“Brands need to think ahead to avoid future compliance challenges”
Around the world, governments are moving fast to ban or limit the use of single-use plastics. One area that has been largely ignored by legislators, however, is the single-use sachet, with (according to environmental group A Plastic Planet) around 850bn used - and discarded - annually.
Multi-layer flexible sachets are notoriously difficult to recycle, but The Origin Group thinks it may have found an answer. Rich Quelch, the global head of marketing across Origin’s divisions, including SnappD, explains.
Inside Packaging: What is SnappD and what is its USP?
Rich Quelch: SnappD is a first-of-its-kind recyclable and fully-brandable sachet, suitable for a range of industries including personal care, pharmaceuticals, beverages and sports energy products. As well as being recyclable at the kerbside, it’s also made from over 30% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials - adding further eco-benefits.
The SnappD design is very innovative, allowing consumers to open it with an easy single hand movement. Traditional sachets are hard to open, often requiring two hands or even teeth or scissors. This can get very messy when you have a liquid or semi-liquid product.
Designed for ease of use, the SnappD patented sachet is the most intuitive form of packaging on the market. Customers can choose from a variety of customised opening functions for liquids, semi-liquids, powders, granules and high-viscosity products. Additionally, there’s a ‘double-cut’ option to package two products in a dual-chamber, to be dispensed together.
How did Origin come up with the product?
SnappD was created in 2020 in response to the increased demand for hand sanitiser at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s one of the most hygienic ways to deliver a single dose of hand sanitiser in public places, eliminating the need for multiple people to touch pump handles on bottles.
Since then, SnappD has been redesigned by our engineers to suit a wide range of applications and sectors, while supporting global efforts to reduce environmental harm from single-use plastic sachets.
What was the thinking behind your choice of materials?
Sustainability is one of the biggest drivers of corporate and personal decisions. We had this in mind when we decided to go with the 100% recyclable option – a mono polymer material, which is easy to collect, sort and recycle. It can be disposed of in [mixed dry] recycling bin and is approved by TOMRA & WRAP as 100% recyclable. It also ensured we could provide the highest quality of sustainable material to our customers.
For more aggressive raw materials such as SPFs (Sun Protection Factor sunscreen) and chemical detergents, we also offer a SnappD sachet made from alu-based multilayer material, which can be recycled by specialist recycling plants.
What problem were you trying to solve?
This concept helps to address the challenges of the ‘sachet economy’, which continues to generate massive quantities of plastic waste globally. Traditionally, sachets are made of multilayer plastics that can’t be separated, making them practically unrecyclable. Some technologies can convert them back to oil, but you need to collect billions of sachets to make it viable.
Currently, there’s no legislation in place in the UK or EU to tackle the environmental impact of plastic sachets - the single-use plastics ban only covers plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
Brands need to think ahead of the curve to avoid costly compliance challenges in future - and keep in line with changing consumer views on sustainability.
How big a problem is this?
A recent report estimated that over 855bn sachets are used every year globally – enough to cover the entire surface of the Earth. Many are thrown away without being opened.
It’s unclear why governments have failed to take action on this issue and have focused their attention on other small single-use plastic products. If governments, businesses and consumers don’t act now, then the Earth will become saturated with these unrecyclable packets.
What has been the response to SnappD?
It’s already disrupting the packaging marketplace across a number of industries. In the next few years, we’re aiming to become the go-to’ sachet of choice for brands worldwide and support them in becoming more sustainable, without compromising on quality.
The sachet economy remains extremely valuable to brands, as a way of extending their product ranges and targeting out-of-home environments. We’re proud to be leading the charge in making this market more sustainable and limiting the harmful effects of plastic waste on people and our planet.
Main image: Rich Quelch
Main image credit: SnappD