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close this bookThe Packaging of Fruit Juice and Non-Carbonated Fruit Drinks (CDI, 1998, 87 p.)
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View the documentGLOSSARY
View the documentForeword
View the documentI. INTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contentsIII. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PACKAGING
Open this folder and view contentsANNEXES
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For a long time, the easy solution consisted of rejecting the end-life products directly into the natural environment (rivers, oceans, atmosphere...) or, indirectly, into a controlled or uncontrolled garbage dump, with or without preliminary incineration. Development, demography and urbanisation have multiplied the volume of waste, reduced the available space and made «modern» Man conscious that this «easy way out» was not compatible with his own survival.

Valorising waste has become a vital necessity, as it affects not only the developed countries but also all of Africa.

In Europe, laws about «waste elimination» have been set up by each member country as well as a «classification of the institutions for the protection of the environment».

In Africa, this legislation is still embryonic, but every citizen is now conscious of the importance of the protection of his environment.

Among the most visible wastes, food packaging represents an important part; for any new drink packaging project, the environmental aspect must be taken into consideration, particularly as it is becoming more and more a way of saving money for the industrialist.

The Entrepreneur is always preoccupied by the production costs of his products; recently, we have witnessed a significant evolution of packaging with, at the same time, an improvement in environmental protection in terms of:

Decreased use at the source by lightening of the product: the weight of the steel drink can decreased by 7.1 % from 1980 to 1992, then 33% from 1992 to 1995 (the can's body weight went down from 27 gr. to 10 gr. in 3 years!)(3).

Concerning the lightness of the packaging, the first place is taken by the plastic materials; this lightness explains why plastic materials are so efficient in ecological terms:

· During production: a 56% saving in oil can be made by replacing glass bottles with plastic bottles.

· During transport: a further 39% saving in oil can be made by using plastic bottles(4).

Improvement in process operations: in order to decrease the specific consumption of materials, energy and water. During the manufacturing of monomers, water discharge has been divided by 10, even 20 in certain units over the last 10 years. Between 1970 and 1990, improvements in the polymerisation of plastics have reduced energy consumption by a factor of 2 or 3(4).

Re-utilisation of packaging: this solution is the oldest one, very often developed in Africa (beer bottles); the reality is in fact more complicated. When conducting the analysis of the life cycle, for example, between a re-used glass bottle and a lost plastic bottle, it is noticeable that the plastic packaging is less expensive and pollutes less. Comparisons between lost glass and returnable glass have also shown that the returnable system is acceptable only:

· for distances less than 150 km
· for less than 15 rotations

Outside these limits, the eco-balances show that consumption of cleaning and rinsing products, energy use and the associated pollution for returnable bottles is higher than the lighter one-way use bottles.

But, here as anywhere else, for each case a comparative analysis must be carried out if we want to be sure we have made the right choice both in economical and ecological terms.

On the other hand, in terms of over-packaging, the re-utilisation of plastic crates has widely surpassed the utilisation of simple cartons (soft-drinks, beer, dairy products, etc..) in all African countries.

The «end-of-life» value of the packaging materials can nowadays be considered in two ways:

Recycling: the term «partially recycled» written on the packaging means that it contains recycled materials; the term «recyclable» means that «it can be recycled».

It is very easy to recycle waste from manufacturing, (i.e. re-utilisation of waste from plastic bottle or film manufacturing), but it is difficult to recycle packaging material after its utilisation in the distribution circuit; a network composed of four stages must be set up for this recycling procedure:

· collection
· preparation (sorting, crushing, cleaning, drying, packaging)
· regeneration into basic material (plastic granules, metallic bars, etc..)
· processing

Moreover, some packaging materials are already composed of many other materials (i.e. plastic, metal and carton for the brick); these materials can contaminate one another and, consequently, become more difficult to recycle.

Packaging material can also be recycled for secondary use (i.e. manufacturing of textile fibres from plastic bottles). Industry in the developed countries is investing heavily in order to set up new technologies to better enhance the value of this waste. This represents a growing market; the prices for packaging material waste are revised each month according to accurate technical specifications; for example, HDPE can be differentiated as followed (rate May 96 in pence/kg)(5):

a. Industrial production scraps:

· coloured HDPE

17.5 to 21.9 p.

· natural HDP

26.2 to 32.9 p.

b. Post-consumer origin:

· coloured HDPE hollow bodie

0.00 to 8.75 p.

· HDPE crates

26.2 to 30.6 p.

· Natural transparent shrink wrapping film

8.75 to 15.3 p.

· Coloured shrink wrapping film

6.6 to 8.75 p.

· Natural transparent film > 70 microns

8.75 to 15.4 p.

· Natural transparent film < 70 microns

6.6 to 11 p.

· Mixed film

2.1 to 4.4 p.

Even if it is primarily the private sector which is interested in this new market, recycling depends mainly on the amount which is going to be invested by the company... and we know that there are other priorities in Africa(6).

Energy value: except for glass and metal, all packaging materials can be burned. The calorific value of polyethylene (46 kJ/kg) is higher than that of fuel-oil (44 kJ/kg). The energy released by combustion of waste can be used either for steam production or for electricity production; the simpler solution is cogeneration of these fluids which guarantees their full utilisation, at any season.

Incineration with energy recovery saves the equivalent of fuel-oil every year in France of which half is from the plastic packaging materials(4).

Once more, the difficulty in Africa is the capital investment for incinerators by local authorities, especially because such incinerators must be equipped with energy recovery installations and smoke filters in order to limit acid discharge (from PVC).

The simpler formula is consequently, when there is no municipal incinerator, to burn the refuse directly in the garbage dump. The proportion of plastic materials in household refuse, between 7 and 10% of the weight, is useful, even essential, for good combustion. Due care should be taken, however, with plastics which emit hydrochloric (PVC).

In brief and in terms of problems of refuse and the environment, the emphasis is on a four-pronged approach:

Þ Minimise the amount of material initially used.

Þ Recycle component materials

Þ Recover the energy content of paper and plastic by incineration in suitably designed energy-recovery plants.

Þ Finally, dispose of the residue in hygienic and safe conditions.

In order to measure the impact of packaging on the environment, industrialists are increasingly conducting eco-balance controls; these analyses integrate all the parameters, from the supplier at the first level (the raw goods) up to the end of the product's life. Consequently, the following are analysed:

· stocks of non-renewable energetic resources (coal, gas, oil, etc.)
· mineral raw materials
· water consumption
· green-house effect
· stratospheric ozone destruction
· photochemical ozone development
· atmospheric acidification
· water eutrophisation
· limit of human toxicity in terms of air and water
· discharge capacity

Taking into consideration the above mentioned elements, it is possible to classify some fruit juice packaging materials in the following way: (from the best to the worst)

1. the PE pouch
2. the simple gable-top carton box
3. the PE & PET bottle
4. the «cartocan»
5. the PVC bottle
6. the reusable glass bottle
7. the disposable glass bottle
8. the PS or PP plastic cup with alu lid
9. the alu pouch
10. the alu cup
11. the brick and the alu gable-top carton box