Survey: Reducing Packaging Weight Holds Industry Attention

Solution Must Affordably Protect Contents, says DuPont

Düsseldorf, May 12, 2011 – If you talk to people in the packaging industry about their work in sustainable packaging, more than half of them will say their efforts are focused on reducing packaging weight, according to DuPont’s survey last month of consumer packaged goods manufacturers and converters.

Fifty-seven percent of the more than 200 respondents to this question say their efforts to attain sustainable packaging are focused on weight reduction. “Reducing weight is driven in part by regulations, but also cost savings,” said Bernard Rioux, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers marketing and development manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa.  “When you can deliver environmental benefits and cost savings in a package that protects and helps sell a product – that’s a sustainable solution.”

Rioux has pioneered materials- and science-based solutions at DuPont, working collaboratively with customers throughout the value chain.  Recently Rioux published a technical paper and video offering design tips to reduce weight and cost while – importantly – assuring performance in terms of delivering stiffness, product protection and waste reduction during production and helping to prevent leakers.

“Optimizing weight/thickness/cost in packaging typically involved minimizing the thickness of each functional layer, but there is only so far you can go until the integrity of the packaging is compromised,” said Rioux.  “We took a counter-intuitive approach and showed the industry through example that using more of an initially higher-cost specialty resin can actually help eliminate more lower-cost resins from the structures and in fact reduce the total amount of material, which results in sustainability improvements, while also reducing total packaging cost.”

Last year, in Europe alone, switching from polyethylene resin to higher-performing DuPont™ Surlyn® ionomer resin eliminated several hundred tons of non-renewable packaging raw material.  “That is material that does not have to go to the landfill.” 

“Because the Non-Renewable Energy Use and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions for Surlyn® and polyethylene are comparable, the weight reduction achieved through the thinner Surlyn® structure translates into a 1-to-1 reduction in the packaging’s carbon footprint which equaled a 20% reduction in GHG due to the downgauging with Surlyn®,” he explained.

DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers offers new techniques and software to downgauge packaging while improving puncture resistance and help assess environmental footprint.  In a dry-mix package, for example, DuPont showed how replacing polyethylene with Surlyn® reduced thickness 23 percent and cost 13 percent.  In meat packaging, DuPont can show a 30 percent reduction in thickness and a 4 percent reduction in cost. 

The DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers businesses surveyed more than 400 global brand owners, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and converters to identify the industry’s top issues. 

DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers manufactures an extensive mix of adhesive, barrier, peelable lidding and sealant resins and provides a globally networked development team to work with customers on packaging programs that help protect the product, environment, improve shelf appeal, convenience and reduce cost in the food, cosmetics, medical products and other consumer goods and industrial packaging industries.

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 20 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment.  The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets.

DuPont ( is a science-based products and services company.  Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.  Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.