Amcor Rigid Plastics, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rigid plastic packaging for food, beverage, spirits, personal/home care and healthcare industries, has been named the winner of the beverage/non-alcoholic category in the AmeriStar Package Awards Competition, North America’s most prestigious packaging award competition sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). Amcor captured the beverage/non-alcoholic award for the development of an ultra-lightweight, hot-fill polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container, designed exclusively for PepsiCo-Lipton’s tea drink brand in Central America.

The 500ml package weighs only 22 grams and utilizes a 33mm finish that features a 50% reduction in material over a traditional 38mm finish. The sleek leaf body panels aid in the vacuum while providing visual movement and a comfortable gripping surface for the consumer. Additional benefits of this package are substantial ecological savings, lower operational costs, and a significantly reduced carbon footprint. 

The highly innovative 500ml bottle sets a new benchmark for heat-set PET containers, enabling manufacturers to achieve aseptic filling packaging weights without the prohibitive investment, while offering a more eco-friendly option. Amcor’s Latin America design team, based in Miramar, Fla., worked in partnership with PepsiCo-Lipton to develop the new container which gives regional consumers a lighter, more functional bottle. The new product was initially launched in El Salvador and has since been introduced in Mexico and other Central American regions.

Amcor Lipton tea

The PepsiCo-Lipton container is an extension of Amcor’s ultra-lightweight technology which was previously employed in a new sports beverage package in Latin America. “We are delighted to be recognized with an AmeriStar Award for our longstanding commitment to innovation,” said Carlos Londono, design manager for Amcor Rigid Plastics. “We’re thrilled that we have developed a game-changing package that is highly functional, provides long-term production savings, and delivers major sustainability benefits.”

Compared to a standard 500ml heat-set PET container weighing about 34 grams, the new bottle is just 22 grams, or approximately 30% lighter. The material reduction increases the bottle’s recyclability and reduces the energy needed for its production, dramatically decreasing the package’s environmental footprint. Greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 26%, energy use is reduced by 23%, and water consumption is decreased by 24%. The new container also results in a 26% reduction in the amount of waste that could potentially end up in a landfill.

Currently, aseptic filling applications allow for lightweight bottling, however those systems are capital intensive. Amcor’s new innovative approach to hot-fill packaging will change the beverage packaging industry, especially for emerging markets, according to Londono. Hot-fill manufacturers who desire to use lightweight containers won’t need to make a capital investment in aseptic filling lines in order to maintain competitive pricing.

Achieving the lightweight properties which could withstand intense vacuum absorption was a big challenge. Amcor applied its vacuum absorbing base (VAB) technology to the base and ERGO technology to the body. The VAB base is a light weighted diaphragm-like structure that aids in the cooling process by helping to absorb vacuum.

 “The structure of the bottle had to be designed to provide both function and aesthetics when absorbing the vacuum,” said Jeff Klok, senior industrial designer for Amcor Rigid Plastics. “Pushing the boundaries of conventional weights, we found that the light weight of the package was ultimately the biggest challenge.”

From a design aspect, Amcor's industrial designers focused on creating a package that evoked a subtle feminine cue with movement. The packaging constraints included a small shrink-roll label so the body structure needed to be attractive, stimulate movement, and be comfortable to grasp, all while absorbing vacuum. Grip panels were inspired by the North American Pandora package that abstractly simulates the curvature of a tea leaf and lifts the consumer’s eyes toward the label. The new shelf presence is stronger and more attention getting than the previous version. The new bottle has seen an increase in sales and a perception of higher quality. Consumers have preferred the new body structure over a traditional paneled container, finding it more engaging and attractive, according to Amcor. 

Along with the ultra-lightweight container, Amcor and Bericap, in cooperation with PepsiCo, developed the industry’s lightest 33mm tamper-evident finish/closure for hot fill, weighing in at just 3.7 grams. Amcor believes the unique finish will become a new standard for hot-fill bottles due to the 7.9 gram reduction in weight compared to the standard 38mm ALCOA.

This new finish led to the creation of a Bericap closure with a built-in seal that eliminates rubber liners or induction seal foils, thus reducing overall materials use. The Bericap closure is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) instead of polypropylene (PP) like the previous caps. HDPE is more widely accepted than PP in recycle streams and the absence of any other barrier materials such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or paper/foil increases recyclability.

The new hot-fill bottle is designed to run on existing filling lines with minimal changeover.

 

About Amcor                                                                                                                         

Amcor Rigid Plastics is among the world’s largest manufacturers of plastic packaging for the food, beverage, spirits, personal/home care, and healthcare industries with 58 facilities in 12 countries. Amcor Limited is a global leader in responsible packaging solutions, employing more than 27,000 people worldwide, operating in over 40 countries across 180+ sites. Amcor supplies a broad range of plastic (rigid and flexible), fibre, metal, and glass packaging solutions to enhance the products consumers use in everyday life. Amcor also provides packaging-related services that help customers succeed through collaboration and innovation driven by art and science. Amcor is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. For more information, visit www.amcor.com.