• Gary Robinson

Synaptic Connections Newsletter 2019 Week#11

March 11, 2019 www.Synapticpackaging.com Image - 2019 Michigan Snowstorm

Week#11 of 2019 I hope this message finds you well and rested from a nice weekend.  In last week's newsletter we opened the discussion on the topic of LCA, or Life-Cycle-Analysis.  Today, we'd like to briefly continue that dialogue.  There are many LCA tools to choose from; each with different strengths, modeling techniques, data sources, and user interface.  As an analytics tool, the native data sources are a very important attribute - so be sure to ask questions about the source data before making your choice.  

When using an LCA tool, you really need to think like a laboratory technician.  While it is a computer program, it needs to be strictly governed by a Design of Experiments (DOE). A good model should have a defined control and a variable.  Further, and this is where we see the most mistakes, the person setting up the LCA needs to really understand the full supply chain and manufacturing attributes of the products being used in a study.  A classic example is a thin wall, pre-formed, mono-material bottle vs. a multi-layer, flexible stand up pouch.  In most LCA analysis the flexible pouch will show a better environmental footprint.  Often times, that is where the story ends.  However, one of the key drivers for why lies deeper in the supply chain.  The flexible stand-up-pouch is typically a form-fill-seal application.  Translated, that means that the material arrives at the Brand's factory in a condensed roll of film, the package is made on location, and immediately filled.  By comparison, a pre-formed bottle is often made at the packaging supplier's facility, shipped empty to the Brand, then filled.  The pre-form nature of the bottle and the shipping (largely air in the container) are at the core of the LCA results.  This is a true and fair LCA comparison, no doubt.  Our point in this example is that novel developments in Form-Fill-Seal (FFS) equipment will improve LCA results.  Novel FFS equipment can also contribute to the use of mono-materials to improve recycling, and FFS equipment can significantly reduce cost.  At Synaptic we love LCA tools, but not because they generate marketing data.  We love them because they shine light on areas where we can further reduce waste and advance novel innovation for you, our customers!  Do you have a novel idea for FFS innovation you'd like to discuss?  Give us a call, and have a great week!

Packaging Sustainability//

ReThink Waste//

Upcoming Trade Events//


11-13 March, Plastics Recycling, Washington, DC

18-21 March, National Restaurant Association, Chicago, IL

24-26 March, Paper2019, Chicago, IL


1-4 April, BioCycle West, Portland, OR 1-4 April, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Seattle, WA 3-5 April, Paperboard Packaging Council, Cornado, CA 8-10 April, Smithers Pira, Specialty Papers, Berlin, Germany 9 -11 April, ICE International Converting Expo, Louisville, KY 17 - 19 April, Food Service Packaging Institute, Sonoma, CA 22-26 April, Materials Research Society, Phoenix, AZ

The purpose of this newsletter is to stimulate innovative thoughts and constructive dialogue through the lens of sustainability.  New subscribers can send an e-mail to the link below to sign-up. 

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