYCLABILITY is the path chosen by Europe and USA to tackle the problem. The above will bring important changes to the materials that must be as pure as possible (and this means not polluted by other plastic families) to promote separation and recycling.

What was used until yesterday may no longer be used by tomorrow:

  • The mono-materials (PE only, OPP only) will grow at the disadvantage of the typical multi-materials structures such (laminated PET + OPP, PA + PE, etc….)
  • Cold sealing is expected to be replaced and reduced 
  • The triple ALUs structures, typical of the pharmaceutical and the coffee industry, will no longer be acceptable
  • Paper laminated with renewable bioplastics will considerably increase

As one of the leading machine manufacturers Cavanna could not be caught unprepared for these changes which could lead to important changes even in crucial parts of the machine.

Innovative mono-materials are expected to influence machine performance in two areas:

  • Sealing: innovative mono-materials are generally more sensible to temperature than previous complexed films. They need more precise temperature intervals (smaller working windows).
  • Sliding: very often these films have different Coefficient of Friction (C.O.F.) and they might require the use of special sliding coatings in dedicated machine areas. 


They are plastic materials that could be biodegradable, bio-based or with both characteristics (European bioplastic definition)

With the name Biodegradable we mean a material subject to microbial degradation while Compostable is a biodegradable material under certain precise conditions of time, temperature and humidity.  In terms of volume they represent nowadays around 0,5 % of total plastic packaging.

global production capacities of bioplastics 2018

cannva fig 4

Biofilm are coming from renewable source and are produced by polymerization of natural bio-monomers mainly from starch and/or cellulose. Most common families are: PLA (Polylactic Acid) - Starch Based and Cellulose Based with a great variety of options and grades. Normally cannot be used as mono-film in the flowpack machines and need to be laminated with film that offer thermic stability and anti-sticking properties. Paper, a natural biopolymer is often chosen to be laminated with other biopolymers and is ideal for its biodegradable characteristics and thermal stability.

All bio-film families have few main points in common:

  • Are Biodegradable and Compostable
  • Are cost effective: 3-4 times more expensive than plastic materials
  • Bring to and increased total thickness of the film itself
  • Have generally poor barrier to moisture and oxygen
  • Have reduced production volumes
  • Are thermally less stable

From machine performance point of view the bio-film families will receive even more attention than the mono-material for R-Plastics. Sealing areas and slides surfaces are in processing to be re-studied and modified to suits to the characteristics on these innovative films. 

Cavanna final goal and target is to present to the market a GREEN KIT made by few sensible parts and adaptable to existing machines to challenge the working performance of the innovative film without compromises in speed and seal quality of the pack.

Related Articles:

How to Find the Optimal Packaging for Your Product
The packaging is one of the largest cost factors. Developing the optimal combination of pack style and material is a challenge.

Total Cost of Ownership on Packaging Machinery
What is the best way to evaluate different suppliers with low or high price differences?

Steps to Determining Packaging
How to make a biscuit packaging? They are a large number of package types, and they are many important things to determine such as materials used to package biscuits. 

Biscuit Packaging: Last but not Least
Trends in food packaging. Modern trends impact food and cookies design look. Learn about the packaging of the cookie brand.

Portion Packs – Small but Mighty
Consumers favor smaller convenience packs when snacking on-the-go or saving favorite treats for later

Packaging biscuits and cookies in a pack is much more than simply conveying product safely and conveniently to the consumer.

Importance of a Good Packaging Design
Good packaging design even sets the expectation for the price point of your product. We make assumptions on a product’s price point.

TechTalks Discussion

The product packed in aluminum foil went rancid
Cookies that have sesame and wheat germ are packed in aluminum foil and went rancid in just 3-4 months. any solutions towards this? should I introduce nitrogen packaging or there some technique to treat these ingredients?

Total Cost of Ownership and Net Present Value
I came across the recent article on Total Cost of Ownership on packaging machinery, very interesting article indeed, however, it did not show clearly how you can evaluate between two suppliers which one has the best option given a more complex real-life situation?

Biscuit Packaging Automations
What kind of automation can be done in the biscuit packaging section right from the oven till the end of the line (packaging)?

Regarding the shelflife
But the biscuits are getting soft after a month of packaging. Though its life is 6-8 months. So is there any chemical I can use to increase its shelf life?

Packaging machines for biscuits
Which machines are the best packaging machines for biscuit packaging keeping in view less workers and machine automatization?

Material combination of Flexible laminated films for biscuit packaging
How can we determine the correct material combination of laminates ( Type of the laminates & thickness of the layers) are being supplied by the suppliers?

Eg : 20 micron BOPP + 25 micron MCPP 

Want to know more?
Ask industry experts in Biscuit People TechTalks section.
Read more from Technology
Read all
Creating High Protein Bakery Products That Taste Great
Creating High Protein Bakery Products That Taste Great
In order to fulfil their need for indulgent moments and also meet their health and wellness needs, consumers are seeking out Better-for-You products....
Is Two Better Than One?
Is Two Better Than One?
.This article discusses the differences between single-stage and twin rotary cutters for producing rotary cut products. While the single-stage cutter...
RBS Installs Electric Oven at Innovation Center
RBS Installs Electric Oven at Innovation Center
Reading Bakery Systems (RBS), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of snack production systems, now has their sustainable-design electric-powered...
Looks like you don’t have a subscription to do that. Want to upgrade?
Upgrade subscription