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Award-winning laminate tube with 60% post-consumer resin (PCR) signals brands’ mounting interest in sustainable packaging solutions with increasing levels of PCR.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

March 6, 2018

4 Min Read
Berry Global’s PCR-laden laminate tubes growing in popularity and options

Berry Global (Evansville, IN) received a Gold Award for Best Sustainable Tube from the Tube Council North America at the 2017 Tube of the Year Awards in February 6.

The award-winning laminated tube for Fetch…for Pets’ licensed Burt’s Bees for dogs Paw and Nose Relieving Lotion is Berry’s first commercialized tube using post-consumer resin (PCR) yielding a maximum of between 57% and 62% PCR, excluding the closure, depending on the tube diameter and length. The award-winning Burt’s Bees tube specifically contains 60% PCR, excluding the closure.

“Since most tubes in the market contain 0% PCR, the introduction of a tube with up to 62% PCR helps brands make inroads on their sustainability goals” says Rebecca Vara, vice president of sales – personal care. 

Berry makes its own laminate sheet, allowing them to control the amount of PCR used in each layer of the sheet.  The new tube, introduced in 2017, was manufactured and printed completely by Berry.

Robert Flores, Berry Global’s director of sustainability, responded to PlasticsToday’s request for more details about the PCR tube, the market outlook and customer options.

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How important is PCR to brands and what’s the market outlook?

Berry: With so many marketers outlining 2020 and 2025 sustainability goals for packaging, the need to provide creative, sustainable packaging is growing.  As tubes grow in popularity as a format in North America, so too does the desire to provide a solutions to mitigate environmental impact.

What’s the significance of this particular introduction? 

Berry: This is Berry’s first commercialized PCR tube yielding a maximum of 60% PCR, excluding the closure. This is achieved by using up to 53% PCR in the tube sleeve and up to 75% PCR in the tube shoulder. 

We started out with a commercial product at 13% PCR in 2009, but over years of development we were able to increase the level resulting in the first tube to be released with this level of PCR.

We found this amount of PCR allows the tube to meet all the same quality, performance, and processing standards as non-PCR tubes.  We increased our maximum PCR percentage more than five times with this new material blend, and added PCR to the tube shoulder for the first time. 

What’s the maximum percent PCR for the foreseeable future?

Berry: We are still exploring and pushing the limits of PCR in laminate tubes and will continue pushing these limits until we find an ideal solution.  Combining this PCR tube with our 100% PCR non-dispense closure would bring the overall package PCR percentage close to 86%.

What on-tube messaging do brands use to promote this sustainability?

Berry: Some brands will specifically highlight the use of PCR in their artwork, but most brands don’t; we see this as an opportunity for brands to talk about this more.  As sustainability becomes more important to consumers, this will be a great tool for marketing to highlight the vision of their brands.

What options are there for customers?

Berry: Berry offers a wide range of tube sizes and decoration options to differentiate and elevate our customer’s brands. Decoration options include dry offset, silk screen, hot stamp and printed label for extruded tubes. Our laminate tube options include Soft Touch, 12-station flexo, silk screen, 360 degree decoration, foil and embossing/debossing.  Matte or gloss finishes are also available. A full line of complementary closures in a variety of colors, styles and finishes are available to top off any tube with style.

What product markets are appropriate for PCR tubes?

Berry: We feel that Personal Care is an ideal market for a PCR tube as consumers, and thus manufacturers, are focused on reducing their impact on the environment. Food, health care and household care are also good fits for PCR tubes.

Anything else to point out?

Berry: We strive to encourage plastic recycling, and we use PCR in an array of our product lines: injection molding, films, thermoforming, and blow molding.

As a global leader in packaging and protection solutions, we believe we have a responsibility to play a positive role in the communities and environments in which we operate and serve. From the way we operate our facilities, to the industry partnerships we have developed, to our community education programs, Berry is committed to designing our products with the environment in mind.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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