Sonoco delivers rigid paper solution for packaging chemicals

Sonoco UK has enabled a supplier of vehicle oils and fluids to replace its costly metal container with a rigid paperbased can designed and manufactured by its consumer packaging division.

The result is a lower-cost, sustainable solution that has all of the positive attributes and benefits of a metal container but none of its downsides.

“The fluids that would be sold in the cans are moisture-sensitive and there were several challenges we had to overcome,” explains Sean Cairns, general manager, Sonoco Rigid Paper and Closures, Europe. “The tube had to be durable enough to sustain the fluid’s four-year shelf life and strong enough to not collapse when the screw pourer cap was inserted during production. We also needed to counter the impact of spillage or staining that can occur during production.”

The supplier had previously used steel containers for its vehicle oils and fluids which are exported around the world. Sonoco’s solution was a rigid paper container with metal ends that offers the same product appearance and protection for liquids but at a lower cost and using more sustainable materials.

“Sonoco Consumer Packaging completed a 12-week trial of the new container with the customer,” continues Cairns. “We measured the moisture content at regular intervals to make sure that the proposed packaging solution met the demands of the customer. The first delivery of the finished product took place in autumn 2011; we are scheduled to deliver up to two million cans annually, depending on demand.”

The rigid paper container demonstrates significant economic and environmental improvements in its life cycle assessment when compared to the steel can the customer had used including: a 27% reduction in material weight inputs; a reduction in the customer’s shipping and handling costs; 34% reduction in energy inputs; 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; and 2% reduction in chemical bad actors.


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