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Environmental aspects of the HiPP Pouch

By using pouches, HiPP not only meets consumer demands for lighter and more convenient packaging, it also remains true to its quality standards and its environmental awareness philosophy.

As pouches require less packaging material per gram of content, the German Packaging Ordinance rates the pouch as “ecologically advantageous” disposable drinks packaging, which is just as environmentally-friendly as reusable packaging. Therefore, this drinks packaging is exempt from the deposit charge in Germany.

HiPP pouches for children

HiPP uses this packaging because of its many benefits. Consumers like pouches because they are light, unbreakable, in good portion sizes, and are hygienic. Pouches are designed to ensure that the product is ideally protected and its premium quality is maintained even when stored unrefrigerated.

In order to achieve that, a composite packaging is used. It consists of food-safe plastic layers and an extremely thin layer of aluminium (9µm), which is seven times thinner than a human hair (which has a diameter of approx. 70µm).

 

This thin layer serves as an important protective barrier to avoid exposure of the product to UV light and oxygen. There is no direct contact between the aluminium layer and the product.

Besides using less material, the transport advantages offered by the pouches are also significant. When empty, the pouch is extremely flat and light. Due to the lower packaging weight and volume, more pouches (than, for example, jars) can be transported per lorry:

In total, 90% less transportation per ton of product is needed for the delivery of empty packaging.

As soon as the pouches are filled, they naturally take up more space on the lorry. The lower weight of the pouch itself, however, means that the lorry requires less energy for transporting its load, because the finished products weigh 20% less per delivery. This, of course, means that considerably less fuel is used for the transportation of the product.

These advantages are major assets when looking at the life cycle assessment of the pouch.

Advantages of the pouch at a glance

  • “Ecologically advantageous, disposable drinks packaging”, according to the German Packaging Ordinance (§3 (4))
  • A lot of product in little packaging: less packaging material – in comparison to the jar, 2/3 less per gram of product
  • Fewer emissions from transport
  • High product safety because the pouches are very durable and resistant
  • Protects the product against the effects of light and unwanted exposure to air
  • Consumer friendly – easy to carry, to store, and to handle

In summary, it is fair to say that the pouch offers advantages in terms of transportation, the use of raw materials, and handling by customers. Moreover, after the content has been used, the pouch can be recycled in an energetically advantageous way via a return system, like the Dual System, and can even be used as a substitute fuel. Thus, the use of fossil resources can be partially avoided.

Disposal

The aluminium used in the pouch itself (approx. 63% of the packaging) can be recovered. This is done by pyrolysis. In waste incineration plants and other installations, e.g. cement plants, pouches are thermally recycled. This means that the pouches can then be used as fuel, which in return leads to savings of fossil fuels like oil and coal. In nearly all of these plants, the energy released during the incineration process is used, for example, in the form of electrical energy, heat, and/or process steam.

Pouch lid

The lid of the pouch (approx. 37% of the packaging) is 100% made from the monomaterial polyethylene (PE) and can be recycled directly. It is designed in such a way that it cannot be swallowed.

Why is HiPP not using more bioplastics?

In general, HiPP is constantly working on improving its packaging systems. HiPP also already uses cellulose-based packaging materials. Alternative packaging solutions are introduced if they do not jeopardize the quality of the product. Currently, however, there are still areas where no bioplastics meet HiPP’s requirements satisfactorily.

 

Although plastics from renewable raw materials solve the problem of dependence on fossil fuels, they are not completely unproblematic. For the moment, the focus is primarily on the environmental impact of farming and the lack of traceability of social criteria.