Have you ever had a similar problem: you want to have breakfast and grab your favourite cereal, but someone has not properly closed the plastic bag inside the carton. The result, the cereal is now stale and not nearly as crunchy as desired. The problem could be solved by a plastic or metal food-clip that you can attach to the bag, but this poses other troubles. Either the clip is too big or small for the bag or the bag including the clip doesn’t fit into the carton anymore, aside from the additional effort that is required. Net result is in any case frustration at the breakfast table, a suboptimal way to start your day to say the least.
Greiner, an Austrian packaging innovation company has come up with the perfect solution to this problem. Greiner conceptualised a fresh-clip that allows the consumer to reseal any carton after it has been opened. This does not only counteract annoying situations like the one mentioned before but also helps preventing food waste, as it keeps cereal and other food items fresh for a longer time. The clip is part of the cardboard box and sits on the top edges. The fresh-clip is manufactured using an injection moulding process. This is essentially a sealing feature onto which a plate element made of plastic, cardboard or even aluminium can be attached. The clip function can be used once the top of the carton has been removed upon opening. The featured creases that are around the clip allow the packaging to be sealed in this spot, a bit like a zip-lock bag. Additionally, the fresh-clip can be attached to the carton in such a way that it can either be removed or remain fixed on the carton, so that the cardboard can be properly recycled.
There is however also the possibility for manufacturers to permanently fix the clip to their packaging solution, using either locking mechanisms or adhesives. Trying to reduce the plastic content to a minimum was one of the central motivations behind the fresh-clip’s intricate design. A multitude of finishing methods from glossy to matte and even metallic textures, allow for potential products to be showcased in a more exclusive setting. As with many clicking mechanism, the customer can determine that the carton has been optimally sealed upon hearing the accustomed clicking-sound.
The combination of both materials, cardboard as well as plastics allows for the usage of both to be reduced to a bare minimum. This occurs however not at the detriment of the contents, as the packaging solutions ensures that contents are provided with a maximised protection against moisture and spoilage. This whilst using as little plastic as possible. Furthermore, the packaging solution is easy to use. The contents of the carton can be accessed by the consumer by merely pulling of the top (plate) element. The reseal the package, it is equally simple, as both grips are pressed together until a clicking sound can be heard. The wide opening of the package allows for an easy access to the desired food items.
In addition, Greiner has won an award for this innovation. In cooperation with Austria’s Federal ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs awarded the “Staatspreis Smart Packaging” (National Award for Smart Packaging) to Greiner Packaging. The award is given out every two years and the celebratory ceremony took place in Vienna on the Austrian Packaging Day. This is an event focusing on Austria’s packaging industry. This year more than 60 entries in five categories were submitted for the award this year.
As we strive for more sustainable solutions in terms of packaging, innovations like the one brought forth by Greiner Packaging are received with a warm welcome. Through the right coating in combination with the new closing mechanism, the packaging industry might be able to further phase-out single-use plastic bags. This could greatly reduce the plastic post-consumer waste.