This small packaging company is making a significant contribution to sustainability

Chemically-propelled aerosols have been around for years, and they’re a convenience we take for granted. But they’ve also long been a prominent example of environmentally unsustainable packaging, so perhaps it’s time we started to think about how to improve on them.

The Airopack – developed by Dutch company Airopack BV – was originally developed as a sustainable alternative to the aerosol. It combines the functional performance benefits with the sustainability advantage by using air instead of chemical propellants and a lower carbon footprint.

This innovative dispenser is transparent, which enhances consumer brand interaction, offers 360-degree use, delivers a consistent continuous flow via the patented pressure regulator, and delivers an exceptional evacuation rate of 98 per cent. The Airopack is designed to dispense a wide range of formulations, from gels and lotions to sprays and post-foaming materials, and can be found in beauty and personal care, home care, food and industrial applications.

Although Airopack specialises in dispenser technologies, with its fully owned subsidiary Airosolutions NV in Belgium, Airopack can offer a full turn-key product that includes packaging, filling, formula and decorating. Airosolutions has a range of standard available formulations in beauty and personal care that can be tailored to the specific requirements of the customer. It also has several high-quality filling lines that produce, fill and decorate the product.

Several global and regional players have adopted the Airopack dispenser. Gillette launched its male and female shave gel in the Airopack, and Unilever is using it for several of its brands in the hair care and home care category, such as TRESemmé, Love Beauty and Planet, Day 2 and Cleankit. Dutch-based green lifestyle brand DFNS is another prominent user of Airopack technology, which dovetails perfectly with the company’s environmental manifesto.

The global focus on sustainability is increasing without pause, and nearly every major brand has its own clearly defined sustainability goals for the next five years. Reducing plastic use and increasing the recyclability and use of rPET materials are the main drivers in the sustainability agenda of most consumer brands.

Airopack recognises that all organisations have a responsibility to contribute to a healthier climate. The carbon footprint of the current air-powered Airopack dispenser is 32 per cent lower than other aerosols, and as it uses air as a propellant, it eliminates the need for the production and transport of chemical propellants. Not only that, but Airopack now has a zero-waste of PET materials within the production area, as PET scrap is brought back to life via crystallizers and back into a preform. 

It doesn’t stop there. Airopack is working hard to get to the next level, and all product development activities are now fully dedicated to creating a Class 1 fully recyclable dispenser. The new Airopack Power is the first step in this process, offering a 30 per cent reduction in plastic use, and will become commercially available in Q4 2020. The next step will be the launch of Airopack Ultimo. This unique concept will be another Class 1, fully recyclable dispenser. Ultimo is still under development, but expected to be ready in the second half of 2021. Both the Airopack Power and Ultimo will be constructed from rPET, with PCR materials for the additional components.

“Our ambition at Airopack is, by 2024, for at least 50 per cent of our sales to consist of fully recyclable dispensers,” says Norbert de Jong, CCO of Airopack. “We are a small player in the packaging industry, but we feel it’s our obligation to contribute to a better climate. Recyclability is no longer a buzzword or a trend, it’s here to stay. In our discussions with our customers it’s clear that developing a fully recyclable dispenser is a must. They are no longer prepared to replace non-recyclable packaging with another non-recyclable packaging. If you want to be in the game, you have to live up to your role in the global sustainability roadmap.”

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Written by Kevin Gambrill