30 Year’s Worth Of Bottle Tops

The current trends surrounding packaging got me thinking.

Are we seeing a reversal of many things, not just packing, but in general to a more simplified situation?  I have worked for over 30 years in the caps and closures industry, (Thank you Mr Parker, Re: Dragon Plastics!).

When I started out many caps were simple and functional, plain screw on caps nothing fancy. A live hinge flip top cap was really the cutting edge of design.  We have progressed so far. Often a closure is not just a closure, it’s a multi component device needing features for dispensing, dose, security, product integrity, product freshness, etc etc.  Packaging has become more and more complex in many cases requiring multiple materials to achieve the ever-increasing demands placed upon it.

These demands come from many angles. Consumer expectation, regulations, marketing, increased line speeds, tighter tolerances and commercial to name but a few.  

Then we come to the now, with the dramatic rise in awareness for the packing being used every day.

Which brings me to my point……are we going to see a regression to the days of old.  I took a picture of a glass milk bottle the other day and posted this to LinkedIn as an example.

As a kid in the 70’s milk in a glass bottle was delivered to your door via a milkman in an electric milk float, empty milk bottles collected at the same time. The bottles returned to a central hub, cleaned and reused for milk.  If this supply model was in place now it would be the most amazing example of rounded thinking and environmental greatness. But we got rid of this and replaced it with plastic bottles. Progress? Will we see the return of glass milk bottles and the return and reuse system?

Packaging free shops are on the rise, a new trend which is growing in Europe. But hold on, haven’t we seen this type of shop before?  Isn’t this the old grocery shop on the corner of street or in the local village? It really isn’t a new concept.

For the plastic packaging there is a clamour for products to be made using Bio polymers and PCR materials.  And quite righty too. We need to be reusing these materials that we have generated. Plastic packaging is not going to disappear, it’s an excellent solution for many purposes and can have benefits which outweigh the impact of being a plastic.  But these material types have restrictions for their use, and the type of designs that can be created. There are technicalities that I won’t go into here, but certain engineering features, processing and colours for example are not possible.

That long wish list of demands that I mentioned earlier, dispense, multi-components, tight tolerances, complex designs etc.  Its possible that we will see some of these take a back seat to the overriding demand that PCR material for example must be used.  The material used in any pack format immediately gives you a frame work in which you can work. A more simplistic design could be the outcome as a result.  

Do we have a return to old corner shop, the clink of milk bottles in the morning, your food shopping in a brown paper bag and more importantly chips wrapped in newspaper (They did taste better!).  Do we have a return to an older more simple style of packaging?

For bottle tops……..anyone need any 28mm R3 caps? 

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