In June 2019, the European Union published Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. Among other things, this calls for a circular approach to be taken to dealing with single-use beverage packaging made of plastic and in particular the packaging caps, as these often end up in the environment as separate waste. The directive requires the lids and caps of bottles and composite packaging with a capacity of up to three litres to remain firmly tethered to the containers for as long as they are used. The EU member states are required to implement corresponding regulations by July 2024 at the latest.
New solutions needed
The statutory requirements mean the manufacturers are having to have a rethink, as the new caps have to be compatible with the existing types of bottle mouth on the one hand, while meeting the consumers’ need for a practical, convenient and high-quality solution on the other. Until now, though, cap design has both literally and figuratively been ‘detached’ from the actual packaging itself. It has been guided by the standards applicable for off-the-shelf screw caps and pressure caps. But now individual packaging designs have to be taken into account too, in order to keep the solution user-friendly. This means entirely new cap models need to be developed.
Cap solutions from ALPLA
The Relax and Soul designs now being offered by ALPLA meet the requirements made in terms of sustainable and functional cap solutions. The following applies in both cases:
- No additional material is needed for their manufacture compared with conventional caps.
- The caps remain firmly tethered to the beverage packaging for the entire life cycle from manufacture to disposal and do not therefore generate any separate waste.
- There is no need for technical modifications to or additional investments in the existing bottling lines.
- They can be used on various packaging sizes.
This model allows the consumer to fix the cap in one of three different positions on the bottleneck below the mouth after opening the bottle. Two bands are used to tether the cap to the packaging. The mouth and the bottleneck are clear through 360 degrees, as they are with untethered caps. This cap solutions is suitable for type 1881 and 1810 bottle mouths.
With this version, the cap can be bent back to an angle of approximately 160 degrees when opened and attached to the thread with a small pin. This fixing in place prevents the cap from springing back, allow the consumer to enjoy their drink undisturbed. This cap is available for bottle mouth type 1810.
In this version, the closure cap remains connected to the closure ring on the bottle neck via a single band after opening. This means that it can be placed flexibly in the desired position next to the opening. This closure solution exists for the 1881 bottle mouth type and has a strap length of 15 millimeters.
Walter Knes started his career at ALPLA in 1992. He soon discovered his passion for injection moulding and worked in managerial positions in this field for many years. Since 2008, he has been Global Sales Director for Closure Systems, Injected Parts and Pharma. What he appreciates in particular about ALPLA are the benefits of a family-run company: ‘You get the opportunity to work with young, up-and-coming recruits just as much as you do with experienced employees and directors.’