Earlier this year, SIPA published its third Sustainability Report, detailing the company’s progress on its sustainability path and future prospects. SIPA’s imperative is to supply sustainable packaging solutions, to develop systems that can reduce the consumption of both resin and energy, and adhere to the principles of the circular economy.
SIPA is committed to helping its customers produce high-performance, lightweight containers that are as easy to recycle as possible, using the most energy-efficient technologies possible, working with up to 100% recycled PET.
On the energy front, SIPA is developing a trajectory to 2025-2035 to make it progressively independent from fossil fuels for all its energy needs. And that is not all. The Group has already launched projects with partners and suppliers to share and apply the same principles of sustainability, so as to act decisively on indirect non-energy emissions (what is known as Scope 3 under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol).
Investments in energy efficiency and the purchase of electricity with guaranteed origin from renewable sources for its plant in Vittorio Veneto, Italy, have already led to substantial reductions in CO2-equivalent emissions.
IMPROVING SUSTAINABILITY RATINGS
SIPA is currently participating in the EcoVadis sustainability ratings project. Actions necessary to improve its rating during 2022 are ongoing.
Total CO2-equivalent emissions from SIPA decreased significantly (-74%) in 2021, compared to 2020, thanks to the acquisition of electricity certified as produced 100% from renewable sources. SIPA emissions depend to a large extent on its electricity consumption (Scope 2). This is why the company has chosen to invest significantly in energy efficiency projects and in the purchase of energy with certificate of origin.
Introduction of energy efficiency measures produced an 11% decrease in CO2-equivalent emissions expressed as the ratio of tonnes of CO2-equivalent related to electricity consumption/million revenue. In SIPA production plants and warehouses, replacement of traditional lighting with LED lighting has created energy savings of 53%. Paper consumption fell 36%, due to document digitalization.
CLOSING THE LOOP
SIPA has always been at the forefront in the development of sustainable solutions for the production of plastic packaging with the continuous introduction of innovations aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of its machines and packaging products. The company has a special commitment to the design and manufacture machines for the production of containers that use 100% recycled PET, starting from PET granules with traditional technologies or bottle flakes washed in one production plant; this is the XTREME Renew concept, which uses fewer raw materials (-10%), saves energy (-30%), and reduces CO2 emissions (-79%) compared to the production of containers with virgin material.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE PET PACKAGING
SIPA’s approach to designing PET containers is holistic: factors such as the low weight of the PET container, high performance, attractive and user-friendly aesthetics are considered, and these factors are adapted to the principles of circular economy. SIPA designers are involved in the development of more than 3000 new containers every year. The three Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - are constant principles in all these projects. Last year, SIPA set up the AWArPET brand, which represents an environmentally friendly approach to the design and production of PET packaging.
The company strictly follows the guidelines of Recyclass, Design for Recycling, established by the EPBP, the European PET bottle platform. This voluntary initiative provides guidelines for designing PET bottles optimized for recycling, evaluates packaging solutions and technologies, and helps understand the effects on recycling processes.
SIPA uses the Green Plastic Factor, or GPF, to show how light a bottle is compared to what it contains. GPF is the ratio between the volume of the container’s content, in milliliters, and the weight of the empty container in grams. For a collapsible 10-liter bottle, the GPF is about 125, while for a 500 ml single-use bottle it is about 55. This clearly shows the high level of sustainability of large-format bottles, for which SIPA has developed specific machinery.
DESIGN FOR RECYCLING AND FOR PERFORMANCE
For SIPA, the design for container recycling includes everything: from the quantity of raw material required (which must be reduced as much as possible while maintaining the container’s performance) to the type of label, cap, any additives to be added in order to increase product shelf-life, the dimensions of the container itself. Not only primary packaging but secondary packaging too must be designed to be easily recyclable. Sustainable packaging must also keep contents in the best condition possible, for the longest time possible – and be designed to optimize storage and transport.
REDUCTION OF CONSUMPTION
SIPA pays maximum attention to producing items easily and efficiently using recycled materials, with solutions that promote safety, process consistency and longer life of the production plant. We are constantly committed to reducing the impact in every step of the production cycle, from weight reduction to saving energy and raw material. A key point is the reduction of machine consumption. Several solutions have been developed to reduce the consumption of energy during production of preforms, as well as in the phase of heating the preforms in ovens prior to blowing bottles. Solutions for reducing consumption or reusing compressed air have been developed.
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION
In 2021, SIPA decided to undertake a certification of its environmental management system in accordance with the ISO 14001:2015 standard. The preparation phase of the reference documents and procedures was completed during the year. Training for internal staff, the internal system audit and the certification body’s audit are planned to be carried out by July 2022.
SIPA last year implemented a system to monitor the consumption of electricity and is currently dividing energy-related activities in accordance with ISO 50001, a process that will take place without the objective of achieving certification. In terms of energy aspects, SIPA focused on the following objectives: introduction of the new role of Energy Manager; controls on the compressed air distribution system in order to minimize losses; application of specific controls on the efficiency of boilers; LED lights in production units and timer-equipped lights; purchase of 100% certified green energy from January 2021; and investigation of solutions or proposals for self-generation of energy.