I recently had the opportunity to visit the Expo 2015 Universal Exposition in Milan. This enormous event, with exhibits from 145 participating countries, is being held under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” While I was walking around, I was struck by a quote printed on the Irish pavilion walls: “We did not inherit this world from our parents, we borrowed it from our children. One day we will return it to them. When we do, it should be every bit as bountiful it was when we found it.”
I believe that each and every one of us has an obligation to honour this principle. Any parent, in moments of contemplation, may wonder how they can help to preserve and protect this fragile planet for generations to come. So often, industry is seen as a negative force, and technology as an agent of alienation. We have to counter this notion: we have to harness industry and technology to enhance our environment, not damage it.
Packaging is a two-edged sword. So much is said about how thrown-away packaging is damaging our countrysides and oceans, and how excess packaging is a drain on resources. We in the packaging industry know that littering is much more a problem of poor education (and criminal activity) than poor packaging, and we must counter any arguments that lead the public to think otherwise. I believe that PET technology has the means to tackle this particular problem head-on.
We all know that with the fall in the price of oil, as well as the growth in global capacities, PET is considerably less expensive than it was. Cheap oil has led some people to pay less attention to lightweighting, but that is a mistake. The need for lightweighting is just as important now as it ever was, and indeed probably more so. And SIPA plans to stay in the vanguard of efforts to reduce the weight of PET packaging. But we are also looking at new and better ways to increase the intrinsic usefulness and value of PET packaging.
In this edition of SIPA MAGAZINE, we are shining the light on new and specialty applications for PET, and how SIPA is actively seeking ways to cover these niches. We look at how numerous customers around the world are implementing SIPA technologies to create new and better consumer products. And we also consider new ideas being developed at SIPA to extend the use of PET packaging into new areas that we believe will provide new opportunities for our customers, improve the consumer experience, and create enhanced packaging solutions.
We consider the growing interest, for example, in exceptionally light PET collapsible bottles for HOD dispenser, and how SIPA is using its design expertise to help customers create new bottles that fold in on themselves as they empty, saving valuable space when their first life comes to an end. We also look at how improved understanding in materials flow has led to a new generation of molds that help customers increase process efficiency. We also look at the growing interest in producing carbonated soft drinks free of preservatives.
We need to work harder to create new containers that combine the best aesthetics with the highest functionality, and we need to find new ways to improve our manufacturing systems to minimize the environmental footprints of our processes and the products that we make . To coin a phrase that is somewhat more well-worn than the one I quoted earlier, “less is more.”
All along the value chain, there is a strong need to develop and invest in new, more cost-effective, more beneficial process technologies that will benefit consumers and, in the end, the environment.
Let us show our children, and our children’s children, that we can develop and use technology, not just for technology’s sake, but for the sake of all of us.
SIPA General Manager