Ultimate product protection, unique sustainability impact
Frankenthal, August 27, 2020 – Sustainable and recyclable: With the first RKW ProVent®, RKW revolutionized the packaging world around 15 years ago. 100 percent recyclable, the self-venting bag packaging offers reliable product protection for powdery bulk goods - and now as BRC-certified food packaging.
100 percent recyclable, EU standard-compliant and self-venting, the RKW ProVent® bag packaging is a sustainable, robust and cost-efficient plastic alternative to paper bags, especially for powdery goods. With ProVent®, RKW has developed a packaging that is extremely stable and tear-resistant and has a high water vapor barrier. Many believe that paper bags are more environmentally friendly than plastic bags because they are made from a renewable resource, can biodegrade, and are recyclable. Life Cycle Assessments show that the opposite is true. Plastic bags outperform paper bags environmentally – on manufacturing, on reuse, and on solid waste volume and generation. Especially in the packaging industry, where most paper bags are a compound material and are thus nor recyclable at all.
As the packaging proves to be much more robust than conventional paper bags during handling, transport and storage outdoors, industrial customers such as Tarmac, the UK's leading company for sustainable building materials and building solutions, developed a strong preference for RKW ProVent®. The original aim was simply to develop a weatherproof packaging solution for outdoor storage.
Reducing CO2 footprint for cement lifecycle
The perfect moisture barrier of the PE packaging supports especially the construction materials industry in reducing its CO2 footprint along the lifecycle. The production of cement for example releases huge amounts of CO2. Once ready for use, cement must kept dry as otherwise it loses its binding qualities. While protecting cement fully from moist, RKW ProVent® keeps the product quality up and thus reduces loss by the factor 10 compared to paper-based bags. This, ultimately, leads to more efficiency of cement production and its supply chain and reduces the need for more to compensate and in the end – less CO2 released.
Over time, the result exceeded all customer expectations. With RKW ProVent®, the company has set an industry standard that has been unbroken for 15 years.
Safe and high quality: Mono-material solution for the food industry
The benefits of this standard should be available to other industries, especially the food industry. In addition to reliable product protection, which ensures extended product shelf life – up to three times longer than paperbags – and less loss through damaged goods, RKW ProVent® offers 100% recyclability: New PE products can be created from the complete used polyethylene. The demand for high-quality sack packaging for powdered goods in this sector, especially in the markets for food additives and proteins, is high, RKW believes with regard to packaging with a capacity of five to 50 kilograms. The company has reacted accordingly.
In 2019, RKW had its ProVent® production at the Echte, Germany, site certified according to the BRC standard for food packaging. BRC stands for British Retail Consortium and is one of the most important certificates for food and food packaging production worldwide. The packaging also influences the safety of food. This is not only about hygienic conditions, but also about the possible transfer of substances to the food. The HACCP concept is at the heart of this: The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) concept is based on the existing legal requirements for the food industry. Compliance with hygiene standards is of vital importance in companies that produce, process or transport food.
To achieve certification, RKW has launched an extensive investment program to convert the over 80-year-old site into a production facility for food packaging. RKW Echte achieved BRC certification at the very first attempt. In addition to the tried and tested industrial sacks, RKW-ProVent® packaging for powdered food is now also produced here. "With RKW ProVent® we help food manufacturers to keep their sustainability promise in terms of packaging, too", says Thomas Steffen, Head of Development & Customer Service RKW Echte.
Plastic packaging with reliable self-venting system
In addition to product protection and sustainability, packaging for powdered goods has to master another challenge: powdered goods such as cement bind a lot of air, which over time leads to the formation of air bubbles. These air bubbles impair transport stability and often damage the packaging. While the air can be removed from packaging for crystalline products by micro perforation, this would lead to product loss and undesired moisture ingress in the case of powdered goods. RKW ProVent® therefore has a reliable, integrated self-venting system. Based on many years of experience in the production of FFS (Form, Fill and Seal) films, RKW has developed a loss-free ventilation system that is guaranteed to prevent the ingress of moisture.
Plastic bags as a marketing instrument
In addition to physical protection, one of the key functions of packaging is to influence consumer’s purchasing decisions and increase brand awareness through its eye-catching appearance. This is especially true in the highly competitive food market. The younger generations of the RKW ProVent® packaging line are characterized by the Air Vent 2.0 system.
The system leaves plenty of room for branding opportunities, as the venting system is fully integrated and the front of the packaging is therefore seamless. This allows the entire surface to be printed with up to eight colors. RKW ProVent® thus meets the high demands of brand manufacturers who do not want to compromise on design or print quality.
Adaptation to individual requirements
Whether in the construction, chemical or food industry: In order to meet customer requirements, RKW adapts its RKW ProVent® packaging individually to their needs. This includes optional performance additives such as an improved sealing seam for heavily contaminated welding areas or improved water barriers for particularly hydrophilic goods. An additional coating can be applied to provide a non-slip surface. User-friendly accessories such as an integrated carry handle provide added convenience, and the "Easy Cut" option allows the user to open the bags without the need for a knife or scissors.
RKW actively supports its customers' changeover to plastic sack packaging: "If you rely on our plastic sacks, our experts will help you convert the machines, calculate the correct bag size and simulate the palletizing processes. Our service also includes transferring the design from paper to plastic bags," says Steffen. "In this way, we help our customers to achieve a short time to market and ensure that they get the added value they want from the very beginning". It's a worthwhile investment. The improved product protection provided by RKW ProVent® ensures a longer shelf life and less damage to the goods, which means that manufacturers avoid product loss and thus financial losses in the long term.
The RKW Group is an independent, privately owned company headquartered in Frankenthal, Germany and one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of excellent film solutions. RKW is the market leader in the areas of hygiene and agricultural films, films for the beverage industry and packaging for powdery goods. In addition, the company makes films and nonwovens for medical applications, for the chemical and converting industries as well as for the construction sector. RKW’s sustainable films enable its customers to improve the daily life of consumers all over the world.
In the fiscal year 2019, RKW generated total sales of EUR 831 million. About 3,000 employees process 352,000 metric tons of plastic materials at 19 locations around the world. True to the corporate slogan “When excellence matters”, the company, which was founded in 1957, offers outstanding performance in terms of quality and service. Respect and reliability are the core values of RKW and form the basis of the company’s success.
Stephan De Maria
Manager Communications RKW Group