New technology helps reduce the amount of PET in Mrs. Dash packaging

The Mrs. Dash bottles have undergone quite a makeover, but you might not notice it right away.

A new packaging technology reduced the weight of a Mrs. Dash bottle by more than 25 percent. This in turn saves the brand B&G Foods, the owner of Mrs. Dash, an excess of 200,000 pounds of PET resin, along with a double-digit profit percentage.

Meredith-Springfield Associates (Ludlow, MA), a plastics manufacturer specializing in extrusion blowmolding and injection stretch blow molding, pioneered the use of this new technology to manufacture this type of sustainable plastic packaging.

"We look at a package and we think outside the box - we don't take the existing package and just replicate it," Mel O'Leary, president and CEO of Meredith-Springfield, told PlasticsToday. "This package has been around 15 to 20 years and we didn't want to mess with its legacy, but we did feel that it was overweight and to drop that weight would provide a savings opportunity for the brand."

In fact, O'Leary believes that manufacturers seeking more sustainable plastic packaging should look for innovative ways to reduce PET. Meredith-Springfield constructed pilot molds and conducted design experiments with the objective to reduce the amount of PET used in the creation of Mrs. Dash packaging.

"For Mrs. Dash, we are using the most advanced plastic molding technology to alter the amount of plastic and place PET only where it most impacts package performance," he said. "In reducing the weight, we carefully engineered the placement of remaining mass of plastic to go into the areas of the bottle which would maximize top-loading ability."

The new extrusion blowmolding machine produces more than 100,000 Mrs. Dash bottles in each 24-hour production period and is capable of delivering more than 35 million units per year. The machine is a one-step process for making specialty PET bottles versus a two-step process used to make carbonated beverage bottles. Beverage bottles typically require multiple steps first, a "perform" is molded in an injection molding machine and then transferred to a reheat-stretch machine.

"Our technology is the most energy-efficient method available," O'Leary said. "It goes from plastic pellets to finished bottles on one machine." 

B&G Foods rarely works with just one packaging supplier on a project, according to O'Leary. However, since the usage of the Meredith-Springfield's R&D on the entire redesign resulted in a significant cost-savings for B&G Foods, the company rethought that mindset. 

"We never single source," said Director of Global Procurement of B&G Foods Marty Schoch. "We always look at our alternatives and benchmark our current suppliers. Meredith-Springfield's customer service, exceptionally low defect level and willingness to conduct research and development set them apart from the competition."

O'Leary said that going above and beyond for the customer always pays off in the end.

"I think if molders would be more proactive with customers and try to add more value to customers, they would find it creates improved relations for the better and longer term," he said. "We think with this technology, we have hit a homerun and we're trying to extend that that type of expertise and program to other existing clients." 

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